Saturday, June 06, 2009

Grandmother and the Priests

By Taylor Caldwell.

An out-of-print book. Printed in 1962, it was on the New York Times' bestseller list for six months.

An intriguing read.

"Grandmother and the Priests" is actually a compendium of short stories skillfully collected into a single plot pretext. A group of traveling priests from the Victorian-age British Isles meet around the fireside of a wealthy grandmother to a young girl visiting her. There they tell their colleagues their most remarkable test of their vocation. This amounts to an encounter with life, the most extreme test ever put to their faith in God and in themselves -- if you will, their rite of passage through life, their existential moment where they turn back defeat. The young girl listens spellbound to these stories -- all of them too earnest to suggest exaggeration, for such is the author's skill -- and recounts them in this book.

The priests could not be more dissimilar, from elegant, highborn English aristocracy to scrappy Welshmen. Each has a special encounter awaiting their strength of mind, body and love of God and neighbor -- an encounter one immediately senses could only have been devised by a loving-yet-challenging God.

This book convinced me that the most thrilling journey is not to the center of the earth, nor to the furthest limits of space, but to an unblinking fight to awaken one's sleeping soul, adrift in its comfortable, rote rituals, customs and prefudices, afraid to live out under the stars and "go for broke".
..from a review of Grandmother and the Priests

I am reading bits of this book late at night, at the recommendation of a friend..Ignoring my other reading to do so, simply because the book is spell-binding. The grandmother is less than perfect, often immoral, yet full of life, of love for life, full of joy and of respect for and enjoyment of the priests she befriends, the "Romans" or "Holy Men" in her life. She befriends priests; has them over for lavish dinners; listens to their tales. In return, they pray for her and her soul. They enjoy her company, her friendship, her listening ear.


I know what hell is now... It is the total absence of God. It is a hell beyond endurance-- this separation of the soul from God.

Saints rarely have friends; they are usually hated and derided, for they love and love is always rejected by hard-hearted men....saints do not advertise themselves; good men do not seek out a name in the world....the saints did what they did almost in stealth, asking nothing except that men love God.


little sparrow , florasita , sticklady , strong tree woman said...

wow I so want to read this book now ! Thank You so much for the info .

Hopewell said...

Sounds interesting. I've read others by the author and enjoyed them.

Anonymous said...


Your summary of the book nailed it. I am happy to know that someone else besides myself appreciates the book for what it is! I hope your blog inspires many people to read it for themselves and be awakened by it.

God bless1