The Outlaws of Ravenhurst by Sr. M. Imelda, S.L.
Publisher: Lepanto Press
Number of Pages: 231
Charles Gordon, son of Sir James of Gordon,
Earl of Ravenhurst, and Lady Margaret, is placed in the care
of John and Mary Abell while still a baby. "George", as
they call him, has not yet been told by the Abells that he is
not their real son but they love him just as dearly as they
love their other children. At age ten, George, on returning
home after a delightful day with Joel (whom he thinks is his
twin), is faced with the shocking revelation when two men
arrive on the scene to take him away to his birthplace in
Scotland. The Abells admit the truth to him and George is then
obliged to part with those he loves most to a home unknown to
him. This bitter separation is to be merely the first of many
crosses to bear.
The men he travels with were his uncle, Sir
Roger, who is both a weakling and a tyrant, and Godfrey
Bertrandson, a deceitful and cunning man whom the boy
considers his friend. However, after meeting his real mother,
he is warned by her not to trust Godfrey either. Both want
Gordon to deny his Faith. It is only their methods that
If he is ever in need of help, his mother
tells him he can trust Benson, the old nurse at Ravenhurst,
Muckle John, and old Edwin, the gate warden.
Gordon has the privilege one day of
meeting, quite by accident, his other uncle, Father Stephen,
who is in hiding and ministering, whenever possible, to those
in need of the Sacraments. Gordon learns from Father that Lady
Margaret has been threatened by Roger that if she ever dares
to speak to her son about the Faith he would execute the law
to the fullest since he is now acting Earl of Ravenhurst. She
is found out and is then imprisoned as is Gordonís father.
Gordon, after receiving from Uncle Roger
brutal beatings and the punishment of thirst and starvation
for refusing to tell what he knows of Father Stephen and
holding fast to his own Faith, gains the necessary strength to
bear his cross bravely after reading a journal of the
sufferings his family endured for the Faith. Sir Roger hopes
that Gordon will relent but Gordon, turning to God for help,
and kissing the stain of the Precious Blood on the mantle, is
then inspired to escape through the secret passageways that
his mother has told him about. After many adventures, Gordon
is finally reunited to his parents. They emigrate to America
to be able to practice their beloved Catholic religion.
- Gordonís noble and virtuous father sacrifices for
himself and his heirs all claims of title, land, and castle,
forgiving from his heart the brutalities done to himself,
Lady Margaret and Gordon, leaving Ravenhurst to Roger. The
Catholic Faith is thus his first priority.
- Muckle John is determined to kill Sir Roger until the
good Father Stephen tells him "Vengeance is sin. Because
Roger has wounded the heart of Christ by sin, need you sin
also?" Muckle John understands the lesson.
- Many other lessons can be learned from this adventurous,
intriguing novel. Gordon is a role model for any young man.
He is "all boy" at play and all man where courage, endurance
and self-sacrifice are called for in the face of danger and
in defense of the Faith.
- The reader becomes acquainted with the history of
Scotland. The teacher can give some background in using
Warren Carrollís History of Christendom (Volume IV).
There are several passages in Scottish
dialect, which some children may find a little difficult to
This is one of the best Catholic books for
children ever written. A little after it was published, it was
voted "our most eaten-up book" by 900 schools. This is no
wonder since the story combines thrilling adventures (once you
start the book, it is hard to put down) with tremendous
inspiration (especially the martyrdom of Sir Angus). It is a
must read for Catholic students.