Who’s the Most Famous Person You’ve Ever Met?

Greetings y’all!  It seems ages since I checked in – and I suppose it is.  Anyway, I have been tasked with writing a piece for the local newspaper and decided that I’d share it here:

Many years ago, in another life, I worked in a theatre Box Office.  During my time there I met some very well-known, (dare I say it?), famous creative people.  You’ll be pleased to know that I’m not going to burden you with a whole host of name dropping, but suffice it to say I can lay claim to having stepped on the tail of one of Harry Potter’s darker teachers and that one of the film world’s brightest stars played a practical joke on me, when he was a student at the Theatre School.  Other than that, my lips are sealed.

I was thinking of this time recently when someone asked me who is the most famous person you ever met?Hmmn, not sure why the ‘famous’ bit is important, but I’ll give it a go, or so I thought.

It’s hard to differentiate when you have such an august back catalogue, so I decided instead to mention the most famous person I’ve met who has had an impact on my life and thinking, and that is Sr. Helen Prejean. Yes, I have met her – at a conference in London. Now Sr Helen is no film star; she doesn’t wear the latest designer fashion or show up in the tabloids on a regular basis.  I’m sure the order to which she belongs would have something to say about that if she did.

This is what she looks like:

In case the name eludes you, Sr Helen is a nun and she wrote the book, “Dead Man Walking,” which led to the film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn.  Sr Helen has spent many years campaigning against the death penalty in her native Louisiana.  Her assertion is every human being is worth more ‘than the worst thing they’ve done.’ She has journeyed alongside some of the most disturbed and violent men on Angola’s, (the big prison in Louisiana), Death Row, and her work has led her into many difficult situations that would, undoubtedly have stalled a less tenacious person.  However, another of Sr. Helen’s sayings is that “When you follow Jesus Christ, then controversy will follow you ‘round like a hungry dog.” And that is something I can personally attest to – although I’ve never been faced with the viciousness that she has.   Sr. Helen is not the most glamorous or even famous person I’ve met, but her life and words have informed my own life in a way that no one else has. One, interesting thing, at least interesting to me, is that when I was working at the Open Door Community in Atlanta, GA, I discovered that Sr. Helen had actually written some of her book there.  It seems we have friends in common too.

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2 thoughts on “Who’s the Most Famous Person You’ve Ever Met?

  1. toraspanda says:

    That’s really interesting Siân! I can’t say I’ve met anyone remotely well-known who has had that sort of impact on my life. I did have the privilege of shaking hands with Sir Yehudi Menuhin, when he canme to give a concert at the ancient Cathedral of Valère in Sion (which has the oldest playable organ in the world, incidentally – there’s a festival every summer, and famous organists come to play on it). Anyway, Sir Yehudi was of course not playing the organ – but before moving and enchanting us with his violin, he stood at the door and greeted everybody as they came in!
    I’ve also beaten a Cardinal at table tennis 😀 At the time he was merely Bishop,Henri Schwéry of Sion and former headmaster of the boys’ college across the road, and he came to one of our open days.. I have to say that he was not a very good loser!
    And just for fun, I was in a friend’s car in Trafalgar Square once, and Sir Donald Wolfitt lurched into the road right in front of us. Luckily my friend managed to brake in time, and the distinguished Thespian leaned his hand on the bonnet and gave us a puzzled look before wandering off across the road. I don’t know if he was ill, or had been “dining” as they say. He was already quite old at the time.
    I missed meeting my operatic idol Victoria de los Angeles at a concert in Helsinki, because the friend I was with wouldn’t go and talk to the British Council representative, whom she disliked. When I saw him the next day and mentioned I’d been at the concert, he said: “Oh what a shame – if I’d known, I’d have introduced you to the singer!” Grr.
    Many other people, not at all well-known, have had a great influence on my life. I have been so fortunate in my friends – and still am!
    Oh, and I forgot Archbishop Paavali, head of the Orthodox Church of Finland when I was over there. I gave him Englkish lessons, and helped him write to people like the Archbisjhop of Canterbury, Archbishop Makarios – and also to lesser lights in the church. I was quietly amused to see that, when ending a letter to an equal, he wrote “Your loving brother in Christ” – but when he was ticking off some erring monk, he would end: “Your humble brother in Christ”” He gave me a book called The Way of the Ascetics – whilch I still have somewhere!
    Love
    Patricia xxx

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