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Saints: Twelve of the Most Popular: Sources

A CRRA subject guide for the younger researcher


Online Information Sources

Some of the resources on this page can be useful in finding information about saints not covered on this subject guide. Some have been included because they are cool sites to know about.

Before you use any information from the Internet, the source of the information should be evaluated. Click here to learn how to do this.


American Catholic History Classroom

From Catholic University of America, "The American Catholic History Classroom is a continuously-updated primary document site featuring a range of materials related to the American Catholic experience." (Description from Internet Archive website.)


Butler's Lives of the Saints

"This is the Benziger Brothers edition of Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints. Butler (1711-1773), was an English Roman Catholic priest. This, his principal literary work, was published between 1756 and 1759. Lives of the Saints has hundreds of capsule descriptions of Catholic saints, organized by the saint's day of the year." (Description from the Sacred Texts website.)


Catholic Encyclopedia

Originally published in 1914, this reference work contains 11,600 articles on Catholic topics. One of the standard sources. The Second edition is available at many school libraries and through the Gale Virtual Reference Library. (Description from the New Advent website.)


Catholic Dictionary

"A modern dictionary of 5,679 Catholic terms (including abbreviations), both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases. All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary" (Descriptive text from


Digital Catholica from CRRA

This subject guide was created to link the user to a selection of digitized materials on many aspects of Catholicism in the United States. All of these collections are owned by libraries of member institutions of the Catholic Research Resources Alliance (CRRA), and have been digitized so that these materials can be easily accessed by researchers around the world.


The Golden Legend, by Jacobus de Voragine (1275)

"Historians interested in the "real lives" of individual saints value the earliest texts above all others. But for assessing the later cult of saints in Western Europe, The Golden Legend of Jacobus de Voragine, writing about 1260, achieved  dominance in later western hagiographical literature - about 900 manuscripts of his Golden Legend survive. From 1470 to 1530 it was also the most often printed book in Europe. Thanks to the efforts of Robert Blackmon, the Medieval Sourcebook can now make available the full text of the seven volume edition published by Temple Classics in 1900. That was based on an older English translation by William Caxton, but with a text modernized by F.S. Ellis. Any notes in [square brackets] were added for this etext." (Description from the Medieval Sourcebook web page, Fordham University.)


Internet Archive

"The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit library. Founded in 1996, our mission is to provide Universal Access to All Knowledge. We collect published works and make them available in digital formats. We are building a public library that can serve anyone in the world with access to the Internet." (Description from Internet Archive website.) Not all of the books on Internet Archive are old books. There are also newer books that can be borrowed for a period of time. To borrow any of these books you need to set up a free account, which you can do on the Internet Archive website.


Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Saints' Lives

From Fordham University, this is an amazing collection of links.


Wikimedia Commons

This is the best place for pictures, particularly of works of art. The copyright status of the works is plain. A large portion are in the public domain, or are shared under Creative Commons licenses. "Wikimedia Commons is a media file repository making available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips) to everyone, in their own language." (Description from the Wikimedia Commons website.)



Everyone knows this source. Remember, this is not the only encyclopedia, just one of them.  Disclaimer: Using Wikipedia is an easy and convenient way to begin gaining a working knowledge of a topic. If you choose to use it, be aware that there are two serious flaws with Wikipedia. The first is that anyone can write articles for it. You do not have to be an expert on a subject. The second is that anyone can edit the articles. Again, you do not have to be an expert on the subject. These two points raise doubts as to the accuracy of what you read there. This being said, sometimes Wikipedia articles can be very good, but you cannot use this source uncritically.

"How to Evaluate a Wikipedia Article"

Just for Fun

Treasure Chest of Fun & Facts

"The Treasure Chest of Fun and Facts was a Catholic comic book published by George A. Pflaum of Dayton, Ohio and provided to Catholic parochial school students between 1946 and 1972. The digital collection contains twenty-seven volumes running from 1946 to 1972." (Description from the Catholic University of America Digital Collections web page.)

St. Albert the Great, one of many patron saints of students.

Click the picture to see the source

CRRA Links

CRRA Links


Comments & Suggestions

If you have comments or suggestions that will help make this guide more useful, please email them to Ted Bergfelt, Chair, CRRA Subject Guides Subcommittee, using the following link: Send Email