“I would like to write a beautiful prayer,” writes the young Flannery O’Connor. “There is a whole sensible world around me that I should be able to turn to Your praise.” Tuesday, November 12, the personal, interior life of this gifted author will be available in a new book. Fr. Damian Ference reviews the book below.
I’ve been keeping a secret for two years. I was not bound by the seal of confession, but by W.A. Sessions, a personal friend of Flannery O’Connor.
On October 6, 2011, the opening night of an O’Connor conference at Loyola University Chicago, Sessions read – for the first time in public – excerpts from a recently discovered prayer journal of Flannery O’Connor. Before he read O’Connor’s prayers, he made it very clear that we, the audience, were not permitted to record, report, or even comment upon anything that he would read. He was serious. And so were the prayers that he read to us. I took notes – lots of notes – for my own prayer and reflection. But I haven’t been able to tell anybody about them until now.
Some folks are downright shocked to discover that the same woman who wrote stories involving racism, rape, murder, an amputee, a hermaphrodite, and a mentally challenged young woman, was also a daily communicant. But it’s true. Flannery O’Connor was a devout Catholic, and the prayer journal from her time as a graduate student at the University of Iowa offers an honest, intimate, humorous, mysterious, and comforting view into the mind and heart of one of America’s greatest writers...