By Robyn Wrigley-Carr – May 10, 2020
During World War 2, the British, Anglican, mystical theologian and spiritual director, Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), encouraged a small “Prayer Group” to pray for world leaders, calling it their “spiritual war-work.”
Our current pandemic has often been referred to as a “war,” yet a battle against an invisible enemy that is somehow uniting us all in our common humanity—regardless of nationality, race, gender or sexuality. The language of “war” when referring to COVID-19, has caused me to reflect upon Underhill’s insights—written during our last world war—as a challenge to our Christian response to this current global health crisis.
During World War 1, Underhill contributed to the war effort through writing and translating guide-books for Naval Intelligence. But towards the end of that war, Underhill (in her words) “went to pieces.” The reality of war … Read more
Ron Dart – Canada
Ron Dart has taught in the department of political science/philosophy/religious studies at the University of the Fraser Valley, BC, since 1990. He has published forty books and was on staff of Amnesty International in the 1980s. Ron has been reading Evelyn Underhill for many a decade and has been on the national board of the Thomas Merton Society of Canada for more than twenty years.
Robyn Wrigley-Carr – Oceania
Dr. Robyn Wrigley-Carr is Senior Lecturer in Theology & Spirituality at Alphacrucis College, Sydney, Australia. Her PhD at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, examined Friedrich von Hügel as a spiritual director. Robyn edited Evelyn Underhill’s Prayer Book and recently published The Spiritual Formation of Evelyn Underhill. Robyn is currently working on an anthology of Evelyn Underhill’s writings for publication in 2021.
Louise Nelstrop – … Read more
By Carla Arnell
For the last decade, I have collaborated with undergraduate students in doing research about Evelyn Underhill and the Edwardian literary movements of which she was a part. At Lake Forest College, the small Illinois liberal arts college where I teach, each summer, students who have finished their first year with distinction have the opportunity to participate in what we call the Richter Honors Program. This program permits students to spend the summer working with a faculty member on his/her research, contributing to the professor’s ongoing projects and in turn receiving mentoring to learn the moves professional scholars make.
In 2007, I was looking for a new scholarly project to begin. I’d always been interested in the nexus between literature and spirituality, and I happened to recollect a course on “Mystics and Visionaries” that I’d taken years ago … Read more
By Carl McColman
Today (June 15) is a day for remembering the passing of Evelyn Underhill, who died on this day in 1941.
If you are new to Evelyn Underhill, she was probably the most important writer in the English language for celebrating Christian contemplative and mystical spirituality in her lifetime. From the publication of her magisterial book Mysticism in 1911, until her death three decades later, she (in the words of Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey) “did more than anyone else… to keep the spiritual life alive.”
Her influence was just as remarkable; as biographer Dana Greene points out in her book Evelyn Underhill: Artist of the Infinite Life, she influenced a wide variety of Christian and other spiritual writers starting in the mid-20th century, Figures such as T. S. Eliot, C. S. Lewis, Thomas Merton, Richard … Read more