Issue link: http://digital.stanthonymessenger.org/i/174078
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
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
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
Q. Were there any key moments in your
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