"WHAT IS LIFE ALL ABOUT? Where is it all leading? What happens after death? These are questions which haunt people in our day. The early Northern saints brought answers to these questions and those answers are as relevant today as they were in their time."
So writes Cardinal Basil Hume in his new book Footprints of the North ern Saints, which ties in with his highly acclaimed Channel 4 series Return of the Saints. Illustrated with 18 colour photographs, the book expands on the text of the TV series and includes the Cardinal's reflections on monasticism and community, prayer and solitude, and the guiding principles and qualifies needed by Bishops in today's Church.
After telling the stories of holy men and women with enthusiasm and simplicity, Cardinal Hume ends on a realistic but up-beat note. There is much confusion today about the purpose of life, he says. "But we can be inspired by the saints of Anglo-Saxon England, and do in our day what theydid in theirs. Perhaps we, too, might create a new Golden Age for Christianity."
Top: The ruins of Whitby Abbey. Left: The statue of St Aidan on Holy Island. Right: Cardinal Hume at Bamburgh Castle.