Virginia Barton

Bookery Nook: Pilgrims, Pugwash and a mother’s pain


Catholic Herald, 10 May 1991


booksThe April column of Bookery Nook elicited the largest response for orders from the new books selection since we started in November. Over 350 books were ordered. Whether this was because the choice on offer was particularly attractive, or because the recession really is bottoming out, I can’t decide. Or maybe it was simply the layout of the column that caught readers’ eyes, or Brother Roger’s appealing photograph that went with it.

Whatever the reasons, we at the CH are delighted that readers are making good use of the service. I ordered the Suchet tapes of St John’s gospel as an Easter present for a daughter; they have now been lent to a hospital patient to play on a Walkman. I wish they’d been available years ago when my mother was housebound and almost blind.

Since May is traditionally Our Lady’s month I have chosen David Konstant’s reflections on the Rosary this time. The Rosary is a prayer one never abandons, especially in time of stress and trouble.

Our two novels went down particularly well last month, and Lazarus by Morris West returns for a second showing, while Rumer Godden’s In This House of Brede gives way to her equally famous The River, recently published in a new edition with a revised preface.

Finally, and with hols in mind, the Confraternity of St James has published an excellent booklet for the pilgrim to Northern Spain. Be your journey on foot, by bike, coach or car, the Pilgrim Guide to Spain will point out where to eat, or pitch your tent, how to obtain the “Pilgrim’s Passport”, which churches or monasteries are worth a detour, etc. It covers the area of Spain between Roncesvalles in the Pyrenees and the city of Santiago. Very good value at £2.75 if you’re heading in that direction this summer.


Michael Buckley, His Healing Touch (Collins Fount, £2.95).
Catholic priest and popular Radio 2 broadcaster writes of his national – and international – healing ministry.

Fr Bernard Fisher, The Way of the Cross (privately published, £2.50).
Illustrations of the stations of the cross commissioned by the widow of Catholic Herald columnist Patrick O’Donovan as a memorial to him and all deceased parishioners of St Gregory the Great Church, Alresford. Artist Lyn C.onstable Maxwell’s three dimensional sculptures are accompanied by a simple devotional introduction by parish priest Fr Fisher.

Rumer Godden, The River (Pan, £3.99)
After the success last month of this distinguished Catholic writer’s In This House of Brede, we offer in this Bookery Nook a new edition of her 1946 classic tale of an Indian childhood beside a river whose ebb and flow into the Bay of Bengal comes to represent life itself. It was later made into a critically acclaimed film by Jean Renoir. “So interesting, so quietly demanding of attention, that at the time there will be nothing in your thoughts but a small girl in India and the people and places that were her world’’The Saturday Review.

Margaret Hebblethwaite, Motherhood and God (Geoffery Chapman, £7.95)
A strikingly original and deeply personal book about finding God in motherhood and finding motherhood in God. The pain, humour and joy of motherhood provide insights into God who is father and mother. “Her aim is a pastoral one: she wants to help others discover the true meaning· of motherhood as part of a relationship with God” – Mary Craig.

Gerard Hughes SJ, Walk to Jerusalem (Darton, Longman and Todd, £7.95)
An account of two journeys by a gifted spiritual writer, the outer one from Scotland to Jerusalem and the inner an examination of the nature of peace.

David Konstant, Praying the Rosary (Collins Fount, £3.50)
The Bishop of Leeds reflects on an appropriate devotion for the month of May including in his remit the beatitudes, way of the cross and an examination of conscience.

Thomas Merton, Reflections on My Work (Collins Fount, £3.99)
Each time this late, lamented Trappist monk published a new edition of one of his spiritual reflections (like The Seven Storey Mountain), he would prepare a fresh introduction. This insight into Merton’s work and enduring influence (he is often quoted by our own Fr Ronald Rolheiser in his columns) brings together all those writings in one volume.

Ian Petit OSB, This is My Body (Darton, Longman and Todd, £3.95)
Retreat giver and well-known figure in the charismatic renewal movement offers a clear explanation of the meaning of the mass, its gestures and language. With line illustrations.

Fr Ronald Rolheiser OMI, Forgotten Among the Lilies (Hodder and Stoughton, £5.99)
Collections of writings by popular Herald columnist recently named provincial for his order, the Oblates, in central Canada.

Fr Ronald Rolheiser OMI, The Restless Heart (Hodder and Stoughton, £4.95)
Winner of the Winifred Mary Stanford Prize for religious books in 1990, an exploration of our loneliness.

John Ryan, Captain Pugwash and the Huge Reward (Gungarden Books/Ragged Bear Ltd, £6.50)
The Catholic Herald’s cartoonist for 26 years tells the story in text and pictures of his most famous creation, Captain Pugwash, and his attempts to retire to the town of Sinkport (a thinly disguised reference to John’s own haven of Rye). A book aimed at “children of all ages” according to its ebullient author.

Esther de Waal, A World Made Whole (Collins Fount, £5.99)
An introduction to the riches of the Celtic tradition, drawn from sources of all levels – everyday to early scholarly editions. It brings to life the Celtic way of living and worshipping for the twentieth century with prayers for formal and informal occasions. By the popular spiritual writer and author of Living with Contradiction.

Morris West, Lazarus (Mandarin, £3.99)
Pope Leo XIV, a leader of sure and unbending opinions, faces up to open heart surgery and reviews his contribution to the health or not of his church.

A Pilgrim’s Guide to Spain (Confraternity of St James, £2.75)
Enthusiasts of the road to Santiago de Compostella, the ancient shrine in north west Spain, provide would-be pilgrims with all the information they need as to where to say en route, where to .leave their bicycles, etc.

Jonathan Veira, Classic Hymns from Guildford Cathedral (Eagle, £6. 99)
Glyndebourne, Covent Garden and ENO veteran sings on one cassette in his rich baritone 14 well-known hymns – The Lord is my Shepherd, Love Divine, Praise my Soul and others.



The postscript to Bookery Nook this month is inspired by a letter from British Columbia, Canada.

My correspondent asks if anyone knows of a history of the Dames de Marie, a teaching order founded in Malignes, Belgium, in the middle of the last century.

In about 1960 the order in England changed its name and status to become The Daughters of Jesus and Mary – but that may not be the correct name.

Two books written by a former headmistress, or perhaps Reverend Mother, are requested in Canada as well as the history of the order. They are: The Discipline of Girls and Labourers in God’s Vineyard, both by Madame Cecelia.

If any reader has any information about these sisters, I will gladly forward it to Canada.





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