Saturday, June 15, 2013

Evelyn Underhill (1875 - 1941)

Evelyn Underhill was born at Wolverhampton England on December 6, 1875. The only child of (Sir) Arthur Underhill, barrister and his wife, Alice. She was educated at home, except for three years at a private school in Folkestone. Later she attended King's College for Women, where she excelled in history and botany. She also became a first-class bookbinder.

In 1906 She married Hubert Stuart Moore, a barrister, whom she had known since childhood. That same year she became a convert to Christianity, initially via the Catholic church, eventually joined the Anglican Communion (1921) and in her later years settled in the Greek Orthodox Church (1936).
Her first important book, Mysticism (1911), brought her in to acquaintance with Baron Friedrich von Hugel she formally put herself under his spiritual direction and she remained his pupil until his in 1925.

From the moment she became a Christian Underhill's life consisted of various forms of christian service. She often quoted St. Teresa's "to give Our Lord a perfect service Martha and Mary must combine." Her mornings were given to writing and her afternoons to visiting the poor and to spiritual direction. As she grew older spiritual direction became her chief interest.

In 1924 she began to conduct retreats, and a number of her books consist of the notes from these. She also penned three novels, two books of verse, a number of works on philosophy and religion, and various editions of, and critical essays on, the mystics.

During the first World War Underhill worked for the defense department. On the advent of the second world war in 1939 she found herself a Christian pacifist. She joined the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship and wrote an uncompromising pamphlet, The Church and War (1940).

In 1913 Evelyn Underhill became an honorary fellow of King's College of Women and in 1927 fellow of King's College. She had a zest for life and a sharp sense of humor. In her relationships particularly with her pupils, she had a vey light touch, having a great disdain for "pushing souls about." Her love of people combined with her desire to help them to grow at God's pace, not at there's or hers, won her the love and trust of all who went to her for help.
Evelyn Underhill died at Hampstead on June 15th, 1941.

living water from an ancient well reprint

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