Monsignor Charles Murphy will sign copies of his new book, Mystical Prayer: The Poetic Example of Emily Dickinson, at the Abbey Catholic Book & Gift Shop, located on 605 U.S. Route 1 (Dunstan Corner) in Scarborough, on Saturday, August 3, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Monsignor Murphy is a priest of the Diocese of Portland who currently assists at Holy Spirit Parish in Kennebunk, Wells, and Ogunquit. He is also former rector of the Pontifical North American College (PNAC) in Rome.
In his new book, Monsignor Murphy explores the still unfolding rediscovery of Emily Dickinson, the famed American poet, as a mystic of profound depth and ambition. He places Dickinson's writings within the Christian mystical tradition exemplified by St. Teresa of Ávila and identifies her poems as expressions of what he terms theologically as "believing unbelief." Dickinson’s experiences of love and her confrontation with human mortality drove her poetic insights and led to her discovery of God in the beauty and mystery of the natural world.
“Look no further if you are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the holy mystery of Emily Dickinson’s poetry,” said Elizabeth Johnson-Miller, author of Rain When You Want Rain and Fierce This Falling. “Weaving together history and biography as well as writings from mystics, popes, and poets, Monsignor Murphy skillfully explores the ‘sacramental consciousness’ of one of America’s greatest poets.”
“His examination of Emily Dickinson’s poetry in the Christian mystical tradition adds another layer to the growing corpus of serious treatments of her work as so much more than simply private lyric verse,” said Paul Lakeland, author of The Wounded Angel: Fiction and the Religious Imagination. “In brief compass and with great care, Monsignor Murphy enlarges our sense of the possibilities that Dickinson’s genius lays before us. No one who reads this book will ever think quite the same again about her poetry.”
For more information about the book signing or to pre-order the book, click here.
Ordained to the priesthood on July 16, 1961 in Rome, Italy, Monsignor Murphy has faithfully filled many roles in the Diocese of Portland and at the national and international levels as pastor, superintendent, director, consultant, author, and countless others. In addition to founding the permanent diaconate program for the Diocese of Portland, he served as pastor of parishes in Yarmouth, Westbrook, Portland, and Falmouth; superintendent of Maine Catholic Schools; coordinator of continuing education for diocesan priests; and director of seminarians. Monsignor Murphy served as academic dean and rector at the PNAC, where he completed his own clerical studies as a seminarian. While rector, the monsignor was part of the editorial group working in Italy under Cardinal Ratzinger, who would become Pope Benedict XVI, on the third draft of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which served as the final version promulgated by then Pope John Paul II. Monsignor Murphy has also served as a consultant to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Catechetics, reviewing materials for their conformity with the Catechism.
Monsignor Murphy is the author of several critically-acclaimed books, including At Home on Earth: Foundations for a Catholic Ethic of the Environment, Wallace Stevens: A Spiritual Poet in a Secular Age, and Belonging to God: A Personal Training Guide for the Deeper Catholic Spiritual Life. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Latin and Greek from the College of the Holy Cross, a master’s degree in education from Harvard University, and a doctorate in sacred theology from Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
For more information about the book signing, contact the Abbey Catholic Book & Gift Shop at (207) 885-5813.