Thursday, March 17, 2016

More -- Yes, More -- Quotes from In This House of Brede

Photo courtesy of Nat Merry


"She certainly doesn't make much effort," Philippa had to say.

"Only in trances," said Julian, scornfully.

"We don't put much faith in ecstasies here," Dame Ursula had told them. "The nun you see rapt away in church isn't likely to be the holiest. The holiest one is probably the one you would never notice, because she is simply doing her duty."


"Wouldn't the best penance," asked Abbess more gently, "be in doing what you are asked? What you can do?"


"A young nun has to realize what it is she has renounced; love, human love and marriage, must be shown to her as tender and desirable, as is the gift of children. She must learn there are not compensations."

Dame Clare's eyes flashed as she thought of "all the twaddle people talk...The lack of these things will gnaw at her all her life, leave holes in her, yet she must be just as warm, as self-denying and hard working as any wife or mother, and just as loving, without anyone to hold on to. Somehow most of us do it. Lady Abbess used to say, there may be lazy Benedictines and comfortable Poor Clares, but she had never met them."


"Give us a really good meal, something filling."

"Such as?"

"Roast lamb and pancakes," said Abbess without thinking.

Dame Agnes sanctioned  Irish stew and hasty pudding, and got her first reprimand ... "It's not your business to penance the community! Mortification should never begin in the kitchen."


"I am a woman...Look at me."

"I can't see past all those trappings."

"That's the trouble," [she] said sadly. "So few people can--but please try."


"It has been a long, hard road...especially at first, those small tormenting things."

"They were only pinpricks."

"Martyrdom by pinpricks can be very painful."


Faith said...

Maybe after I get through my Dorothy L. Sayers kick, I'll go on a Rumer Godden kick!

Emily said...

LOOOOOVE Brede. :)

Lisa said...

Loved this book. Just found your blog thru a friend.

Abigail Badillo said...

I'm going to say it again, how I love this book! And then I'm going to say, have you read Wendell Berry's fiction? Because I have just stumbled upon it, and I'm loving some of what he has to say nearly on a par with Rumer Godden, L'Engle, etc. If you haven't, he might be the next one to read :)

Karen Edmisten said...

Abby, I haven't read his fiction yet. It's on my figuratively-teetering TBR pile! :) I might have to move him up the list! His fiction has been there a long time.

Lisa, thanks for taking the time to comment! Brede-ian kindred spirits are always welcome!

Emily, somehow I knew you would. :)

Faith -- yes!

Abby Badillo said...

If you like his poetry, I can nearly guarantee you'll love his fiction. I started with Jayber Crow, which I think is a good intro to the various peoples and places of "Port William". After that, you can go on to any of the next, but my recommendation would be to go with "A Place on Earth" and then "Hannah Coulter". I'm going to be adding all his novels to our household book collection, as borrowing them from the library isn't good enough (this is a direct reflection of just how much I enjoyed them, since our bookcase space is really limited!).

Sonja said...

thanks to you I read "In this House..." before Lent. What a find! Thanks so much. I have to tell you that, as a convert, I often have had fantasies that perhaps had I been Catholic earlier I might have become a religious sister and enjoyed the stress free life of prayer and community. As I said, "fantasies"! Reading this book was not only the lovely experience of savoring a well-written book, but enlightening as well. The vocation to religious life is just as difficult as the non religious life, I concluded. And thank God for my marriage and for the dear sisters!

Karen Edmisten said...

Sonja, so glad to hear it!

When I first converted, I used to have the same kinds of thoughts. :) And yes, what I have learned over the years is that whatever our vocation, there are real challenges and real joys. No path is easy, but they're all leading to the same destination.... :)