Behind the jaunty flourishes of her stately-as-a-galleon performances on Strictly Come Dancing, Ann Widdecombe has been nursing a secret heartache - her beloved only brother, a retired Anglican priest, has been dying of cancer.
Last night, the former Tory minister was in mourning after her worst fears materialised.
Ann learned of her brother’s death while training with Anton Du Beke on Tuesday. Canon Malcolm Widdecombe passed away at his home in Bristol just two days after his sister had visited him.
But any fears from the producers of the show that Ann would pull out have been allayed. She is staying on, say friends - not least because Malcolm would have wanted her to.
I was also pleased to hear that Patsy Kensit, a favourite of mine from Holby City - and I also enjoyed her life story on "who do you think you are" - was sharing prayers with Ann. :) The Mail says:
Conservative Minister Ann Widdecombe and actress Patsy Kensit have developed an unlikely friendship on the set of Strictly Come Dancing.
The incongruous pair are said to have bonded over their shared Catholicism – so much so, they pray together before the start of each show to St Jude, the patron saint of lost causes.
Ann, 63, converted to Catholicism in protest at the ordination of female Anglican priests while Patsy’s mother, Margie, was a devout Catholic. After Margie’s death of breast cancer in 1994, Patsy, 42, often took her ashes to bed with her.
The women are said to have hit it off immediately – to the surprise of the crew and other contestants.
‘They got on really well from the off,’ a crew member told The Mail on Sunday. ‘Patsy really liked the way Ann was no-nonsense. When they first met, Ann told Patsy that she was coming out of her dress a bit and said she had told the producers she wasn’t wearing anything revealing. Patsy didn’t have the heart to say she was in her own clothes.’
Remember Oh Most Gracious, Virgin Mary! that never was it known that anyone who fled to Thy protection, implored thy help or sought Thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence I fly unto Thee, Oh Virgin of Virgins, my Mother! To the do I come, before you I cry, sinful and sorrowful. Oh Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions but in Thy Mercy hear and answer me!Amen.
Pope Benedict encourages everyone to have devotion to a particular saint, maybe our namesake.
The Holy Father said that it is important "to have 'travel companions' on the journey of our Christian life: I am thinking of a spiritual director, a confessor, persons with whom we can share the experience of faith, but I am also thinking of the Virgin Mary and of the saints."
"Each one," he said, "should have a saint that is familiar to him, to whom he feels close with prayer and intercession, but also to imitate him or her. Hence, I would like to invite you to know the saints better, beginning with the one whose name you bear, by reading his life, his writings. You can be certain that they will become good guides to love the Lord ever more and valid aids for your human and Christian growth."
Saint Joanna was one of the women associated with the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, often considered to be one of the disciples. In the Bible, she is one of …