The Prayer of Péguy
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By Albert Béguin | Translated by Kathleen Curran Sweeney
Prayer: the lifeblood of Charles Péguy. “No great moment in his poetry lacks a manifest tendency toward prayer and his personal existence amounts to a progressive opening of his soul to the spirit of prayer”—run the opening phrases of this modest yet brilliant 1942 study by Albert Béguin. Having identified prayer as the essential, inescapable element of Péguy’s life, Béguin traces its development from his childhood into adulthood, in his prose and poetry writings (especially the Mysteries), and in his fervent return to the Catholic faith. All the trenchantly familiar realities associated with Péguy are here examined: God and country; home and family; father and child; time and eternity; innocence and purity; work and dignity; the individual and the community; hope and eternity.
We have no altars except those which are yours,
We know nothing more than simple prayer. (Charles Péguy)
An expert on all matters Péguy, Béguin is comfortably and capably at home in the mysterious, multi-dimensional world of Péguy’s mind. Kathleen Curran Sweeney’s translation of La prière de Péguy (the first in English) is equally comfortable and capable, rendering both poet and presenter with accessibility and authenticity.
Albert Béguin (1901-1957) was a Swiss author, translator, professor of French literature, and publisher. He directed Éditions La Baconnière, whose authors included Charles Péguy and Pierre Emmanuel. Béguin succeeded Emmanuel Mounier as editor of Espirit and then served as literary executor for Georges Bernanos until his death.
Kathleen Curran Sweeney is a freelance writer published in a variety of Christian publications. She holds an MTS in Theological Studies in Marriage and Family from the John Paul II Institute in Washington, DC, an MA in History from the University of Washington, and a Certificat d’etudes français from L’Université de Grenoble.
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