QUIRKY WORLD ... Aspiring nun has her debt prayers answered

US: An aspiring nun who was told she couldn’t enter a convent until her student loan debt was paid off has used an online appeal to get the money.

Alida Taylor, 28, was accepted to join the Sisters of Life in New York City in September.

The Clifton, New Jersey, woman started a GoFundMe page late last month, hoping to get $12,000 (€10,870) to pay down her student loans. She surpassed her goal, raising more than $22,000.

In an update on the crowdfunding page, Taylor said the extra money will be used for a vocation fund for Casa Guadalupe, a house of prayer and discernment for Catholic women, where Taylor is currently staying.

Taylor told WCBS in New York that “the Lord when it’s his will, he always provides, and I just trust him.”

Officials say most Catholic religious orders ask people to delay applications until they have repaid debt.

“Religious life is a full-time job, so to speak, so she wouldn’t be able to work and enter into religious life,” said Sr Mariae Agnus Dei, noting that nuns with the Sisters of Life have no salary or stipend.

When Twitter goes bad

Britain:

A “mean” comment on Twitter reduced The Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain to tears. The 31-year-old received a barrage of anti-Islamic abuse on Twitter and had to have a police presence at her home after winning the BBC programme last year.

In an interview with the Daily Express S Magazine, Hussain said the last time she cried was when she “read a mean tweet”.

She added that if she could pass a law she “would give all Twitter trolls Asbos”.

Hussain, who baked Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday cake, said the most poignant moment of her life was winning The Great Bake Off last year.

Hotting up

US:

Some holders of electronic benefits transfer cards find that dialing the phone number on the back of the cards gets them a sex line, not their balances.

A Maine Department of Health and Human Services spokesman told the Sun Journal that officials have been aware for months that the phone number on some cards is off by one digit.

Lj Langelier, of Lewiston, discovered the error this week when he went to check his EBT balance before going to the grocery store. What he got instead was a message welcoming him to “America’s hottest talk line.”

Langelier says he thought he’d misdialed, but kept getting the same message when he called back. The department plans to replace the misprinted cards and strengthen its review process to prevent future errors.

Never too old?

Britain:

A 91-year-old pilot had to be rescued after crashing a microlight into an oak tree. The plane became stuck in the tree about 15ft above the ground in a field near Lingfield Road, Edenbridge, Kent, just after 3pm on Saturday.

Fire crews used lines, ladders and a winch to secure the microlight before attempting to extract the elderly pilot from the aircraft. The pilot was eventually released and assessed by paramedics by 5.20pm, a spokesman for Kent Fire and Rescue Service said.

Freud no fake

Britain:

The BBC says it has identified an early Lucian Freud painting worth at least £300,000 (€360,000), despite the artist’s own denials that it was his work.

Fake Or Fortune, presented by Fiona Bruce and art historian Philip Mould on BBC One, has attributed the painting to the acclaimed portrait artist who died in 2011.

Bruce said: “Freud is a colossus of 20th-century modern art, and challenging his word was something we undertook with some trepidation.”

London-based designer Jon Turner inherited the work from two artist friends, who told him it was an early portrait painted by Freud when he was at art school in 1939. The subject is a man in a black cravat.

Experts at auction house Christie’s identified it as a painting by Freud in 1985, but the artist denied it was his work.

However, Bruce and Mould had a breakthrough when they spoke to the artist’s former solicitor, who found a note in her files of a phone conversation with Freud about the painting.

During that phonecall in 2006, Freud apparently said he had started the painting, but it had been completed by someone else. For this reason, he would not acknowledge it as his own work.

But when experts analysed techniques and materials used in the painting, they declared that it was the work of a single artist.

A panel of three Freud experts said they believed the painting was by the artist himself, likely from 1939.

Mould, who valued the painting at £300,000 or more, said: “It was a novel and gargantuan task to overturn the reported views of the artist.

“It was different from anything we’d taken on until now — we had never had to arm-wrestle with the words of an artist beyond the grave.

“It was all the more frustrating as the more I worked on the picture and Fiona was able to add the background with her enquiries, the more I felt confident about it being entirely by Freud.”


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