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  • Writer's pictureJohn Stackhouse

Basilea Schlink: Searching for Clues…

A previous generation of Christian readers was more familiar with the name of Basilea Schlink (1904-2001), a German mystic who wrote several bestselling accounts of her life with God in the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary she helped lead after World War II.

In my thinking about how mystical experience properly figures in a Christian epistemology, her example baffles me. A highly educated woman from a well educated family, she testifies in her writings to a very wide range of decisions she seems to have taken almost entirely on the basis of intuition, including cutting drastically short one sister’s rehabilitation in hospital (the nun then evidently made an amazing recovery) and making all sorts of financial commitments in the face of precisely no money on hand or on the horizon. It sounds like the testimony from a quite ancient era and a much different class, but here is a middle-class Western woman cheerfully accounting for these decisions in books that thousands of others have found inspiring.

I find it all quite stunning, and would like some perspective. So I’m asking for help, after a fruitless search on the Web for any serious studies of her life and her work—and particularly her epistemology! If you know of any, please comment below. Thanks!

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