Tag: 2000 Newsletter

The Professor’s House

by John C. Kimball

This novel by Willa Cather is a successful example of Evelyn Underhill’s assumption that the spiritual life is available to every human being. Underhill assumes and demonstrates that the spiritual life is part of our human nature, just as physiology and psychology are part of all human life.

At the outbreak of World War I, Evelyn Underhill published Practical Mysticism because she believed that practical mysticism was the very activity needed most in a time of “struggle and endurance, practical sacrifices, difficult and long continuous effort.” Whether national or personal, there are always such times, and so always the very activity needed most.

Underhill then defines her subject: “Therefore it is to a practical mysticism that the practical man is here invited: to a training of his latent faculties, a bracing and brightening of his languid … Read more

The Wisdom of John of the Cross in the Writings of Evelyn Underhill

by Mary Brian Durkin, O.P.

When Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941) began to study and write about the meaning of mysticism, she immersed herself in the writings of St. John of the Cross. Her monumental volume, Mysticism (1911), reveals her knowledge and appreciation of his teachings concerning mystical life. In The Mystic Way (1913), Practical Mysticism (subtitled “A Little Book for Normal People, 1914), and Mystics of the Church (1925), she continued to expound on John’s wisdom concerning ways to achieve union with the Absolute.

It was particularly in retreat conferences and in letters to advisees that Underhill utilized and with keen discernment, presented ways to develop a practical and balanced spiritual life based on the teachings of St. John of the Cross, who, she claims, is “at once the sanest of saints and the most penetrating of psychologists.” (Mysticism. … Read more