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Sister Wendy leads us on a "pilgrimage of desire" to view the earliest surviving icons of Mary.
"These early images of Mary seem to me to have the power to shock us out of our complacency, to make us look anew at what the birth of Jesus meant, and means..."
In this story of discovery and spiritual adventure, Sister Wendy Beckett, a contemplative nun and beloved art commentator, travels from England, to Rome, to Ukraine, and finally to a remote monastery in Sinai, to view the earliest icons of Mary. These are among the few that survived the wholesale destruction of icons in the early eighth century. In contrast with the familiar and magnificent icons of later history, these early icons have a haunting simplicity and unfamiliar spiritual power. They come to us from a time much closer to that of Christ, when faith was still alive with wonder, and possibilities were infinite.
In the course of her pilgrimage, Sister Wendy also reviews the history of Christian art, the meaning and function of icons, and shares her thoughts on the relation between beauty, prayer, and the search for God. In her quest for these ancient icons, she feels that she has encountered something greater than an image: "I have called it an encounter with God, because that is truly what it was for me, and what I hope it will be for you, too."
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About the Author
Sister Wendy Beckett, lives on the grounds of the Carmelite monastery at Quidenham, in Norfolk, England. She became well known in the 1990s through a series of BBC documentaries on the history of art. Since then she has written many bestselling books on art and spirituality including Real Presence, Spiritual Letters, and Sister Wendy's Bible Treasury.