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Mystical Experiences of Claire Booth Luce

"It is an experience which occurred when I was perhaps sixteen or seventeen years old. I no longer remember where it took place, except that it was a summer day on an American beach...
I remember that it was cool, clean, fresh, calm, blue, radiant day, and that I stood by the shore, my feet not in the waves. And now---as then---I find it difficult to explain what did happen. I expect that the easiest thing to say is that suddenly SOMETHING WAS. My whole soul was cleft clean by it, as a silk veil slit by a shining sword. And I knew. I do not know now what I knew. I remember, I didn't know even then. That is, I didn't know with any "faculty." It was not in mind or heart or blood stream. But whatever it was I knew, it was something that made ENORMOUS SENSE. And it was final. And yet that word could not be used, for it meant end, and there was no end to this finality. Then joy abounded in all of me. Or rather, I abounded in joy. I seemed to have no nature, and yet my whole nature was adrift in this immense joy, as a speck of dust is seen to dance in a great golden shaft of sunlight.
I don't know how long this experience lasted. It was, I should think, closer to a second than an hour---though it might have been either..."


Luce, Claire Booth, quoted in The Road to Damascus: The Spiritual Pilgrimage of Fifteen Converts to Catholicism, ed. John A. O'Brien (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1949), pp. 223-24.


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