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Padre Ignacio; or, the song of temptation

Owen Wister

Book Overview: 

Padre Ignacio has been the pastor of California mission Santa Ysabel del Mar for twenty years. In 1855 a stranger rides into the mission bringing news and a spiritual crisis. It's really more of a novella than a novel.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I think, from the color, though," said he, "that a little more wind must have begun out there."

The bell rang a last short summons to prayer. Along the road from the south a young rider, leading a pack-animal, ambled into the mission and dismounted. Church was not so much in his thoughts as food and, after due digestion, a bed; but the doors stood open, and, as everybody was passing within them, more variety was to be gained by joining this company than by waiting outside alone until they should return from their devotions. So he seated himself in a corner near the entrance, and after a brief, jaunty glance at the sunburned, shaggy congregation, made himself as comfortable as might be. He had not seen a face worth keeping his eyes open for. The simple choir and simple fold, gathered for even-song, paid him no attention—a rough American bound for the mines was but an object of aversion to them.

The Padre, of course, had been instantly aware of . . . Read More

Community Reviews

Owen Wister's "Padre Ignacio" is not very well known, but it is a little gem. A poetic exploration in the monastic virtue christened by the title character as "contentment through renunciation," this short work beautifully captures the struggle between the religious person and his or her calling.

Pa

This novella is set in California in 1855. The protagonist is an aging Spanish priest who oversees one of the missions. The arrival of a young New Orleans aristocrat bound for the gold fields sets in motion a crisis of faith for the padre. In some ways it foreshadows Willa Cather's Death Comes for t