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Sister Wendy Beckett

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 16 December 2012

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the nun, writer and broadcaster Sister Wendy Beckett.

For over 40 years she's lived the life of a hermit, rising every day at midnight to spend seven hours praying. Her home is a caravan in the grounds of a Carmelite Monastery where she spends her days in silence - speaking only once a day to the nun charged with delivering her daily food rations of skimmed milk, cold cooked vegetables and two rice crackers.

Her self-imposed isolation has only been broken by the - frankly rather unlikely - occurrence of a television career. She is the nun who knows about art and her passionate and pithy critiques of the world's great works and hidden treasures have won her many devoted fans.

With decades of solitude and prayer under her belt she seems, unlike nearly every other guest, to be perfectly cut out for a stretch alone on a desert island.

She says "It's my apostolic duty to talk about art. If you don't know about God, art is the only thing that can set you free".

Producer: Christine Pawlowsky.

Music Played

8 items
  • Image for Frédéric Chopin

    Frédéric Chopin Polonaise in A Major Op. 40 No 1

    Performer: Vladimir Ashkenazy

    Favourite Chopin Vladimir Ashkenazy, DECCA

  • Image for Thomas Hampson

    Thomas Hampson Beautiful Dreamer

    Composer: Stephen Foster

    American Dreamer songs of Stephen Foster Thomas Hampson, Angel

  • Image for Voces

    Voces Regina Coeli

    Cantor: Tony Yates Director: Martyn Warren

    Easter Praise: Gregorian Chant, The Sunday Times Music Collection

  • Favourite Track

    • Image for Franz Schubert

      Franz Schubert Serenade

      Performer: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Gerald Moore

      Schubert: Schwanengesang, EMI Classics

  • Image for Johannes Brahms

    Johannes Brahms Lullaby

    Performer: Martin Jones

    Martin Jones: “Dished up for Piano” Volume Two, NIMBUS

  • Image for Voces

    Voces Pange Lingua Gloriosi

    Cantor: Tony Yates Director: Martyn Warren

    Easter Praise: Gregorian Chant, The Sunday Times Music Collection

  • Image for Giuseppe Verdi

    Giuseppe Verdi Ai nostri monti (from Il trovatore)

    Performer: Placido Domingo and Dolora Zajick

    Il Trovatore, Sony Classical

  • Image for Franz Schubert

    Franz Schubert Du bist die Ruh

    Performer: Bryn Terfel

    Bryn Terfel (Baritone): An Die Musik, Deutsche Grammophon

Credits

Presenter
Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest
Wendy Beckett

Broadcasts

Podcasts

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