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Reviewed by Amanda Rofe for Readers' Favorite
The Forest Tabernacle: Memoir of Catholicism, Jesus, and a Sexual Assault on a Bicycle Tour by Dr Patrick D. Milroy is the true story of the author's experiences during a solo bicycle tour. In 1986, at the age of 24, he takes time off from his university education to cycle from Ontario to Florida. This book documents his journey including his struggle to find Christ and deal with the Roman Catholic faith of his childhood. He meets a wide variety of people and visits many iconic places. While camping, he is severely sexually assaulted and undergoes an intense spiritual experience. The bicycle tour influences and shapes the rest of his life. He later goes on to become a healer and educator.
This book was very moving. The author certainly has a story that needed to be told. This book will resonate with many people who are trying to make sense of organized religion and find a path to spiritual enlightenment. Dr Patrick D. Milroy has an upbringing steeped in the Roman Catholic faith and he dips into his childhood years as he travels. During the tour, he questions everything from the bad weather to the people he meets. The steep hills of the route really do mirror his difficult spiritual and emotional journey.
This is a remarkable and stirring account of one young man's vivid spiritual experience. The sexual assault he suffered is brutal and distressing. The candid recollection of this event should be applauded since male rape is still rarely spoken of or reported. The Forest Tabernacle is well written, authentic and honest. I very much hope it will help others who may have suffered a similar experience.