To the End of the World
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By Helen C. White
To the End of the World tells of Michel de la Tour d’Auvergne, a Frenchman of high ideals whose cherished ambition is to see the great monastery of Cluny enkindle in France the fervor of faith in Christ and his Church. Yet it is the year 1789 and monasteries great and small are to serve as kindling for an altogether different fire: the inexorable conflagration of Church and tradition in the name of Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. From the ashes of Cluny, Michel rises to pursue that same aim of awakening France from its spiritual slumber—albeit now in the humble role of parish priest to a cheerless fishing village. When the Revolutionaries impose the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, Michel refuses to take the Oath, thereby setting into motion a string of tumultuous events that will bring him to the shadow of the guillotine itself.
“Liberty, equality, and fraternity are still a dream. I think they must be so as long as men try to realize that dream by violence and without regard to God, whose grace alone can give it reality.”
Yet another example of Helen C. White’s outstanding merits as a storyteller of humanity and history, To the End of the World captures the tumult of the French Revolution and the terrible question it set before men of God—whether they truly believed in the words of their Savior: “Behold I am with you all days, even to the end of the world.”
Helen C. White (1896–1967) was an American Catholic author, scholar, and professor. In a career spanning nearly five decades, she wrote six novels, including A Watch in the Night (1933) and Not Built with Hands (1935), and studies of poetry and devotional literature. White’s many awards include twenty-three honorary doctorates, two Guggenheim fellowships, and Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, awarded to a Catholic “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church, and enriched the heritage of humanity.”
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