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Amidst all the excesses, all the celebrating, all the extravagance of the last couple of weeks, there was one amazing voice.
I am thinking of an elderly hermit who lived a life of solitude and austerity in an old leaky caravan.
Sister Wendy was a nun who had renounced the world and all its pleasures to live a life of complete and total commitment to God.
However Sister Wendy, the self effacing nun who lived in poverty, unexpectedly became a TV celebrity.
She was living a hermit’s life in a windowless trailer at an English monastery, praying for hours upon hours and venturing outside only for Mass and to get books from a mobile library.
That is until producer Nicholas Rossiter persuaded Sister Wendy to talk about the paintings in Britain’s National Gallery for a 1991 BBC documentary. She and Moving Art were an instant hit.
Her 1997 series, Sister Wendy’s Story of Painting, took her 30,000 miles through Europe, the Middle East and the U.S. to talk about works ranging from prehistoric cave paintings to Picasso and Pop Art.
Recently she said of her frugal and faith filled life, ‘I give thanks for my life of such unimaginable happiness’.
Sister Wendy has just died at the age of eighty-eight, and in her poverty, the riches she had of faith and contentment, were all she needed for her own fulfillment.
It again reminds us that the real gifts in life are beyond price – the gifts of love, of friendship, of health, of children. These are the greatest treasures we can ever have.
These are the gifts I wish for you in this coming year.