The Ways of the Spirit

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The Ways of the Spirit

One of the greatest women mystics in modern times, this scholarly Anglican combined intellectual independence with deep grounding in patristic and biblical texts, to offer a life-changing road to divine intimacy.

While searching through the archives of poet and author Evelyn Underhill, Grace Brame discovered four important handwritten retreats given by Underhill that were thought to be lost. In these writings, Underhill takes up some of the timeless themes of spiritual life: the call of God, sanctity, inner grace, and our purpose in life.

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In conducting research for her thesis on Underhill, editor Brame discovered four unpublished “retreats” given between 1924 and 1928 by this famed writer of mysticism. These, in addition to an excellent introduction, constitute the present work. In the introduction, Brame outlines Underhill’s pioneer position as a woman in the Church of England and skillfully combines a summation of the major themes in the retreats with Underhill’s life experience and thought at the time. Each retreat is divided into several themes, which are preceded by carefully selected hymns and prayers. Underhill’s characteristic clever use of language, wide knowledge of Western spirituality, practicality, and balance are evident in each address along with an urgency and desire to inspire that are not found in her more academic works. Her main theme is holiness through prayer and inner transformation, which naturally expresses itself in service to others. Some readers may be put off by her use of the masculine pronoun for God and other dated idioms. But those who probe deeper, will find much wisdom, inspiration, and profound understanding of the workings of the spiritual life. The book is a must for theological and religious libraries and highly recommended for all who are interested in the spiritual life.


"For anyone wishing to explore Evelyn Underhill’s personal evolution of mind and spirit, these retreats provide major insights. As contemporary spiritual reading, they provide still valid formulation of the perennial concerns regarding the quest for God.

Evelyn Underhill is worth rediscovering."

Paperback / 248 pages
Dimensions: 6 x 9

Contemplation, Retreats