The Personalist Project

Elizabeth Eliot has died.

Her books, especially Passion and Purity, were key in my religious and moral development. I met her briefly once, when she spoke at Franciscan University and impressed me with the dignity of her bearing and the depth and substance of her faith.

Her mode of evangelicalism was very unlike the easy, sentimental emotivism that characterized so much of the Jesus Movement of those days. She was very different from Ann Kiemel and David Wilkerson and other evangelical heroes of mine. Her way of living and speaking about Christianity conveyed a sense of sobriety, discipline, sacrifice, grace and nobility.

She paved the way for Alice von Hildebrand and philosophy.

Her younger brother, Tom Howard, who became a Catholic in the mid-eighties, was (and is) also an important influence. Talks of his about his conversion made me want to read great books and memorize poetry and listen to Bach. 

He told us once that he thought his sister was close to Catholicism before she succumbed to sickness. I hope she there's now. For sure, she's with the God she served so faithfully all her long, admirable life. RIP.

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