Call Of The Lark

Call Of The Lark

by Maura Mulligan


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Call Of The Lark by Maura Mulligan

Call of the Lark by Maura Mulligan is a chronicle of life in rural Ireland in the 1940s and 1950s, a testament to the challenges of emigration to the United States, and a portrait of one woman's strength and determination to forge a fulfilling life.

The story begins in a New York novitiate where Maura is training to be a nun. Through the window of her memory, she invites the reader to share her childhood on a rain-swept farm in County Mayo, where women smoke clay pipes, the donkey brings turf from the bog, and children dibble the spuds and dodge a cane-wielding schoolmaster.

In the bustling new world of New York City, Maura revels in the freedom of having a job and money to pursue her love of Irish dance. But even as she wins competitions, earns accolades at work and meets a nice lad, she feels the tug to do something more with her life. During her years as a nun, the author experiences a series of painful family losses at the same time she begins wrestling with questions about the role of women in the Catholic Church. She confronts her doubts, summons her courage, fixes her sights on the future, and leaves convent life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780983237051
Publisher: Greenpoint Press
Publication date: 05/10/2012
Pages: 282
Sales rank: 1,147,454
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

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Call of the Lark 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful book that shows how people who grow up in a rough (to our modern sensibilities) environment become creative, successful adults if they have enough love from their family and inner courage. I wish I could give Maura, Mam, and Mags a big hug. 
PatrickJCNJ More than 1 year ago
I loved reading this wonderful book! Whether you are interested in the culture and people of Ireland, in the Irish-American immigrant experience, or in the changing roles of women religious in the Roman Catholic Church, you will truly enjoy reading Maura Mulligan's fascinating memoirs. It is a great read! The carefully selected photos complement and poignantly bring to life the people and places from her past which Maura describes so vividly. You can also manage to pick up a little bit of Gaelic as well since the dialogue is full of Irish language words and charming colloquial speech. Instead of relying on the typical chronological narrative, the episodes of Maura's life story are recounted as they are called to mind, often unexpectedly, by similar experiences during her years in the convent. The funeral service of a fellow Franciscan nun suddenly morphs into the recollection and description of the traditional Irish wake held for Maura's grandmother years earlier in her hometown, the farming village of Aghamore, County Mayo. En route to taking up her first work assignment in the convent's kitchens, Maura recalls the anxiety and excitement of her very first job - a live-in maid in the household of a well-to-do Irish family. The saga of emigration and first impressions of America are woven throughout the book. Maura tells of leaving home and of her trans-Atlantic crossing - made all the more difficult by having to share a cabin with two hostile, sailor-obsessed English girls who cordoned off their bunks. With her immigrant eyes, she perceives that the differences between her old and new worlds run deeper than the patterns of speech and pronunciation. On one of her first subway rides, Maura's outgoing and friendly nature is abruptly curbed by her Uncle Pake's unexplained admonition to avoid the "coloreds". Surprised that a Galway City girl now deigns to become a her friend, Maura observes how Irish social distinctions no longer apply among the her fellow "ex-pats" here in the United States. The larger framework of the story, Maura's life in the convent, is no less interesting than her tales of her life in Ireland and as a newly-arrived immigrant "greenhorn" in New York City. The hard to believe mean-spirited actions of "Mother Mistress" (a character whom you will love to hate!) are well-balanced by the portrayal of the kindly and gentle nature of many of older and wiser nuns, as well as by the innocence and earnest piety of her fellow postulants and novices. Although her recollections range from the harsh to the humorous, Maura's account is not a lampoon or indictment of convent life, but is rather a sincere tribute to the lives of these religious sisters. While Call of the Lark is largely light-hearted and optimistic in tone, Maura doesn't shy away from the difficult and painful times of her life. Yet sadness and tragedy are somehow always tempered by her great love of traditional Irish music, dance, and culture through which she manages to celebrate life and to find joy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Written in a very personal, honest and humorous manner, Maura has woven a tapestry of her life beginning in rural Ireland and winding up decades later in New York City. The colors, some bright and cheerful, others subdued, and some downright gloomy, are woven into a poignant journey to get where she seemd destined to arrive. Her story intertwines Irish customs, personal feelings, parental influence, orphans in her care, her cherished step dancing and the 1960s Catholic Church, and much more to present a painting that I thoroughly enjoyed. I was sorry when I reached the last page so I turned to Chaper 1, Page 1 and re-read "Call of the Lark". The most memorable line in her story were the words she had written on the back of a picture postcard sent home to her youngest baby brother John-"This is the ship that took me three thousand miles away from home". An easy read, you will be glad that Maura shared a good part of her life with you, the journey she so wholeheartedly embraced. You will even learn some Irish terms- Irish words she uses in her story are listed in a glossary at the back of the book. Thank you, Maura, for a wonderfully touching and inspiring memoir. I'm looking forward now to the novel you are writing. Camille Fanning
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellant reading. At times it brought tears to my eyes and also witty at times. It brought back old memories Dan Higgins
Piorra1 More than 1 year ago
Maura Mulligan exhibits the joy and lightheartedness of the Irish character. Her words dance across the pages in happiness, sadness and give us a glimpse into the time and history of a not to distant past in County Mayo. This book is not only for people of Irish descent but for anyone who enjoys and is inspired by the triumph of the human spirit”.
Sheilah1 More than 1 year ago
Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes has surely found its feminine counterpart as Sr. Maura Angela's determination leads her from an uncertain future in 1950's pre-Celtic Tiger Ireland to a life she is free to choose for herself in the light of post Vatican II & the beginning of the feminist movement in America. Maura compassionately relates the dire consequences & harsh realities faced by her, like our own, family & friends who through no fault of their own, suffer dearly from lack of opportunities. Like Frank McCourt, she becomes a "Teacher Woman" in NYC. A true storyteller, Maura's memoir -Call of the Lark- follows in the footsteps of Nuala O'Faolain in foregoing pretension and leaves us with concern for our fellow beings and admiration for a young girl's strength
LeeAnn1 More than 1 year ago
A charming and lovely read from a noteworthy debut writer. Maura Mulligan takes her readers on a journey through her maturation as an emigrant postulant navigating convent life. Amidst the tough decisions, sacrifices, and inner conflict, the writer smartly weaves sweet reminiscences from her poverty-stricken childhood in rural Ireland. Told with love, humor, determination, and candor, Call of the Lark offers an absorbing account of how life can be both heartbreaking and heartwarming. A storyteller indeed, Maura has infused rich descriptions with lively dialogue that bring life and expression to her story, as only the Irish can. If you enjoyed Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes, you will surely gobble this one up as well. It's simply beautiful.
Bridget-NYC More than 1 year ago
Get ready to be transported by the literary genius of this story to the lost time of rural Ireland, inhabited by the very real characters of the time; a loving grandfather who's eloquent about the old ways, a hardworking father who has to travel to England to work, a strapped mother left to handle everything in his absence, a formidable schoolmaster, and of course, the protagonist herself and her journey back and forth between Ireland and the United States. Through it all, colorful description and exacting formation leaves you with a newly acquired collection of characters/friends that stays with you well after the last page is turned.