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June 2018

Evelyn Underhill


Mystical writer of the 20th century—and buried in the ABG, grave number  P80
 
The memorial reads: Here lies H. Stuart Moore, FSA,  who died 24th May 1931 aged 81 years.  And his wife Evelyn who died 15 June 1941 aged 65 years. (Daughter of Sir Arthur Underhill)
 
There isn’t really space here to  go into exactly why this is so inadequate!  But this article from Parish Pump  may give  you some idea ………..
 

Author of more than 30 books that explored the intersection between the spiritual and the physical, the first woman ever to lecture to the CofE clergy, the first woman to conduct spiritual retreats for the Church, the first woman to establish ecumenical links between churches, and one of the first women theologians to lecture in English universities. Evelyn was also an award-winning bookbinder.


Evelyn’s inner, spiritual journey was complex: from agnosticism to theism, on to Neoplatonism and then Roman Catholicism  - in 1921 she became an Anglican, with a later fascination for the Greek Orthodox church. Her daily life was one of reading, writing, and doing various forms of religious work, from visiting the poor to counselling people in trouble.


Her spiritual search began in childhood, after a number of "abrupt experiences of the peaceful, undifferentiated plane of reality—like the 'still desert' of the mystic—in which there was no multiplicity nor need of explanation". Trying to understand these mystical experiences sparked her passion and lifelong quest.


Evelyn became one of the most widely read writers on mysticism in the fist half of the 20th century. Her greatest book, Mysticism: A Study of the Nature and Development of Man's Spiritual Consciousness, was published in 1911, and is romantic, engaged, and theoretical rather than historical or scientific.

 

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