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Hope Beyond Hope: The Story of the Dominican Sisters of Bethany Paperback – March, 1988

3 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Language Notes

Text: English, Italian (translation)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: New City Pr (March 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0911782583
  • ISBN-13: 978-0911782585
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,464,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on October 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
Most of us English speakers had our first encounter with the Dominican Sisters of Bethany in Rumer Godden's 1979 novel, Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy. Mrs. Godden wrote an introduction to her novel, stating that the Dominican Sisters of Bethany really do exist, in France, and thanking the Prioress General for permission to write about her congregation. If, like me, you put down Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy, saying to yourself, "I must know more," what do you do to investigate this subject?
There are several answers. One is, Learn a language other than English, in order to study the existing literature or websites about the TWO Dominican congregations of Bethany (Rumer Godden chose not to mention that World War I split the congregation in two, in 1914, and both groups of Sisters of Bethany remain separate yet friendly.) Among European languages, French is your best bet. Pere Marie-Jean-Joseph Lataste OP, Bethany's Dominican priest founder, is the subject of an anthology, Precheur de la Misericorde (meaning Preacher of Mercy), from the French Dominican publishing house, Les Editions du Cerf. (Yes, the late great Mrs. Godden did her homework: it is easy to find her English translations of Pere Lataste's words and pull up the French originals in the Cerf anthology.) French is not your only Continental-language option: books have also been published in Italian, German, Dutch, and, recently, Latvian!
In English -- there's the rub. I review Hope Beyond Hope from the perspective of having read about the Congregation of Bethany in French and German. The bad news is: Hope beyond Hope is a far inferior book to the Bethany literature in the European languages. The weakest link is the translator, Jerry Hearne, whose English is clumsy, unidiomatic, ultimately difficult to digest.
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