St. Anthony Messenger

October 2013

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Author Alicia von Stamwitz traveled to Norfolk, England, to talk with Sister Wendy. Here the two of them are seen on the grounds of the Carmelite Cloister at Quidenham, where Sister Wendy lives. PHOTO © ANA ARELLANO and writing essays for British magazines. It was her writing, explains Sister Wendy, that prompted an observant young researcher to suggest her name to the BBC. The rest, as they say, is history. These days, Sister Wendy spends the majority of each day in prayer, beginning at 1 a.m., "when the world is silent and the owls pray with me." Shortly before 8 a.m., she walks or rides her electric scooter to the community chapel for daily Eucharist. Despite her fame, few know Sister Wendy's spiritual story. That's the way she wanted it—until now. "I've come out of the closet," she said recently. "I'm unashamedly Catholic. And that's what I'm talking about now." Our interview with Sister Wendy took place on a Friday morning immediately after the 8 a.m. Mass, in the parlor of the Quidenham Carmelite monastery. Q. Tell us about your decision to begin speaking about your faith more openly. A. When I started doing the television programs, I wanted to show people who knew nothing about God that if they responded to beauty, they were responding to God. But I didn't want to use words that would make them feel that this was only for religious. I didn't use Christian paintings, and I didn't 24 ❘ October 2013 use religious language, so as not to alienate atheists who would've said, "Oh, this is not for me." I thought that if people haven't got the joy of knowing our blessed Lord, maybe they can get somewhere into his brightness by looking at art. Now I feel I no longer have to speak anonymously. I don't have to hide in the closet and speak as though I am just a disembodied voice. I'm speaking now as a Catholic nun explicitly about the things that are my world, my real life. I'm talking only about religious art and religious topics, and I'm speaking primarily to Catholics and to Christians who accept the sacraments. Q. Were there any key moments in your spiritual journey? A. There weren't any internal key moments, I think, except perhaps when I was a very small child. I must've been about 4 when I became aware of the constant presence of God and of what God wasn't. He was all love and care, and I knew I had nothing ever to fear because God was there. So you could call that a key moment. I woke up to the fact that we're not our own; we're living in God's world. Perhaps another key moment was when I was 7 and I made my first holy Communion. I had gotten it into my head—or perhaps SisSt A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o r g

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