Pope Francis (birth name Jorge Mario Bergoglio) is the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He has served as pope since 2013. In an interview a few months after his election to pope he briefly discussed mystics, mysticism, and mystical experience.
Sometimes "First Vision" experiences are more subtle than others, while still being profoundly moving and life-changing. These can happen quite spontaneously, in any place or situation. The following two accounts come from an archive of over 6,000 first-hand religious or spiritual experiences from all around the world compiled by Sir Alister Hardy and now housed at the Religious Experience Research Centre (RERC) at the University of Wales, Lampeter.
Armella Nicolas (1606-1671) was a serving-maid who lived in France in the 17th century, who came to be held in high veneration in the Catholic church. She could not read or write, but told friends of her spiritual experiences, including one sister Jeanne de la Nativite, who wrote down her experiences. The following is one of her recorded experiences.
This morning I came across a quote in an excellent essay by Daniel Christian Wahl, frequently attributed to the renowned modern theoretical physicist Albert Einstein. Wahl did not misquote him, but it seems to be often misquoted when cited in full.
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was a noted poet, essayist, and journalist, perhaps best known for his collection of poems titled Leaves of Grass. He wrote of divine experiences on several occasions in his poems.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) is widely known as a great 19th century transcendentalist essayist, poet, philosopher, naturalist, and historian, among other things. He is most well-known for his book Walden, and his essay "Civil Disobedience." The following comes from his poem titled "Inspiration."
In 1979 she had an experience while giving a eulogy at the funeral of a friend that forever changed her life. She later called it a "near-death-like" experience, being similar to many NDEs (including one she had earlier in life), but she was not near death at all. She describes it in one place this way...
Sophia von Klingnau was a nun who lived in a convent in Klingnau, Switzerland, sometime in the 13th or 14th century. Her writings were published in the Schwesterbücher (Sister Books).
Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a Catholic writer, theologian, Trappist monk, and mystic. The following is from his book New Seeds of Contemplation, describing his experiences in contemplation...
Bill Wilson, the cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), had a spiritual awakening that involved bright light, sometimes referred to as his “hot flash” or “white light transformation.”