In This House of Brede (Godden)
By Rumer Godden
Pax is the motto of Brede Abbey. Yet its peace is the peace of God—“not,” as Godden brings to her readers’ notice, “the world’s peace.” The walls of Brede witness life of unceasing work and prayer, little creature comfort, persistent disappointment and misunderstanding—yet a life of peace all the same, unswervingly joyful and loving. Into this life enters Philippa Talbot, ambitious, independent, successful, forsaking her beautifully arranged career in the world for a vocation of complete self-gift to God. Over the years and through myriad relationships in Brede and beyond, Philippa’s spirit is tested and her mission refined, to the point of becoming “not what thou art, nor what thou hast been, beholdeth God with His merciful eyes, but what thou wouldst be.”
“What do you ask?”
“To try my vocation as a Benedictine in this house of Brede.”
A milestone in Catholic literature, In This House of Brede is fiction of the highest caliber: no saccharine, simpering imitation of life, but a wholehearted, unreserved reflection of reality in its awful fullness.
Rumer Godden (1907–1998) was among the most distinguished English authors of the twentieth century, writing dozens of novels and children’s books, as well as an assortment of non-fiction works. A convert to Catholicism, she placed the mysteries of God, salvation, and sin at the center of her most popular works, among which are Black Narcissus, Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy, and In This House of Brede.