Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Evelyn Underhill

Today, the Church remembers Evelyn Underhill.

Join us today, Wednesday, June 15, at St. Alban's for Noonday Prayer today at 12:10 p.m. or tonight for Evening Prayer to learn more.

Zoom Evening Prayer & Study - 5:30 p.m. with Father Whit+

Meeting ID: 867 8157 7595
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Evelyn Underhill, Mystic and Writer, 1947

The Collect:

O God, Origin, Sustainer, and End of all creatures: Grant that your church, taught by your servant Evelyn Underhill, may continually offer to you all glory and thanksgiving, and attain with your saints to the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have promised us by our Savior Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Evelyn Underhill was born in 1875 and grew up in London. Her friends  included Laurence Housman (poet and brother of the poet A E  Housman) and Sarah Bernhardt (actress), and Baron Friedrich von Huegel, a writer on theology and mysticism. Largely under his guidance, she embarked on a life of reading, writing, meditation, and prayer. From her studies and experience she produced a series of books on contemplative prayer. Underhill taught that the life of contemplative prayer is not just for monks and nuns, but can be the life of any Christian who is willing to undertake it. She also taught that modern psychological theory, far from being a threat to contemplation, can fruitfully be used to enhance it. In her later years, she spent a great deal of time as a lecturer and retreat director. She died on June 15, 1941.

She wrote, “To go up alone into the mountains  and come back as an ambassador to the world,  has ever been the method of humanity's best friends. The windows of Christ's Mysteries split the [Light] up into many-coloured loveliness, disclose all of its hidden richness...make its beauty more accessible to us...And  within this place we too are bathed in the light transmitted by the windows, a light which is yet the very radiance of Eternity.”*

* The Lectionary, James Kiefer,