Spring Hill College’s Summer Institute of Christian Spirituality will offer a course on Walker Percy’s “Tarnished Woman of Grace” during our first session (June 5-9) on the campus in Mobile. The course will focus on Percy’s later book, “The Second Coming,” a book about suicide, testing God, faith and redemption (through the grace of a woman escaped from an insane asylum). The course will be 5 days, each morning from 9-11 a.m.
Walker Percy, born in Alabama, growing up in Mississippi, and living and writing in Louisiana, is one of the great Southern Catholic writers (He was an adult convert to Catholicism). He became known as a “Southern Catholic writer” when he wrote the essay “Stoicism in the South” in 1956 for Commonweal, condemning southern segregation and advocating a new kind of Christian philosophy in Southern life.
His most famous book, “The Moviegoer,” published in 1960 won the National Book Award. In 1989, the University of Notre Dame awarded Percy its Laetare Medal, which is bestowed annually to a Catholic “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church, and enriched the heritage of humanity.” Walker Percy was buried on the grounds of St. Joseph Benedictine Abbey in St. Benedict, LA.
About the course, Dr. Katherine Abernathy says, “I would say that Christians in the South should read Percy because they will find a fresh look at their faith. He is irreverent and hilarious, yet his response to spiritual despair is Catholic at its depth.”
Dr. Katherine Abernathy is an associate professor of English at the University of Mobile where she has taught since 1997. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Dallas in 2000. Her research interests have focused on Southern literature, especially Walker Percy and Caroline Gordon, and she is currently working on a study of the works of the modern Norwegian novelist Sigrid Undset.
For more information on the Summer Institute of Christian Spirituality at Spring Hill College go to www.shc.edu/sics or call (877) 857-6742.