What the Soul Desires

September 7, 2015

Sister Francis Raphael, or, the English poet Augusta Thodosia Drane
Born in London, England in 1823 to an Anglican family, Augusta Theodosia Drane converted to Roman Catholicism in 1850 and shortly thereafter entered the Dominican Sisters of Stone, where she received the name Sister Francis Raphael. Since Drane was already an established author when she entered the congregation she continued to publish under her former name. She served as mistress of novices, mistress of studies and then prioress general. Sister Francis Raphael produced nineteen books of catechetics, history, biography, drama and poetry. Among her works are a two volume definitive biography of Saint Catherine of Siena and a biography of Saint Dominic. She died in 1894. What the Soul Desires is from Drane’s collection of poems, Songs in the Night. In the poem the author expresses her frustration and sorrow about a fleeting mystical experience that never recurred. The poem was reprinted in The Oxford Book of Mystical Verse.   Click here for similar posts of poetry readings from Fr. Matthew Powell, O.P.

Image: Albert Pinkham Ryder, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, 1895.

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