Collections of Saints’ Lives for Every Day of the Year (with Some Supplementation)

The Sanctorale provides the framework for A Character Calendar by Sister Mary Fidelis and Sister Mary Charitas, and each day begins with a brief summary of the life of the saint chosen for that day.  Then follow brief passages from Thomas à Kempis’s Imitation of Christ and the liturgy.  Each day then continues with discussion of an “Ideal” and advice on its application in your life, “Today.”  The entry concludes with a “Slogan.”  It is not strictly speaking a collection of saints’ lives, but rather a devotional that uses the life of a saint as a starting point.  It would be of greater meaning to an older student who has already great familiarity with the lives of the saints, or as a follow-up to the reading of the life of a saint highlighted.

Short Lives of the Saints, also published as Our Birthday Bouquet Culled from the Shrines of the Saints and the Gardens of the Poets, is similarly brief, but more expressly about the saints, and adds lines of relevant verse, sometimes by well known authors, other times by the author of the collection, Eleanor Donnelly, herself a poet. Pictorial Half Hours with the Saints by August Francois Lecanu includes an engraving with a brief biography integrating reflections. Along these same lines, there is Miniature Lives Of The Saints For Every Day In The Year by Henry Sebastian Bowden (Burns & Oats, 1877).

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints with Reflections for Every Day of the Year and the Pictorial Lives of the Saints with Reflections for Every Day of the Year, both published by Benziger Brothers, are in fact the same text with the same illustrations, one saint for each day.  They present abridgements of Butler’s Lives of the Saints followed by brief reflections.  Each book opens with a brief section on the Temporale.

La vie des saints pour tous les jours de l’année, is a French collection of saints’ lives for every day of the year. 

At the time of writing, only the second volume, from July until the end of the calendar year, of the Lives of the Saints with a Practical Instruction on the Life of Each Saint for Every Day of the Year by Francis Xavier Weninger (from what is modern-day Slovenia, but he spent forty years as a Jesuit missionary in America) can be found in the public domain.

The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints Compiled from Original Monuments and Authentic Records In Twelve Volumes by Alban Butler is most conveniently accessed at Bartleby.com. But, as it dates to the 18th century, its comprehensiveness does not extend to modern lives.  The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century: Saintly Men and Women of Our Own Times fills this gap, at least into the 19th century, although it is not arranged according the Sanctorale.  

Short Lives of the Dominican Saints, on the other hand, is arranged according to the Sanctorale, but does not cover every single day of the year.  The online Traditional Franciscan Calendar does cover every day of the year, although it does not always have a life to accompany the named saint.

Many remaining gaps may be filled by the 16-volume The Lives of the Saints by Anglican cleric and scholar, Sabine Baring-Gould.

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