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Sr. Mary Frances Dorschell

Mary Frances DorshellSr. Mary Frances Dorschell

Division of Arts and Humanities
Department of Modern Languages
Department Coordinator
Office: BR 218
Telephone: 519 432 8353 ext 28290

Academic Background

  • B.A., Latin & History, University of Western Ontario
  • Certificate of Honours' Standing in French Language and Literature
  • Ontario Secondary School Teacher's Certificate, University of Toronto
  • M.A., French, University of Western Ontario
  • Ph.D., French, University of Western Ontario
  • M.A., Spanish, Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City

Research and Scholarly Interests

My area of research is Christian Spirituality in late 19th and early 20th century French Literature. I am especially interested in the fictional works of Georges Bernanos whom another French author declared to be the "greatest novelist of his time." Through the numerous characters in his fictional world, Bernanos illustrates humanity's need of God in the midst of a society that is becoming more and more dehumanized and materialistic. How is Christian Spirituality present in Bernanos' work? Though many of his novels have priests as heroes, Bernanos was particularly interested in the universal priesthood of all baptized Christians. How do his characters live out their call to universal priesthood? How is joy present in the midst of their suffering? Bernanos was deeply influenced by Carmelite Spirituality. His work shows he was especialy infuenced by the life and writings of Thérèse of Lisieux, "the greatest saint of Modern Times." Her writings in themselves offer an interesting study of how literary themes and techniques can be used as a vehicle for transmitting spirituality.

At present, I am examining the concept of "joy" in two of Bernanos' novels.


  • French 1910E
  • French 2600E
  • French 3265B
  • French 3602F/G
  • French 3720F/G
  • French 3560F/G
  • French 3692F/G

Representative Publications

  • Dorschell, Mary Frances Catherine. Georges Bernanos' Debt to Thérèse of Lisieux. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen University Press, 1996.
  • Mentors and Protégés: Spiritual Evolution in Georges Bernanos' Under Satan's Sun and The Diary of a Country Priest. Christianity and Literature Volume 52, Number 1, (Autumn 2002): 3-22.
  • "Thérèse of Lisieux: Story of a Soul". Encyclopedia of Catholic Literature. Vol.2 Ed. Mary R. Reichardt. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2004 703-713.
  • "Georges Bernanos:The Vocation of the Christian Writer." Christianity and Literature Volume 55, Number 3, (Spring 2006) 315-331.
  • "Thérèse de Lisieux and Alphonse de Lamartine: The Spiritual Transformation of Romanticism." Christianity and Literature Volume 58, Issue (Spring 2009): 403-427.

Community Links

  • Translation of articles on Carmelite Spirituality for the national journal of the Canadian English-speaking Secular Carmelites.
  • Organizer of a Volunteer Placement Program with local schools for students studying French who wish to become teachers.
  • Reviewer of articles, translations, and books for publishers and scholarly journals.