Tag: 1996 Newsletter

The Spiritual Entente

by Dana Greene

A little known aspect of Evelyn Underhill’s spiritual formation was that which occurred through her relationship with Sorella Maria, an Italian Franciscan.

Although greatly influenced by French spirituality and the English mystics, Underhill’s writing also illustrates her profound love of Italy and the influence of the spirituality of Francis. It was in the art and architecture of Italy in the 1890s that she came to know the life of the spirit. The Italian Sorella Maria was also an important influence on her during the difficult period immediately after World War I. We know little of the relationship between Underhill and Sorella Maria except that the former experienced profound consolation from this nun.

Apparently it was through an English woman, a Miss Turton, that Underhill first became acquainted with what was called the Confraternity of the Spiritual Entente, … Read more

Teresian Wisdom in Selected Writings of Evelyn Underhill

by Mary Brian Durkin, O.P.

The following is excerpted from an article that first appeared in Spiritual Life, Spring 1995. It illustrates the extent to which Teresian wisdom permeates, supports, and enhances Underhill’s ideas of how ordinary people, leading ordinary lives, can, by selfless prayer and sanctified work, become forces for good, channels of God’s grace flowing out t improve God’s world.

What is the spiritual life? Inspired by Teresa’s analogy of the soul as an “interior castle,” a spacious mansion with various floors, rooms, and apartments—many in poor condition—Underhill expands and adapts the simile to emphasize the Teresian principle that there should be no distinction between the spiritual and the practical life. Underhill pictures the soul, not as a lofty castle, diamond bright and imposing, but as a simple two-story house; the ground floor is the natural life, … Read more