The Abbess of Andalusia: Flannery O'Connor's Spiritual Journey

Overview


Flannery O'Connor has been studied and lauded under many labels: the Southern author whose pen captured the soul of a proud region struggling to emerge out of racism and poverty, the female writer whose independent spirit and tragically short life inspired a generation of women, the Catholic artist whose fiction evokes themes of sin and damnation, mercy and redemption.

Now, and for the first time, The Abbess of Andalusia affords us an in-depth...

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Overview


Flannery O'Connor has been studied and lauded under many labels: the Southern author whose pen captured the soul of a proud region struggling to emerge out of racism and poverty, the female writer whose independent spirit and tragically short life inspired a generation of women, the Catholic artist whose fiction evokes themes of sin and damnation, mercy and redemption.

Now, and for the first time, The Abbess of Andalusia affords us an in-depth look at Flannery O'Connor the believer.

In these pages you will come to know Flannery O'Connor not only as a writer and an icon, but as a theologian and apologist; as a spiritual director and a student of prayer; as a suffering soul who learned obedience and merited grace through infirmity; and truly, as the Abbess of her own small, but significant, spiritual house. For decades Flannery O'Connor the author has touched her readers with the brilliance of her books. Now be edified and inspired by the example of her life.

New from Saint Benedict Press.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A real service to those who appreciate the writings of Flannery O'Connor and those who would like to know her better." --Gilbert Magazine, June 2010

"Highly recommended! Lorraine Murray has done a splendid job of giving us a view of Flannery O'Connor which skillfully reveals the author's spiritual journey through her writing and life." --HappyCatholic.blogspot.com

"Lorraine Murray has given us a portrait of the artist which is realistic, solid, objective. We have an honest discussion of her private life without going into sordid speculations...." --Dwight Longenecker, Standing on My Head Blogspot

"Excellent book on Flannery O'Connor published not that long ago by St. Benedict Press." --DrawntoCatholicism blog

"Flannery O'Connor's corpus of writing is now seen as one of the outstanding American literary achievements of the 20th century. Her novels and short stories, often misunderstood, are now viewed as profoundly religious in their inspiration. Beneath the grotesque, violent and shocking events, the deepest meaning of Christian life and experience emerge, themes of evil, suffering, grace and redemption. Lorraine Murray's objective in this book is to show how O'Connor's novels and stories are rooted in her deep Catholic faith. O' Connor herself was quite frank about this source of her inspiration. She said, "I write the way I do because I am a Catholic." It was not a simplistic exposition of the faith but a genuine artist's effort to convey the deepest meaning of the Christian life through the good and evil of everyday lives of all kinds of people. She understood the difficulty involved when she wrote," Making grace believable to the contemporary reader is almost an insurmountable problem of the novelist who writes from the standpoint of Christian orthodoxy'. Murray covers well O'Connor's dogged efforts to develop her writing craft and the personal suffering that lay at the basis of her vision of life. At age 25 she was diagnosed with lupus and died from this fatal disease at 39 in 1964. Her journey through the suffering and her delight in the small things of her confined final years on the rural Georgia homestead named Andalusia - her pheasants, chickens and her garden - are all here. She wrote in her last year " Sickness before death is a very appropriate thing and people who don't have it miss one of God's mercies." Best of all, Murray presents Flannery O'Connor in her full humanity - bright, humorous and a profound believer. The anecdotes, witty remarks and thoughtful judgments abound. Admirers of Flannery O'Connor will find this book a wonderful visit with this gifted and saintly woman, the Abbess of Andalusia."--thecatholicworld.com

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935302162
  • Publisher: Saint Benedict Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2009
  • Pages: 233
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Lorraine V. Murray, PhD, is the author of The Abbess of Andalusia, Grace Notes, Why Me? Why Now?, Confessions of an Ex-Feminist, and mystery novels, Death in the Choir and Death of a Liturgist. She's also a columnist with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Georgia Bulletin, and works at the Pitts Theology Library at Emory University. Lorraine and her husband, Jef, live in Decatur, Georgia, and are parishioners at St. Thomas More Catholic Church. Her website is www.lorrainevmurray.com.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Preface Joseph Pearce xiii

Introduction: Afternoon at Andalusia xix

I Her Interior Life 1

1 The Province of Joy: Angels, Demons, and Daily Prayers 3

2 The Little Way at Andalusia: Devotion to the Saints 17

II Spiritual Director by Mail 29

3 Adopted Kin: The Tragic Journey of Betty Hester 31

4 Escape from Nihilism: The Sagas of Alfred Corn and Roslyn Barnes 55

III A Ministry of Writing 69

5 A "Genuine Miracle": Memoir of Mary Ann 71

6 Tempering the Wind to the Lamb: Mentoring Other Writers 91

7 Mortification of the Mind: Writing for the "Cathlick" Press 103

IV Conversion of Heart 117

8 Genius and Much Grace: The Priests in Flannery's Life 119

9 Integrated and Lapped with Azaleas: Overcoming Racism 137

V The Action of Grace 155

10 A Reluctant Pilgrim: The Journey to Lourdes 157

11 Genuine Works of the Lord: Andalusia's Birds and Beasts 167

12 Grace in Suffering: The Cross of Lupus 181

Appendix: Prayer to St. Raphael 207

About the Author 209

Bibliography 211

Notes 215

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