Lives of the Saints and Frank McCourt

The lives of the saints are appealing to us. One incident in Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes illustrates this. One day when he was thirteen years old, Miss O’Riordan, the librarian would not allow him to leave the library because it was raining. She told him he could read about the saints while he was waiting. McCourt writes (p 285),

There are four big books, Butler’s Lives of the Saints. I don’t want to spend my life reading about saints but when I start I wish the rain would last forever.

Then Frank continues in a rather colorful fashion but he concludes this story with the librarian saying he had to go home because the rain had stopped. When Frank was going out the door, the librarian called him back because she wanted to write a note to his mother and it would be okay for Frank to read it also.

Dear Mrs. McCourt,
Just when you think Ireland is gone to the dogs altogether you find a boy sitting in the library so absorbed in the Lives of the Saints he doesn’t realize the rain has stopped and you have to drag him away from the aforesaid Lives. I think, Mrs. McCourt, you might have future a priest on your hands and I will light a candle in hopes it comes true.
I remain,
Yours truly,
Catherine O’Riordan,
Asst. Librarian.