Her sincerity is radiant. (The New York Review of Books)
About the Author
Born and raised in England, Sister Wendy Beckett entered the Roman Catholic order of the Sisters of Notre Dame at the age of 16. After her novitiate, she graduated with highest honors from Oxford University. Utilizing her degree in English literature, she moved to South Africa to become a teacher and, later, university lecturer. She was Reverend Mother of her convent when she was stricken with epilepsy. Granting her wish to lead a less hectic life, her order allowed Sister Wendy to return to England to live in seclusion under the protection of the Carmelite Order. From her cloister, Sister Wendy led a life of contemplation and prayer, taking on translation projects to pay the bills. After completing a five-volume collection of translated medieval Latin sermons, she asked to study art with the idea of producing a book which would help bring in some money to the Order. She began her study with library books and postcards of art works donated by various museums, eventually publishing a book of art history. A BBC producer stumbled across her writing and thought her "bizarre wit and contemplative insights" would come across well on television. She was invited to be the art critic for a documentary on London's National Gallery. In Sister Wendy's words, "...from that wretched book, it was downhill all the way." Sister Wendy's Odyssey proved to be a smash hit. There followed a journey to Europe's finest galleries in Sister Wendy's Grand Tour. Finally, her magnum opus, Sister Wendy's Story of Painting, and her companion art book caused a sensation on both sides of the Atlantic. She has since written more than a dozen books on art, prayer, love, and meditation. Sister Wendy currently lives in a trailer on the grounds of a Carmelite monastery in Norfolk, England, where she continues to live a secluded and disciplined life of prayer and contemplation in which art plays a major role.