Flannery O’Connor and the Summa

Flannery O’Connor, the great twentieth-century novelist, was known to have read St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica for at least 15 minutes each night. That helps explain how her macabre stories became so drenched in Thomistic virtue and Catholic sensibility. In one of her personal letters, she revealed, albeit tongue in cheek, how deeply St. Thomas had penetrated her thought:

“I couldn’t make any judgment on the Summa, except to say this: I read it every night before I go to bed. If my mother were to come in during the process and say, “Turn off that light. It’s late,” I with lifted finger and broad, bland, beatific expression, would reply, “On the contrary, I answer that the light, being eternal and limitless, cannot be turned off. Shut your eyes,” or some such thing. In any case I feel I can personally guarantee that St. Thomas loved God because for the life of me I cannot help loving St. Thomas.”
Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being