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Location: Greensboro, NC, United States

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Book Study Quote #1

I have been in a book study group where we have been discussing the story The Displaced Person, written by Flannery O’Connor. Flannery O’Connor was a devout Roman Catholic writer who lived from 1925 to 1964. She mainly made her home in Georgia, and her Southerness is distinct in her writings. If you haven’t read her writings, I would highly recommend them as being well worth your time.

I thought I would put some quotes relevant to our book study here on the blog. If you aren’t in our book study, this will probably be like walking into the middle of a conversation. On the other hand, I’m putting these here because I think they have an interest that extends beyond our study. The quotes will vary – some will be from O’Connor, while others will be from sundry other sources. I don’t necessarily agree with everything I’ll be quoting, so don’t take these as examples of what I believe.

The first is from O’Connor herself, taken from one of many letters written to a person who in her Collected Works is simply called “A.” It was dated 9 August 55. The "St. Thomas" referred to is St. Thomas Aquinas; the "Summa" is his work Summa Theologica.


I don’t have the kind of mind that can carry such beyond the actual reading, i. e., total non-retention has kept my education from being a burden to me. So I couldn’t make any judgment on the Summa, except to say this: I read it for about twenty minutes every night before I go to bed. If my mother were to come in during this process and say, “Turn off that light. It’s late,” I with lifted finger and broad bland beatific expression, would reply, “On the contrary, I answer that the light, being external and limitless, cannot be turned off. Shut your eyes,” or some such thing. In any case, I feel I can personally guarantee that St. Thomas loved God because for the life of me I cannot help loving St. Thomas. His brothers didn’t want him to waste himself being a Dominican and so locked him up in a tower and introduced a prostitute into his apartment; her he ran out with a red-hot poker. It would be fashionable today to be in sympathy with the woman, but I am in sympathy with St. Thomas.

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