So I’ve been noodling around with books about St. Catherine of Sienna, who was a Dominican mantellate – lived in the world, but was a nun with all requisite vows. When I was looking at the library catalog, there came the above title, listed as by SMC.
Turns out, SMC is Sister Mary Catherine, of the English Dominican Congregation of Saint Catherine of Siena. Which is why her funny and wonderful little book ended up in Catherine’s part of the catalog. The book was published simultaneously in Toronto and New York in 1944, ‘produced in full compliance with the Government’s regulations for conserving paper and other essential materials.’
Once in Cornwall is quaint – there is really no other word for it. It is the story of a young man, called Brother Peter, who wants to become a Friar Preacher as a Dominican, but who drives everyone else in the novitiate in Cornwall to dark thoughts with his unremitting insistence on the facts, and pooh-poohing of dragons, sentimentality, and stories of saints with magical / saintly happenings which might not be scientifically true.
This story is set in the year of grace twelve hundred and eighty-one. Brother Peter is sent out into the world of Cornwall to come back in one year with all stories of Cornish saints, and especially dragons, that he can gather. The lessons of the journey, and the clear morals of the stories, are very sweet.
And I have loved, since I was a baby child, fairy tales and tales of wanderings. So this has been a great book to keep me company as I have tied to find ways to sit, stand, slouch and read comfortably since breaking my wrist (very mildly) on November 7. It has made me very happy!