”She was so loved, and so damaged,” Sister Wendy intoned gravely as her hands, like hummingbirds, fluttered toward the wound. ”Love’s a dangerous thing.
-From Sister Wendy, Cloistered, New York Times. Sept. 30, 1997.
PBS has been rerunning old Sister Wendy Beckett episodes (she’s a nun who had a show in the 90’s where she interpreted art) and I recently watched one where she talked the heck out of a Rembrandt painting called The Jewish Bride.
"This is a much older couple," Sister Wendy said in her breathy lisp. "Notice he’s placing something around her, and she puts her hand up to signify, ‘I accept, I give up my freedom for you and you for me. We are bound to each other. It’s almost like Rembrandt captures the whole concept of marriage using just the one image."
Not bad for a woman who’s only been married to Jesus.
Sister Wendy will be 84 in February and I thought it might be nice to send her a letter. That is, until I came across a New York Times article from 2007 with the headline: Sister Wendy Beckett: ‘Don’t write to me - my time is for God’
Well, all right then.
"My time is for god," the hermit nun said. "I’ve no time for gardening or letter-writing, the usual let-outs for those who are alone."
I thought letter-writing and gardening would be the perks of nun-dom, but perhaps only for the transcendentalist nun. Then again, the word “alone” is an interesting word choice coming from a woman who’s been syndicated on PBS.
But then again, again, maybe praying is just another word for stillness, for listening to the quiet in one’s head instead of being always so eager to fill it with outside noise and distraction.
And if that’s the case, then hats off Sister Wendy. May 84 bring you inner peace and tranquility, with none of that gardening business to muck it all up.
And, if god allows, a new PBS series.