The Left Hand of God is an 1955
In 1947, Catholic priest Father O'Shea makes his way to a remote mission in China to replace a priest who was killed there. He meets Dr. David Sigman, his wife Beryl, and nurse Anne Scott, the only other Western residents. They run a hospital for the surrounding villagers, at a time when competing warlords and Communists are engaged in civil war.
O'Shea delivers his debut Sunday sermon, in both English and Chinese for his appreciative parishioners. His work among them and his respect for local customs soon earn him their respect.
Anne becomes uncomfortable as she is attracted to him. Beryl suggests to her husband that Anne be sent back to the United States, but he refuses to consider it, needing her work at the hospital. Beryl suggests that O'Shea consult with Reverend Martin, a Protestant minister at another American mission, for advice. He agrees.
When O'Shea meets Martin, he makes a startling, unsolicited confession. He says he is not a Catholic priest, but Jim Carmody, an American pilot who had flown supplies over The Hump during World War II. He crashed during the war and was rescued by a local warlord, General Yang, becoming his trusted second-in-command ... and his prisoner. When one of Yang's soldiers killed Father O'Shea, Carmody deserted and decided to masquerade as the replacement priest. After recounting his story to Martin, Carmody writes a full account to the Catholic bishop.
General Yang tracks down Carmody, bringing an army and insisting that Carmody serve him in the internal warfare of China. Carmody proposes they settle the matter with their customary game of dice, wagering five years of loyal service against his freedom and the safety of the local villagers. After Yang loses, he coerces Carmody into playing again, this time for the future of the Protestant mission. When he loses again, Yang resigns himself to perpetuating the myth of Father O'Shea, who was saintly enough to turn aside a powerful warlord. Before Carmody leaves the mission, he tells Anne the truth.
- "A Loaf of Bread" - Father O'Shea and Sister Anne