Monday, January 14, 2008


By Luci Shaw Madeleine L'Engle 1918-2007 Books & Culture January/February 2008
A powerful woman, large-hearted, fearless, quixotic, profoundly imaginative, unwilling to settle for mediocrity. Tall and queenly, she physically embodied her mental and spiritual attributes. I remember occasions when, in church during Advent, she would rise to full height, spread her arms wide like the Angel of the Annunciation, and declare, "Fear not!" in a tone that allowed no gainsaying. It was a challenge impossible to ignore.
Madeleine and I both loved to trace words back to their origins. When the word "companion" came under scrutiny we realized that it referred to those who ate bread together. She observed that when feuding countries forged some kind of peace accord and shook hands for the cameras, it didn't mean much. But if they sat down to a meal together, with bread and salt, it spoke of something more profound. The Lord's Table, with Eucharistic bread and wine, was the feast that joined us together. We regularly walked to noon Eucharist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, a few blocks from Madeleine's home in Manhattan. And if the weather was too severe we'd stay indoors, thankful for God's presence in the fellowship of tuna sandwiches.
Read the rest of this fine memorial essay in Books & Culture (Chicago).

Thanks to Anglicans Online for the heads-up.

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