An open heart

God "made hearts one by one"
Cloistered monks and nuns rarely make headlines, especially if they are paragons of the hidden life, but the recent passing of Dame Felicitas Corrigan of Stanbrook Abbey near Worcester, at age 95, has caused a stir in the British press. There is something to captivate even a secular society in the story of a contemplative nun who became famous for her 15 elegant and idiosyncratic books, her musical compositions and her celebrated friendships.

When Piers Paul Read wrote the authorized biography of Sir Alec Guinness, he knew he’d find the key to the actor’s complicated inner life somewhere in the 832 letters that Guinness wrote to Dame Felicitas, his cloistered confidante. The poet Siegfried Sassoon insisted that the account of his religious journey be written by Dame Felicitas or not written at all.


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