UNFINISHED BUSINESS. An Autobiography, by Maisie Ward (Sheed and Ward, 40s.).
Reviewed by JOHN M. TODD
I THINK Maisie Ward's auto
biography will be very widely read. She writes easily and it is a pleasure to listen to her chatting about her life, whether it is personal and family—Frank and Rosemary and other more distant relatives—or about the Church.
Her life, of course, has been all "Church" and nearly all outward looking. Missionary from the early days of the Catholic Evidence Guild, then the foundation of Messrs. Sliced and Ward, through to the Catholic Housing Aid Society which has been occupying her very fully in the most recent decade gaged 65 to 75).
One could continue for a long time with the list of people and events with which she has been connected, and which will provide the focus of interest for many readers. But her book is not just a chronology. The author speaks her mind. and one never loses the human being at the centre of the story. She doesn't mind making her opinions quite clear and passing judgments.
From time to time the modernist movement and the workerpriests are discussed. Maisie Ward comes fairly firmly down on the side of authority in each case in the sense that she seems to see the extreme opinions of the Left and perhaps the middle of each movement as impossible for Catholics, on a common sense view.
Modernism, I think she is saying, would leave Christianity bereft of any certain revelation, and the worker-priests were putting politics before religion. She has more authority herself to speak in the latter case, and the pages in which she describes her personal friendship with some of the priests involved are of great interest.
As with all autobiographies, it is the personal quality that reallycounts. This book has it abundantly. Maisie Ward has a remarkable freelance quality about descriptions of her life at home in the spacious days before the 1914-18 war, when she admits. to her horror, to being bored at one moment; and of life in our modern affluent age which still finds it difficult to provide housing for everyone.