20 MARCH 1880, Page 24

The Bells of the Sanctuary. By Kathleen O'Meara (Grace Ramsay).

(Burns and Oates.)—The last of the five sketches which this volume contains, that of Archbishop Darboy, is peculiarly interesting. The- writer seems to have known him well, and even " interviewed " him- about his share in the Vatican Council. Her account of his character and his work, and her plain, unvarnished narrative of his death, are admirable. The fourth sketch, "One of God's Heroines," is also very attractive. The work of a Sister of Mercy, done as it was with the courage and devotedness of Sister Mary Theresa, none can fail to ad- mire, though some of us may not recognise the virtue of "deliberately trying to pass for an imperfect, religious, and weak-minded person,' or admire "her great spiritual ambition," a desire "to arrive at a love of being spoken ill of." The other sketches, though all written with no little force and beauty of language, and containing many touches of genuine truth, take us still further into this region of an unreal morality and religion. What are we to, say of this, told of a lady who underwent an operation of frightful severity?—" When I said what a pity it was that she had not taken chloroform, and thus escaped the fiercest part of the suffering, she answered, with a look in her eyes that I shall never forget,'All, ma chare, but what a pity it would have been to lose it ! I offered it up for the conversion of E—. Only think, if it obtains that !' " What a conception of God does that reveal ! In "Mary Benedieta,''' the author expresses her surprise that the subject of the memoir, while a person of mediocre intellect, was at home in the heights and depths of mystical theology. The experience is common to all religious communities. The present writer has heard from the lips of quite uncultured men, whose theology was abso-

lutely remote from that of "Mary Benedicta," prayer uttered in language of extraordinary beauty. Do these phenomena all come from a divine influence, or are they all products of some physical process ? Which does Miss O'Meara prefer to believe, for it seems to us that she is tied up to one of the two alternatives, unless she thinks that in the non-Catholic it is Satan disguised as an angel of light ?