Madeleine L'Engle, writer and Episcopalian, dies at 88

September 6, 2007

Madeleine L'Engle, a lay Episcopalian who wrote more than 60 books ranging from children's stories to theological reflection, died September 6 in Litchfield, Connecticut. She was 88.

Her death, of natural causes in a nursing home, was announced September 7 by her publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, according to the Associated Press.

L'Engle was best known for her children's classic, "A Wrinkle in Time," which won the John Newbery Award as the best children's book of 1963. By 2004, it had sold more than 6 million copies, was in its 67th printing and was still selling 15,000 copies a year, the New York Times reported.

She had been the writer-in-residence and librarian at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.

In November 2000, she told an interviewer for Religion and Ethics Newsweekly that suffering and grief are a part of life.

"In times when we are not particularly suffering, we do not have enough time for God," she said. "We are too busy with other things. And then the intense suffering comes, and we can not be busy with other things. And then God comes into the equation. Help. And we should never be afraid of crying out, ‘Help!' I need all the help I can get."

L'Engle wrote a number of books for adults, many of them reflecting on her faith. Those titles included "Bright Evening Star: Mystery of the Incarnation" and "Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art." She also wrote a series known as the Crosswicks Journal, based on the liturgical year and reflecting on the seasons of her own life. Titles included "A Circle of Quiet," "The Summer of the Great-Grandmother," "The Irrational Season," and "Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage."

A memorial service will be be held Wednesday, November 28 at 4 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York.

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