Sister Wendy Beckett
She was born in South Africa and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland. She became a nun in 1946 in the order of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. She was sent to England to begin her novitiate and studied at St Anne’s College at Oxford, where she was awarded a Congratulatory First. Outside of her academic studies, she lived in a convent that maintained a strict code of silence.
After attending a teacher’s training college in Liverpool and earning a teaching diploma in 1954, she returned to South Africa to teach at the University of the Witwatersrand. Health problems in 1970 forced her to abandon teaching and return to England to live in the grounds of a Carmelite monastery. She spent many years translating Medieval Latin scripts before deciding to pursue her favourite subject of art in 1980.
Obtaining papal permission for her to become a Consecrated Virgin in 1970, Sister Wendy’s order arranged for her to live under the protection of the Carmelite nuns at their monastery at Quidenham, Norfolk, in the east of England. She leads a contemplative lifestyle, and currently lives in a caravan on the grounds. Besides receiving the Carmelite prioress and a nun who brings her provisions, she dedicates her life solely to monastic solitude and prayer, but allows herself two hours of work per day.
In 2007, Sister Wendy gave her blessing to Postcards From God, a new West End musical penned loosely around the events in her life.
She was caricatured by the character ‘Sister Bendy’ in the television show Eurotrash.