By: Francis J. Finn (1859-1928)
Father Finn's beautiful little tale can be read in an hour or so, but it conveys a lesson which ought to be of longer duration. The interest of the story is chiefly theological, turning, as it does, on the refining and ennobling effects of frequent confession and communion on the soul; yet it is so simply put that any child can understand it.
Regina O'Connell is a poor factory girl whose earnings support herself and her bedridden sister. She is simplicity itself—one of those rare beings whom unselfishness and genuine humility make heroines in the true sense of the word. She is a weekly communicant, and is trying her best to keep to the narrow path, but she cannot yet say from her heart the beautiful prayer of St. Ignatius:—" Take, O Lord, all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my whole will." She is tried, sorely tried. At times the pathos is almost unendurable, but she learns her lesson at last. "Give me but Thy love and Thy grace," she whispered, "for these are sufficient for me." "And she received His love and His grace, and in the receiving her heart throbbed with a bliss seldom known upon earth, for His love and His grace were indeed sufficient."
The book is not devoid of humourous touches. Father McNichols' catalogue of his penitents and Regina's poor attempts at grandeur are amusing, while the description of the bazaar and of the raffle for the diamond ring are bright and vivid.