THE CALLED AND THE CHOSEN by Monica Baldwin

THE CALLED AND THE CHOSEN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The author of the autobiographical I Leap Over the Wall is concerned here too with the problem of spiritual doubt. The choice of telling the story in diary form is most fortunate because this effort is simply the recounting of a woman's experiences within cloistered walls and much, therefore, rests with her impressions and recollections rather than the recording of the daily round. Ursula Auberon, in 1927, at 20, entered the Abbaye de la Sainte Croix at Framleghen. She left her beloved home -- Stokesey -- the estate which Henry VIII presented to the Auberons at the time of the Dissolution, but Stokesey never left her mind all through her novitiate and her time as a professed nun. Indeed, it was the attachment to her beautiful home which first caused her doubts about such a vocation. There are many personalities who leave their mark on these pages -- Sr. Polycarp, whose unorthodox ways were unchanged by convent life; Sr. Isadore, a suspicious sort, who becomes Ursula's nemesis; and Sr. Helena, the Superior, who typified for the Community all that one would expect of a saint. The deciding point for Ursula arrives when her aunt wills Stokesey to the Order -- an event which would never have occurred if Ursula had remained on the estate. After almost 400 years Stokesey has come full circle -- this, Ursula decided, was her mission. In 1941, when Stokesey is restored to the Church, the woman who gave 14 years, not truly misplaced, to the Order is dispensed from her vows and feels finally, at peace. If this novel lacks in power and vision, it is more than adequate in compassion, sympathy and the insights which only experience can offer.

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 1957
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Cudahy