Evelyn Underhill

June 15

Evelyn Underhill was born in 1875 and died in 1941. English lay theologian and writer, Evelyn Underhill awakened the spiritual hearts of her contemporaries and -- without realizing it -- pioneered a path for women in ministry. Born in South Kensington the only child of nominally Anglican parents, Underhill described her early life as lacking religious nurture. But even as a teenager, Underhill showed spiritual sparks that would be fanned into flames in young adulthood.


Underhill graduated from King's College, London, and in her twenties began writing novels about the spiritual quest. After her marriage to Hubert Stuart Moore, Underhill began writing her best-known work, Mysticism (1911), which continues to be a standard on the mystical life.


After the devastation of World War I and years of struggling with a longing to become a Roman Catholic, Underhill renewed her membership in the Anglican Church. She turned her attention to the spiritual formation of the average Christian by offering retreats for clergy and laity, radio talks, and as a spiritual guide. ...


Having a strong ecumenical vision, Underhill created important bridges to believers of the Eastern Orthodox tradition and to spiritual writers beyond the Christian tradition. She authored thirty-nine books and over 350 articles, almost all on spiritual themes.


If Evelyn Underhill had taken the Spiritual Types Test, she probably would have been a Mystic. We remember Evelyn Underhill on June 15.


[Excerpted with permission from the entry on Evelyn Underhill by Stephanie A. Ford, from The Upper Room Dictionary of Christian Spiritual Formation, edited by Keith Beasley-Topliffe. Copyright © 2003 by Upper Room Books®. All rights reserved.]

Today's Reflection

Evelyn Underhill