Houselander, Frances Caryll

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Writer and artist; b. Bath, England, Sept. 29, 1901;d. London, Oct. 12, 1954. Houselander was the younger daughter of Willmott and Gertrude Houselander. She was educated in a Jewish kindergarten, French and English convents, a state school, a Protestant private school, St. John's Wood Art School, and St. Martin's Art School. Although she was baptized in the Church of England, she became a Catholic at the age of six. She worked at various occupations: as a layout artist for an advertising firm; as a scuplor, carving crib figures and stations of the cross for an ecclesiastical decorator; as a house decorator; and as a book illustrator. During World War II she worked in the censorship office.

Houselander wrote and illustrated stories, verses, and articles for the Messenger of the Sacred Heart, the Children's Messenger, and the Grail Magazine. She also wrote powerful and original works of spirituality on the theme of the suffering Christ in man that became best sellers. From 1942, doctors sent both children and adult patients to her for therapy. The best authorities on Caryll Houselander are her own writings: This War is the Passion (1941), revised as The Comforting of Christ (1946); The Reed of God (1944); The Flowering Tree (1945); The Dry Wood (1947); The Passion of the Infant Christ (1949); Guilt (1951); The Stations of the Cross (1955); and The Risen Christ (1958). Her books of children's stories, collected and published posthumously, include Inside the Ark (1956), Terrible Father Timson (1957), and Bird on the Wing (1958).

Bibliography: f. c. houselander, A Rocking-Horse Catholic (New York 1955), brief autobiog. m. ward, Caryll Houselander (New York 1962), biog.

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