Lilian Staveley - Early Life

Early Life

Née Lilian Bowdoin, Staveley was born to an affluent family, descended on both sides from Huguenots of the old French nobility. Her early life was not one of outward religious observance, but was rather one of privilege and learning. Along with two brothers, she was educated by tutors, governesses, and at boarding schools (Staveley spoke four languages fluently) and spent her summers in Italy. When she came of age in Society she entered into a privileged world of balls and suitors.

“I was worshipping the Beautiful without giving sufficient thought to Him from Whom all beauty proceeds. Half a lifetime was to go by before I realized to what this habit was leading me—that it was the first step towards the acquirement of that most exquisite of all blessings—the gift of the Contemplation of God.”

As a young woman she became an atheist; a painful decision with which she struggled for two years.

”My intelligence said, “Resign yourself to what is, after all, the truth: console yourself with the world and material achievements.” The heart said, “Resignation is impossible, for there is no consolation to the heart without God.” I listened to my heart rather than my intelligence, and for two terrible years I fought for faith.”

While in Rome, visiting the temples, she was moved by the beauty of her surroundings and “a longing for her Lord so painfully real that the longing could not be denied.”

While Staveley was highly sought after and offered many proposals, she entered into a secret engagement with Brigadier General William Cathcart Staveley when her parents refused, (due to his lack of money) to allow the romance. Meanwhile Staveley’s father, with whom she was quite close, suffered from a heart condition that left him gravely ill for two years before his eventual passing. His death had a profound impact on his daughter. “I became a semi-invalid, always suffering, too delicate to marry.” When her health returned, she married Staveley, (Married on 30 Sep 1899 at Kensington,London - GRO Record 1a 241) though they were quickly separated for a time when he left for the Anglo-Boer War.

At the end of World War I she brought to John M. Watkins of London a manuscript. For the sake of her privacy and because her husband was still living (a general in the Army), she insisted on anonymity. It was only after her death that General Staveley learned that his wife of nearly thirty years had led a hidden spiritual life.

Read more about this topic:  Lilian Staveley

Other articles related to "early life, early, life":

Zeenat Aman - Early Life
... Aman graduated from St ... Xavier's College, Mumbai and went to University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California for further studies on student aid ...
Joseph Conrad - Merchant Navy - British Voyages - Master
... Archipelago, why does this area loom so large in his early work? (Leaving aside The Rescue, whose completion was repeatedly deferred till 1920, the last of the Malay novels ... nature and the dreariness of human life within it accorded well with the pessimistic mood of his early works." After Johannes Freiesleben, Danish master of ... Najder calls "the most traumatic journey of his life." After his November 1889 meeting with Thys, and before departing for the Congo, Conrad had again gone to ...
James Tobin - Life and Career - Early Life
... In 1935, on his father's advice, Tobin took the entrance exams for Harvard University ... Despite no special preparation for the exams, he passed and was admitted with a national scholarship from the university ...

Famous quotes containing the words early life, life and/or early:

    Many a woman shudders ... at the terrible eclipse of those intellectual powers which in early life seemed prophetic of usefulness and happiness, hence the army of martyrs among our married and unmarried women who, not having cultivated a taste for science, art or literature, form a corps of nervous patients who make fortunes for agreeable physicians ...
    Sarah M. Grimke (1792–1873)

    Your home is regarded as a model home, your life as a model life. But all this splendor, and you along with it ... it’s just as though it were built upon a shifting quagmire. A moment may come, a word can be spoken, and both you and all this splendor will collapse.
    Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906)

    In early days, I tried not to give librarians any trouble, which was where I made my primary mistake. Librarians like to be given trouble; they exist for it, they are geared to it. For the location of a mislaid volume, an uncatalogued item, your good librarian has a ferret’s nose. Give her a scent and she jumps the leash, her eye bright with battle.
    Catherine Drinker Bowen (1897–1973)