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Author/Compiler: Tihomir Dimitrov (; also see


Nobel Prize: Sigrid Undset (1882–1949) was granted the 1928 Nobel Prize in Literature “principally for her powerful descriptions of Scandinavian life during the Middle Ages.” Undset donated the prize money to charity.

Nationality: Danish; later Norwegian citizen

Education: Schooling at Kalundborg (Denmark) and Christiania (now Oslo)

Occupation: Novelist and essayist


1. In her famous article “Catholic Propaganda” (February 28, 1927), Sigrid Undset wrote:

“There is no room in the Catholic Church for different concepts about the being of God or about the divine-human nature of Jesus Christ or about the motherhood of the Virgin Mary; because Christ himself is the way to God’s kingdom and because his death on the Cross is the secret which opens God’s kingdom to the descendants of Adam, his blood truly cleanses the sinner from all his sin, his body is truly the food which is the life of believers.” (Undset 1993, in Sigrid Undset: On Saints and Sinners. Proceedings of the Wethersfield Institute. Deal W. Hudson – Editor. Volume 6, pp. 232-272. Ignatius Press).

2. In the same article Sigrid Undset wrote about Jesus Christ:

“ ‘He came to his own, and his own did not receive him. But as many as received him, to them he gave power to be the children of God.’ This is the Catholic faith, that an act of the will on the part of man is unconditionally necessary before he can be saved.

By his will, man turned from God; with his will he turns back to him. God pours out his saving grace for us because of love alone and not because in the least measure we have deserved or earned it; the Catholic Church teaches nothing else.” (Undset 1993).

3. In her article “Finding Faith” Undset said: “When people stubbornly hold on to the hope that it is impossible to find any absolute truth, it is because they fancy that life would lose its excitement, would have no freedom, if there really existed one truth – one alone in which all other truths are contained. In this world we can only attain one kind of freedom, that which our Lord spoke of when he said: ‘The truth shall make you free.’ ” (Undset 1999, Vol. 13).

4. “Fear and hope drive the soul forward; they teach it to watch and pray and thus gain a growing knowledge of God – and as a consequence more and more to lose its egoistic concern for itself and to become unselfish, with adoring love for God: this is the fruit which the soul may bring forth at last.” (Undset 1993).

5. “Floating in the infinite personality of God, the human personality rests, an infinitesimal speck in infinity just as the earth is a speck in the part of the universe which our knowledge can comprehend. The earth, men, atoms, become almost equally small when measured against infinity – and each person is as complex as a planet or an atom.” (Undset 1993).

6. “Christianity explains – in unity with other religions – that the invisible infinity is God. He has created all things visible and invisible out of himself and all rests in him. By a special act he has created man in his image – in Catholic theology that means, as white light is broken up by a prism, God’s uncompounded being is broken into human properties.” (Undset 1993).

7. “For Catholics, grace is a medicine which sinners may ever inhale and bathe in, that they might grow up rightly – become saints, be perfect as their heavenly Father is perfect. Only when we are as good as God are we good enough.” (Undset 1993).

“However, there are probably only a few converts who are prepared to explain their own conversion, why their resistance to one who calls himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life, a resistance dictated by fear and mistrust, has been overcome. It does not happen without the cooperation of the mystical and supernatural power that theologians call grace.” (Undset 1999, Vol. 13).

8. “As is well known, no one can be received into the Church without basic instructions – it is not enough to have ‘everyone who wants to be saved, raise your hands’, as I have had the experience of hearing at a revival meeting. The Church does not receive capitulations who only join, after having been momentarily stirred either by intoxicating feelings or emotional worship services; she demands that the convert should know what she teaches and understand what she says. The convert has months, years if he will, to think things over before he takes the step.” (Undset 1993).

“We believe in complete seriousness that the peace of Christ cannot be advanced in the world unless we confess with Peter, literally and without interpretations: ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!’, and therefore, accept all His words as the word of God.” (Undset 1993).

9. “There is a kind of modern, confused deism, more or less Christian sounding, colored by a kind of Jesus worship that is not worship of God but of a hero. It is prepared all too willingly to enter into company with whatever kind of altruistically colored materialism, without understanding that the Christian and materialistic ideals are incommensurate, even when outwardly they look exactly alike.” (Undset 1993).

10. “By degrees my knowledge of history convinced me that the only thoroughly sane people, of our civilization at least, seemed to be those queer men and women the Catholic Church calls Saints. They seemed to know the true explanation of man’s undying hunger for happiness – his tragically insufficient love of peace, justice, and goodwill to his fellow men, his everlasting fall from grace. Now it occurred to me that there might possibly be some truth in the original Christianity.

But if you desire to know the truth about anything, you always run the risk of finding it. And in a way we do not want to find the Truth – we prefer to seek and keep our illusions.

But I had ventured too near the abode of truth in my researches about ‘God’s friends,’ as the Saints are called in the Old Norse texts of Catholic times. So I had to submit. And on the first of November, 1924, I was received into the Catholic Church.” (Undset, as cited in Grenier 1999).