Tag: St. Augustine

God’s Scribes

Herrnhutism arrived in Sweden in the 1720s. The Stockholm Herrnhut community, which still exists today, has preserved autobiographies written in the eighteenth century and the early decades of the nineteenth century. Of these, thirty-six were written by Swedish women; the earliest dates from 1761, the latest from 1810-20. By and large, most of the female autobiographies were written between 1760 and 1790, after which the numbers fall off. The women come from all social strata; we have aristocrats and servant girls, bourgeoisie and beggars. Their autobiographies often exhibit the features that can be described as Augustinian: the women seek God in their inner being, primarily in emotion, in normal psychological processes (dreams, strong feelings). Furthermore, they have mystic features: the women abandon themselves to inner meditations on the cross and to erotically-charged meetings with Christ; they know that the depths of the soul contain the spark that makes these meetings and experiences possible.