THE CARMELITE by Elgin Groseclose


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An unusual situation and an unusual setting -- Persia of the 17th century and a tiny Carmelite mission sent to treat with the Shah -- take this out of the routine historical field. Brothers of the Discalced make their long way through the Turks and Muscovites to their goal, are harried by the brilliant, curious Shah, and only Fray Juan is left when health returns his two fellow missionaries. Through the Princess Shamala, Circassian daughter of the Shah's Christian feudatory, Juan is able to interest the Shah, becomes a favorite, works on his translation of the Gospels, is sent on an embassy to treat with the Muscovites about the silk traffic, fails and returns to be ignored by the Shah. But he does see Shamala married to Sir Robert Sherley, encounters more and more foreigners, receives new brothers, is confined for supposed treason to the Shah, and helps Shamala escape after Sherley's death. He is called from retreat to assume a Bishopric in Persia but dies during his travels. The play of Persian pageantry against the simplicity of the Barefooted Order, the need to adapt to the country's customs, the faith in extending the Catholic Church, the intricacy of the Shah's rule -- color this sober tale of dedication. A definitely Catholic sale for this.

Pub Date: June 14th, 1955
Publisher: Macmillan