Willamette Interlude Mary Dominica McNamee Author
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In the fascinating account, first published in 1959, the author tracks the pioneering progress of six Belgian Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur as they struggle to establish a mission for the poor in 1844 in Oregon territory.“The story of Willamette Interlude has four claims to distinction. First of all, its theme is magnificent. In the second place it is concerned with beginnings, and to true lovers of history nothing is more absorbing than origins. There is, moreover, a wealth of four-dimensional character portrayal and vivid incident that only devoted scholarship and rich primary sources can provide. The narrative, finally, is a masterpiece of lucid and fluent English.So far as theme is concerned it is difficult to imagine anything more dramatic than this epic of valiant Belgian women, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, at grips with the raw Oregon wilderness of the early 1840s. Here is a confrontation of Christian zeal with pagan inertia, of civilized refinement with the incredible squalor and misery of frontier construction. What writer could ask for a subject more exciting and significant? There are no false notes struck in this account, for this is not fiction but history. We are presented with no easy conquests, no comfortably satisfying resolutions to fictitious problems. Here is struggle, marked at times by heartrending setbacks, by human misjudgments and miscalculations, by failures as well as triumphs. But their failures were chiefly in the material sphere. In the realm of spirit the triumphs are real.”


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