For a real treat, if you haven't seen it already, watch this video. It proves beyond all doubt that you can't judge a book by its cover. Susan Boyle, a 47-year-old unemployed single woman from central Scotland, has become internationally known as a result of her appearance on Britain's Got Talent.
What surprised me is that this story has appeared on a number of Catholic news agencies. Here is that of CiNews from Ireland, based to some extent on an interview with her parish priest, Fr Basil Clark. Knock, in the west of Ireland, is where our Blessed Mother appeared in 1879.
Overnight sensation has sung many times in Knock
Monday, April 20th, 2009
Just before Easter a quiet woman from a small village in Scotland - a devout Catholic and long-term member of the church choir - came to London to sing in a competition, stating that her dream was to be like Elaine Paige.
When she came on the stage the audience snickered and the judges of Britain's Got Talent either rolled their eyes or allowed their blank expressions to betray their bemused scepticism.
When Susan Boyle began to sing I Dreamed a Dream, from the musical Les Miserables, they were spellbound and shocked by the beauty of her voice and rose to their feet in applause.
Back in Scotland Fr Basil Clark, who watched the show on television at his home in Broxburn, was not surprised.
He had seen the situation unfold many times before, having regularly accompanied Susan, 47, on the annual Legion of Mary pilgrimage to the Marian shrine in Knock, Ireland.
'When I watched the judges' faces it reminded me of what I was like when I first saw Susan singing - absolutely blown away by the quality of the singing and by that fantastic voice,' said Fr Clark.
'Anyone who sees her for the first time behaves the same way. I have never heard her sing badly, though she might lose the words if the stress gets too much,' he told the Catholic News Service.
Fr Clark said, 'When she gets up to sing it can either be wonderful or you can get the unpredictable eccentric behaviour, but it is to do with the fact that she has learning difficulties.'
He said that local people who knew her, the youngest of nine children of a family descended from Irish migrants, were 'enormously proud of her and wish her the best but they are aware of the risks she is running', adding that her behaviour has previously drawn cruel taunts from children.
'People are slightly worried about what might happen after this bout of fame,' he explained.
'I am quite worried for her,' he added. 'I think it's great at one level. It might just be the thing that will make her, but she is a very vulnerable person and it could be quite difficult.
'It is a great opportunity for her and as far as I am concerned she should make the best of it, and if it lasts, it lasts, and if it doesn't, then it's still more than almost any one of us will ever achieve," he added. "It is important in sustaining her and making sure this is all a very, very beneficial experience.'
He described Susan as 'a woman of great faith' who was often 'very gentle and very caring' .
Part of her attraction is that she appears to be such an unlikely candidate for stardom. She said on TV that she has 'never been kissed' and has lived alone with her cat since her mother died in 2007.
She received a standing ovation at her parish’s Easter Sunday Mass.
Her fame spread on the Internet, and in just a week she had attracted more than 26 million YouTube viewings of her rendition of I Dreamed a Dream.