Ah, thou poor sinless child, accurst in the eyes of the people, God hath signified His care of thee, and in my heart I feel already something of that adoration which shall be thy due when for thy purity and holiness He shall bestow upon thy relics some signal mark of His favour, and the Church shall declare thee blessed!

The above is from "Monk and Hangman's daughter" by Ambrose Bierce (1911).

In the above sentence relics is 'the remains of a deceased person' in a dictionary. Thus, the sentence means God will bestow some sign on the body of the girl (a protagonist of the story) after her death, and the Church will grand some sort of 'woman saint' then ? (It's just my wild guess.)

Would somebody help me to understand this sentence, please!


Absolutely correct.

You have checked the meaning of "relics" (the bodily remains of dead people, particularly saints). In Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and other high church Christianity, relics of saints are venerated as holy objects.

You understand that "The church shall declare thee blessed" also relates to holiness; being beatified (and therefore referred to as Blessed) is the first step in canonization , the process by which the Church determines whether someone should be recognized as a "saint".

In the Catholic church, women are often made saints, so "woman saint" is not required.

(When you die, )God will mark your remains to show his love of you, and the Church will call you a saint.

Note that Bierce was writing 130 years ago, (1892, not 1911) in a style that was deliberately dated when it was written.

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  • feel free to edit. – James K Apr 22 '18 at 16:07

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