I found this article from the New Yorker re the Flannery O’Connor induction to the American Poets Corner at St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York, with a nice reference to Teilhard de Chardin’s impact on her writings. You can read the entire article here, but set forth below is an excerpt:
This week, Flannery O’Connor was inducted into the American Poets Corner at St. John the Divine, the “only shrine to American literature in the country” . . .Few of the previous Poets Corner inductees were as suited to the ecclesiastical setting as the deeply religious O’Connor. (Last year’s inductee was John Berryman; before that were Katherine Anne Porter, James Baldwin, Sylvia Plath, and Tennessee Williams.) Those who spoke during the ceremony stood in front of a shining cross, towering choir stalls, and giant pillars illuminated with glowing yellow lights. A booming echo made them sound like somewhat unintelligible voices from beyond. The effect was fitting, evoking simultaneously O’Connor’s keen sense of the ominous, the numinous, and the ironic.
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The first speaker, a priest named George Piggford who wore black robes, gave an erudite talk about O’Connor’s commitment to the sacrament of the Eucharist (she once wrote that it was “the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable”) and her debt to the Jesuit mystic Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. He discussed a passage that O’Connor underlined in her copy of de Teilhard’s “The Divine Milieu,” which argues that the “great sacramental operation does not cease” with the transformation of bread into flesh and wine into blood during mass, but continues out through time and space to transform all earthly matter into divine substance. The cosmic Eucharist, Piggford called it. It pictures the world’s corrupt bulk as the starting point of a miracle that will result in a universe that is tangible but pure. (O’Connor’s work is full of nothing if not corrupt bulk.) “The Divine Milieu” carries the dedication “Sic deus dilexit mundum: For those who love the world.”