Emilia Fogelklou

Emilia Fogelklou (1878-1972) was a Swedish mystic, theologian, psychologist of religion, educator, writer, peace worker and Quaker. She was the inspiration for a 6-week online retreat, offered by Woodbrooke in February of 2018. In this post, the retreat leader, Julia Ryberg, explains her life and work.

Emilia Fogelklou Woodbrooke

Emilia Fogelklou was the first Swedish woman to earn a degree in theology in 1909. Her account of a foundational spiritual opening in her early twenties has become an often cited inspirational text among Quakers and non-Quakers alike. Her writings include an autobiographical trilogy, psychological portraits of among others George Fox and James Nayler, religious education for children, studies on perception/form/radiance. Her rich life story, spanning two world wars, remains the subject of biographies and doctoral dissertations.

Emilia’s bright blue eyes seemed to penetrate the one she beheld. One Friend said she was ’too big for Sweden Yearly Meeting’, while she saw herself as ’the entirely most common person.’ She remains loved and ’owned’ by Quakers and non-Quakers who have never met her. She speaks to us still.


Julia Ryberg is an American-born Quaker living in Sweden. She works for Friends in Sweden and more widely in Europe in ministry and outreach. In September, she will run a six week online retreat, Living the Heart of Christianity, based on the work of Marcus J. Borg.

More articles

A hand with leaves in the wind

Reshaping our understanding of Quaker community

Jon Martin discusses why we should talk more about being Quaker and how important it is to be open to change in our Quaker communities. This is a talk originally…

Read Article
Meet the Eva Koch Scholars Woodbrooke

Meet the Eva Koch Scholars

 The 2021 Eva Koch Scholars share their topic and why it’s important to Quakers today. Alfred Wasike What are you exploring in your Eva Koch scholarship? I am exploring ways…

Read Article
What Does Deification Mean? Woodbrooke

What Does Deification Mean?

Stuart Masters explores the concept of deification from a Quaker perspective. The experience of deification, the idea that the divine nature can be revealed in human lives, was really important…

Read Article

sign up to our newsletter

You can download our latest brochure here, or why not sign up to receive our regular newsletters? We’ll share with you the latest updates from Woodbrooke, blogs, videos, new courses, and other opportunities.