by Kathleen Henderson Staudt
For many years now an important spiritual resting-point in my life has been the annual day of quiet reflection in honor of Evelyn Underhill, sponsored by the Evelyn Underhill Association at the Washington National Cathedral. It is always held in mid-June, on a Saturday close to the day when the Episcopal Church calendar observes Evelyn’s feast day, June 15. It is a beautiful time of year on the Cathedral close, usually with lovely weather, the roses blooming in the Bishop’s Garden, quiet places to walk and pray on the grounds or in the Cathedral. Always the day has included several hours of communal silence, punctuated by a leader’s reflections on some theme from the writings of this 20th century mystic, spiritual director and retreat leader.
Evelyn Underhill’s gift to the Church may best be summarized by … Read more
by Bishop Robert Morneau
Evelyn Underhill (December 6, 1875 – June 15, 1941) was a married lay-woman of the Anglican tradition. Her writings on mysticism, worship, and the spiritual life continue to influence individuals who are interested in the Christian tradition. Underhill wrote over thirty books, conducted retreats for laity and clergy, and was, like the rest of us, a struggling pilgrim seeking to understand and respond to the mystery we call God.
One of her greatest legacies was the retrieval of the Christian mystics. Her study of and love for the writings of such individuals as St. John of the Cross, Julian of Norwich, and Meister Eckhart grounded Underhill in one of the richest dimensions of Christian spirituality.
Although attracted to Catholicism and receiving spiritual direction from Baron Friedrich von Hugel, Evelyn Underhill remained in the Anglican tradition. … Read more
At the Evelyn Underhill Quiet Day in June 2008, Rev. Canon Dr. Gerald Loweth presented the following insights:
Evelyn Underhill is well known for her writings on the subject of Christian mysticism. She began her work in the early twentieth century at a time when this tradition was being looked at afresh. Among other writers of her time she was able to describe and define the mystic experience in terms of the encounter with God and its transforming affects on the person. She put this down in such works as Mysticism and Practical Mysticism.
Following the turmoil of the First World War, Underhill began to undergo a change in her thinking. The fruits of her research into the mystical tradition were still alive and present in her new writings, but she expanded her thinking towards a more socially conscious and … Read more