Sep 1, 2007

Flannery O'Connor

"The Catholic writer, in so far as he has the mind of the Church, will feel life from the standpoint of the central Christian mystery: that it has, for all its horror, been found by God to be worth dying for."
The Church and the Fiction Writer, 1957

"I think that the Church is the only thing that is going to make the terrible world we are coming to endurable; the only thing that makes the Church endurable is that it is somehow the body of Christ and that on this we are fed."
Letter to her friend A, July 20, 1955


Anonymous said...

I believe you mean, Flannery O'Connor.

Your friend.

Anonymous said...

Betty Hester
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hazel Elizabeth "Betty" Hester (1923 - 1998) was an American correspondent of influential twentieth-century writers, including Flannery O'Connor and Iris Murdoch. [1] Hester wrote several short stories, poems, diaries, and philosophical treatises, none of which were published. She lived in Atlanta nearly her entire life, never married, and worked for Atlanta-based Retail Credit Company--commuting every day by bus.

Hester is best known for her 9-year correspondence and friendship with Southern fiction writer Flannery O’Connor. Between 1955 and 1964, Hester and O'Connor exchanged nearly 300 letters, some of which are published in Sally Fitzgerald's 1979 compilation of O'Connor's correspondence, The Habit of Being. Hester, a very private and reclusive woman, asked that her identity be kept secret in the published letters. Thus, she appears as “A”.

Hester first wrote Flannery O’Connor in July of 1955, when O’Connor was working on her second novel, The Violent Bear it Away. Eager to exchange thoughts and ideas with someone of equal intellectual caliber, O’Connor writes back, “I would like to know who this is who understands my stories.” O’Connor felt that she and Hester shared a spiritual kinship and later O’Connor would become Hester’s confirmation sponsor in the Catholic Church. Hester left the Church in 1958 and turned to agnosticism. This news was a grave disappointment for O’Connor, who had engaged Hester in theological dialogue and tried to sustain her friend’s faith.

Hester was born in Rome, GA and attended Young Harris College. She served in the U.S. Air Force in California and Wiesbaden, Germany, shortly after World War II (roughly 1948-1952). After her dishonorable discharge from the the Air Force [2], she moved to Atlanta. Hester spent most of her life in a small midtown apartment, where she slept on the couch. She struggled with alcoholism and bouts of depression. She was also a lesbian, which she only admitted to her closest friends.

Hester gave her letters to Emory University in 1987, on the condition that they be sealed for twenty years. They were released to the public on May 12, 2007.[3]

Betty Hester died by way of self-inflicted gunshot on December of 1998, at the age of 75.


JayG said...

Thanks for the spelling correction.

Is an agnostic someone who doesn't know, or someone who doesn't want to know? What does one make of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at 75. Another Wendy O. Williams?

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that most agnostics are a mix of "not knowing" and "not wanting to know". Wendy O. Williams just seems to me to have been more pitiable than Betty Hester as W.O.W. appears to have a poor home life and very little education. Ms. Hester choices were it seems more against truth having been more greatly exposed to truth.

May God have mercy on us all and save us, and protect us from evil choices.