The Letters of Caryll Houselander


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Edited by Maisie Ward

Monsignor Ronald Knox once declared that Caryll Houselander ought to open a school of spirituality. No stronger exhibit of evidence in favor of that declaration can be found than in The Letters of Caryll Houselander: A Spiritual Legacy. The first letter of the collection offers what would have certainly been the central doctrine of that school. Namely, that Christ is truly all in all; consequently, He is present, however secretly, in every man and woman. The “chief adventure” of Houselander’s life, explains Maisie Ward, was the discovery of that unknown Christ; all who came to her she sought to enlist in this selfsame adventure. The letters of this collection, from greatest to least, pay tribute to that lifelong endeavor of spiritual mentorship.

Despite the Christ-giving element in our relationships, they can never be perfect here. There must be empty places left in our hearts, because the final happiness of both depends upon God Himself possessing us completely… (Caryll Houselander)

With the especial expertise of friendship, Maisie Ward has compiled and edited from Houselander’s voluminous correspondence a wide array of letters of spiritual and practical advice. Everything that Houselander wrote, per Monsignor Knox, had “a candor as of childhood.” To this judgment, The Letters of Caryll Houselander are no exception, written in that spirit of sincerity and vulnerability that marks the exchange of “heart speaking to heart,” cor ad cor loquitur.

Caryll Houselander (1901–1954) was an English Catholic artist, author, poet, and mystic. In addition to her artistic and literary endeavors, she dedicated her relatively brief life to caring for the material and spiritual needs of the poor and desolate. Her works include The Dry Wood, Guilt, and This War Is the Passion.

Maisie Ward (1889–1975) was an English Catholic writer, publisher, and speaker. With her husband, Frank Sheed, she founded the publishing house of Sheed & Ward, which revived the Catholic literary movement and supported and promoted the intellectual, literary, and artistic treasures of the Catholic Church.

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Paperback: 216pp.

ISBN: 978-1685952013