THE work of the well-known Jesuit Father, P. Daniello Bartoli, entitled Della Vitae Miracoli del B. Stanislao Kostka, ranks foremost in date, as in merit, amongst what may be called the original Lives of the Saint. Previous short biographies, written soon after his death, which first served to publish the fame of his sanctity to the Christian world, have passed out of general circulation, and are no longer ordinarily accessible. But whatever they contained, or contain, is given, with much additional matter, in Bartoli's Life, which was first published in 1670. In his person, St. Stanislas, as subsequently St. Aloysius in P. Cepari, had a faithful, laborious, and painstaking biographer,-one who loved the subject he took in hand, and accordingly wrote as those only who love can write. True, he had not the privilege which P. Cepari enjoyed of having been a contemporary of the Saint whose history he recorded, and of having lived on terms of daily confidence with him during the last years of his life; neither did he possess the singular advantage of which P. Cepari so diligently availed himself in the case of St. Aloysius, of being able to interrogate, after his death, the different members of the Saint's family, and other persons who had been intimately acquainted with him before he joined the Company of Jesus. But he wrote while the memory of Stanislas was still fresh in the Order, and at a time when many authentic traditions must have existed concerning him in the Jesuit house at Rome. Some of the older Fathers might still be then living who had conversed with and familiarly known those who in their youth had themselves known Stanislas and been his co-novices; he also consulted the Processes existing in his day, and his work bears every trace of the most careful adherence to well-established facts. P. Longaro's shorter but also very valuable Life was published near a century later, in 1766, thirty-nine years after the canonization of Stanislas. It has a peculiar charm about it, from the simplicity of its style, accompanied with an affectionate unction, of which his sweet Italian tongue is so congenial a vehicle. Love for the Saint, redolent of all that freshness which personal knowledge alone would seem able to impart, breathes in every page, and the reader is almost surprised when he observes the date of the work, and finds the Bull of Canonization at its close.
There is also a Life of St. Stanislas written by an anonymous member of the Company, the authorship of which has never, it seems, been ascertained with certainty, but it is in every way inferior to that of Bartoli. A few other Lives have also appeared in Italian, but, as they do not contain any fresh details of the Saint's life, and none of them possess the merit or fulness of Bartoli's biography, they hardly require particular notice. The Abbe Gaveau's lately published Life of St. Stanislas has been consulted, chiefly with reference to the present state of devotion to the Saint in different countries, as well as to circumstances connected with his tomb, and the preservation of his relics in recent times.
The book is written in a pleasing style, and makes very modest pretensions. The author, however, has evidently taken great pains to insure accuracy, and has been anxious to profit by all existing materials; for, being unacquainted with the Polish language, he sought nevertheless to avail himself of the biographies of Poland's patron written in his native tongue, and this he was enabled to do through the kindness of the Superior of the Congregation of the Resurrection, Father Jerome Kajsiewizc, who translated to him orally all passages of special interest in these works, and particularly in that of Father Skarga.
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