Real Presence: In Search of the Earliest Icons

Sister Wendy Beckett

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Contemplating the icon, with faith and love, draws us out of our  material world and into that divine world to which we will only have full access after death. On this earth, we live in His kingdom, but in hope and faith, not in experience. These early icons with their pure desire to praise God draw us very strongly into this unseen reality.

In Encounters with God Sister Wendy Beckett traveled to remote churches and  monasteries to view the earliest icons of Mary. In Real Presence she resumes this journey to see additional early icons of Jesus and the saints- icons that are among the few to survive the wholesale destruction of icons in the early eigth 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 tim ecloser to that of Christ, when faith was still alive with wonder and possibilities, and these images, a vehicle for prayer, can truly convey his real presence.

Sister Wendy journeys to the heart of the great treasure-house of pre-Iconoclastic icons at Mt. Sinai to celebrate its unique historical and spiritual value, and to revela the spirituality and devotional practices of our ancestors. Prayerful and heartfelt, Real Presence offers everyone "a taste of the spiritual happiness that is there for the asking, for the seeking, for attention."

Sister Wendy Beckett became a nun at the age of 16, went on to live for nearly 20 years as a hermit, and then was exposed to the world in a successful television career as the 'art nun'. She is the author of over 20 books with art as the main theme. She continues to live a cloistered life, devoted to prayer.