Talks & Lectures

Flannery O’Connor and the Call to Suffering

Let’s examine Flannery O’Connor’s prayer “It is hard to want to suffer. But I presume grace is necessary for the want.” How does Flannery O’Connor demonstrate overcoming mediocre faith? What can we learn from her prayer life? Watch the lecture by Dr. Jessica Hooten Wilson below to learn how O’Connor overcame her lukewarm, mediocre faith and how we can learn to do the same.

Flannery O'Connor

During her years as a graduate student at the Iowa Workshop, Flannery O’Connor kept a prayer journal in which she shared with God her concerns over her mediocre faith and her ambition to write. Through these prayers, scripture reading, and theological study, O’Connor began to fear that the only way to become both a saint and a great author would be a path of suffering. She prays, “It is hard to want to suffer; I presume Grace is necessary for the want.” For many Christians, the idea of wanting suffering sounds masochistic. Yet, O’Connor shows through her fiction and her own life story that suffering may be a call by Grace.”She’s not praying to withstand cauldrons of boiling pitch or arenas of lion. It’s a different kind of suffering that she’s praying about, one that would actually be a conduit for grace.”

Lecture at Biola University’s Center for Christian Thought | 2018


Dr. Hooten Wilsons other articles, podcasts, and interviews about Flannery O’Connor.

Featured in Washington Examiner Article on Flannery O’Connor

‘Flannery’ Documentary Highlights Author’s Faith-driven Work

A New Collection of Letters Feeds the Hunger for More Flannery O’Connor

O’Connor and Race


Follow Jessica Hooten Wilson | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Leave a Reply