We received notice today of the death of author Macrina Wiederkehr, who died on Friday April 24. She published many books, including her influential work on lectio divina:
A Tree Full of Angels:
Seeing the Divine in the Ordinary
Her publisher Ave Maria Press released the following statement:
FORT SMITH, Ark.—Ave Maria Press is sad to announce the passing of beloved author Macrina Wiederkehr, O.S.B., who died early Friday, April 24, 2020. She suffered from an inoperable brain tumor for the past several months.
Sr. Wiederkehr was a spiritual guide, popular retreat facilitator, and author who made her home with the monastic community of St. Scholastica in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The Benedictine traditions of deep listening to the word of God and hospitality toward all of life formed the roots of her writing and retreat ministry. Wiederkehr wrote nine bestselling books, including The Flowing Grace of Now, Seven Sacred Pauses, Abide, Behold Your Life, and The Circle of Life, which she coauthored with her good friend Joyce Rupp.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at a later date. You can read
Wiederkehr’s full obituary at dignitymemorial.com.
“Although the news that Macrina had died was not unexpected, it was certainly sad and sobering,” said Tom Grady, publisher of Ave Maria Press. “Over the course of more than twenty years, we have had the joy of publishing many of her wise and nourishing books.”
On her website, Wiederkehr described herself as creative, restless, joyful,
spiritual, forgiving, and loyal. She said she loved morning, good books, good
coffee, the earth, movies, and lectio divina, and that she needed words, silence, God, friends, laughter, tears, and questions.
“Having the opportunity to work with and know Macrina was both a gift and a joy,” said Amber Elder, who edited Wiederkehr’s final book, The Flowing Grace of Now: Encountering Wisdom through the Weeks of the Year. “Her writing was thoughtful, heartfelt, and full of gentle wisdom; she was even more so.”
Rupp spent the past several weeks with Wiederkehr. Rupp pointed out that the last chapter of The Flowing Grace of Now focuses on the reality of death.
Wiederkehr quotes the late Irish poet John O’Donohue: “A deathbed is such a special and sacred place: a deathbed is more like an altar than a bed. It is an altar where the flesh and blood of a life is transformed into eternal spirit… We should endeavor to be present there with the most contemplative, priestly grace.”
Wiederkehr shared this prayer as well:
O Light of Revelation,
When dawn shows its face and when the shades of twilight enfold me, may I receive the peace that comes from being in communion with you. You who are a window to the eternal, hold me in your view. Don’t ever let me out of sight. Death will hold no terror for me, sheltered under your wings. May I rest in peace in life and in death.”
May God grant her prayer.
[ The Way of St. Benedict ]
A Reading Guide