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Loyola/Notre Dame Library Presents “Letters From Andalusia”: Flannery O’Connor’s 1963-64 Correspondence with Notre Dame Poet Sister Maura Eichner

March 3, 2011

“Letters from Andalusia,” a new exhibit at Loyola/Notre Dame Library highlights writer Flannery O’Connor’s unique relationship with College of Notre Dame. O’Connor was not only the most important female Catholic writer of the 20th century, but was also a treasured correspondent of poet and College of Notre Dame English professor Maura Eichner, SSND ’41, through late 1963 and early 1964. O’Connor’s letters to Sister Maura offer insight on her abiding Catholic faith, as reflected in her body of work. The author died in August 1964, at the age of 39.

After meeting Sister Maura and speaking to her class during an October 1963 visit to campus, O’Connor wrote to a friend: “Every school I go to I end up with more friends among the Sisters—all highly individual too … the one who runs the writing program at Notre Dame of Maryland is Sister Maura, a poet. As poets, when they are good they are very, very good … she is good.” 

The exhibit runs February 28 to April 23, 2011 and is open to the public. Loyola/Notre Dame Library is located at 200 Winston Avenue. 

On March 25 at 4 p.m., the library will host “Flannery O’Connor: Style and Substance,” a lecture by Sister Kathleen Feeley, SSND, author of the acclaimed critical biography, “Flannery O’Connor: Voice of the Peacock.”

The library’s tribute to O’Connor continues on April 7 at 7 p.m., as the Catholic Writer’s Series features author and Boston College Gerard Manley Hopkins Professor Paul Mariani’s discussion, “Works: The Impact of Hopkins and Flannery O’Connor on Writing Today.”

The library exhibit includes Sister Kathleen’s letters to the family, friends and colleagues of O’Connor. The correspondence began in 1968, four years after the author’s death, when Sister Kathleen sought to visit the O’Connor family farm and meet her mother. Sister Kathleen and Regina Cline O’Connor continued to correspond over time through the early 1970s. The visit and review of Flannery O’Connor’s personal library with its extensive collection of literature, theology and scriptural writings become the basis for Sr. Kathleen’s doctoral dissertation and later book. 

Also on view are first editions of all of O’Connor’s works, as well as a woodcut portrait by Barry Moser and original colored lithograph by Jack Coughlin. 

For more information on all events related to the library’s tribute to Flannery O’Connor, or to RSVP, please visit http://flanneryoconnor.lndlibrary.org