Saints with a Past (Streaming Video)

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How bad can you be and still become a saint? The short answer is: Pretty awful, thoroughly wicked, even. With Professor Thomas J. Craughwell, you'll meet an outlaw, an anti-pope, an embezzler, a con-artist, two fallen women, and two mass murderers who, for most of their lives, were as far as possible from sanctity and holiness.

Why do we consider such scoundrels as saints now? God mysteriously touched these sinners' hearts with His grace and they repented. The conversion process is never easy and it required these men and women to cultivate that most difficult of virtues - humility. Once they began to cooperate with God's grace and submit to His will, they were able to leave their wicked old lives behind and take the first steps toward becoming truly holy. Conversion is a life-long process that only begins with that initial recognition and rejection of sin.

Pope Benedict XVI, speaking on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, said "we can escape the quick sands of pride and sin, lies and sadness, selfishness and false security, to find out and live the richness of Jesus' love if we allow ourselves to be continuously converted by the Lord Jesus."

Each lecture highlights the work of grace in the sinner's soul and the beginning of the process of conversion. In a very real sense, all men and women are like the saints covered in this course. We must all overcome sin and travel the road of continual conversion in order to attain holiness and reach Heaven. Humility, grace and conversion form the theme of this unique Catholic Course.
  1. St. Callixtus: Embezzler & Brawler
    • Callixtus was scalawag who renounced his old life, was ordained a priest, administrated one of the catacombs, and ultimately was elected pope. He died a martyr.
  2. St. Hippolytus: Heretic & First Antipope
    • Hippolytus didn't believe in forgiveness until he witnessed the powerful humility of the true pope. Seeking mercy, he repented of his sin and was reconciled with the Church.
  3. St. Mary of Egypt: Seductress
    • Mary was a sexual addict until she converted after a powerful spiritual experience. She lived in penance as a hermit for the rest of her life.
  4. St. Moses the Black: Cutthroat & Gang Leader
    • Moses was chief of a violent gang of bandits until, inspired by hermit-monks' influence, he converted. He vowed never to harm anyone again, even in self-defense.
  5. St. Olga: Vengeful Mass Murderer
    • Olga brutally avenged her husband's murder but converted when she encountered Christianity's beauty. She is called "Equal to the Apostles" by Eastern Christians for her efforts to convert her people.
  6. St. Vladimir: Fratricide & Polygamist
    • Vladimir accepted Christian baptism when he married the Emperor's sister. The grace of the Sacrament changed him and his zeal for the Faith knew no limits.
  7. St. Margaret of Cortona: Rich Man’s Mistress
    • After nine years of cohabitation, Margaret repented of her sins. She lived in Cortona where she pursued a life of prayer, penance, and good works.
  8. St. Camillus: Mercenary & Card Shark
    • Camillus was a mercenary soldier until his father died. His conversion took several years but he dedicated himself to the sick and formed a religious congregation of nurses.
Lecture Sample

Meet Your Professor

For the last 30 years, Professor Thomas J. Craughwell has been an independent scholar of the saints, digging through their autobiographies and letters as well the writings of their contemporaries, to get past the sentimentality and find living, breathing, struggling, real-life men and women.

Professor Craughwell is a full-time freelance writer. Among his published works are the highly acclaimed Saints Behaving Badly (Doubleday, 2006), Saints for Every Occasion (Stampley, 2001), and Saints Preserved: An Encyclopedia of Relics (Image, 2011). He has written more than two dozen books on history, religion, and popular culture.

Professor Craughwell has written about saints for Wall Street Journal, American Spectator, Inside the Vatican, National Catholic Register, and many other Catholic publications. He is a regular contributor to Our Sunday Visitor, and writes a monthly column on patron saints for diocesan newspapers.

A popular speaker, Professor Craughwell has appeared on EWTN, CNN, Discovery Channel, and more than 150 radio stations to discuss saints, the canonization process, and Catholic history. He was also featured in The History Channel’s adaptation of one of his highly praised historical books, Stealing Lincoln’s Body.

Homeschooling Products

The Homeschooling Set includes the Streaming Video and Homeschooling Course Guide. Each Course Guide contains everything needed for a student to complete the course, including:

  • Lesson Plan
  • Quizzes
  • Final Essay
  • Lecture Notes
  • Answer Key


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Streaming Video
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