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A life of prayer, silence, space and time.

"I don't have an output; I don't produce a widget," said Sister Victoria, one of the community of eight sisters at the Society of the Sacred Cross, the Anglican convent at Ty Mawr near Monmouth. There are no production targets here; instead the sisters are committed to the contemplative life - a daily round of services and silent prayer starting early in the morning and ending last thing at night with Compline. Although this is an enclosed order, the community feels connected to the outside world through prayer. But life at Ty Mawr is no cosy sinecure. As Mary Stallard discovers, this is a busy community with much else to do during the day, be it washing up, gardening or studying and reading.

During the programme we hear from all the sisters about the way of life they have chosen. We visit the chapel - the focal point for their communal worship and private prayer. We visit the garden - from where much of the produce for lunch is taken; a meal that's eaten in silence. We hear hymns and canticles sung to traditional plainchant. Sister Gillian Mary SSC reads some of her poetry taken from 'Tides of the Spirit' published by the convent.

9/11 and being a Welsh Muslim

As we mark twenty years since the 9/11 terror attacks: tragic events which changed the world, and continue to affect us today, Azim Ahmed explores the legacy of this event from the perspective of the Muslim community here in Wales.

Twenty years ago, British Muslims found themselves at the centre of extra scrutiny: there were questions about whether the politics of the hijackers were shared by Muslims here in Wales and whether the Twin Tower attacks were the beginning of an inevitable clash of civilisations between East and West.

There was also an increase in hostility and Islamophobia, as Muslims became a suspect community. We hear from members of the Muslim community who experienced this prejudice.

This crisis also led to positive change, with new initiatives, organisations, and an appetite for greater understanding between communities and religions. We hear how this inter-faith dialogue led to the foundation of the 'Wales Faith Communities Forum' which thrives today, and the foundation of the 'Muslim Council for Wales' to unify the faith community.

9/11 and the export of Western values

The shocking events of 9/11 took place 20 years ago this week, and this is the first of a number of BBC Radio Wales programmes marking the anniversary.

One of the responses to the ideology espoused by the 9/11 terrorists has been an attempt to export Western values, particularly those of democracy and human rights. But that’s just the latest episode in a long historical process: whether through the Cold War of the 20th century, or through the missionary activity of colonial nations in the 19th century and earlier, there’s been a belief that Western Judeo-Christian values and systems offer something uniquely important to the world – indeed that it’s a responsibility to share them.

So what do today’s peacekeepers and aid workers have in common with historical colonialists and missionaries? What’s been learned from past mistakes? And since the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, and President Biden’s declaration of an end to American nation-building, what’s left for the idea of Western values?

Roy Jenkins talks to

Colonel Richard Kemp: former commander of UK forces in Afghan
Dr John Wilsey: Associate Professor of Church History and Philosophy, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Prof Andrew May: Head of the History Program at the University of Melbourne
Dr Elaine Storkey: former chair of Tear Fund

3 episodes