The Expression of Longing
"Art, like prayer, is always the expression of longing," Sister Wendy Beckett once wrote. She has a knack for discerning the transcendent beauty of paintings ranging from the realistic portraits of the Renaissance to the ambiguities of modern art. There is no one else around who can as easily and perceptively ponder the spiritual dimensions of art.

An Extraordinary Guide to Art
Sister Wendy Beckett is an English hermit and art expert. In the 1990s she was featured in a BBC documentary series on art history. Beckett entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in1946 and graduated from Oxford University in 1953. She now lives in a Carmelite monastery where she leads a life of solitude and prayer, allotting two hours of work each day to earn her living.

Scenes from the Life of Mary, the Mother of Jesus

  • Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once said that the infallible sign of the presence God is joy. Beckett finds this joy in The Nativity of Christ where Mary's face is radiant with joy.
  • In the painting Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, Mary is a witness bowed in prayer.
  • Other scenes from the life of Mary include the birth of Mary, the Annunciation, the wedding at Cana, the passion and death of Jesus, and the ascension.