And Then There Were Nuns

And Then There Were Nuns

Adventures in A Cloistered Life

Book - 2013
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Just as Jane Christmas decides to enter a convent in mid-life to find out whether she is "nun material", her long-term partner Colin springs a marriage proposal on her. Determined not to let her monastic dreams be sidelined, Christmas embarks on a year long adventure to four convents-- one in Canada and three in the UK. In these communities of cloistered nuns and monks, she revels in--and at times chafes against-- the silent, simple existence she has sought off of her life.
Publisher: Vancouver : Greystone Books, [2013]
ISBN: 9781553657996
1553657993
Branch Call Number: 255.983 CHRISTM
BX5185.A1 C47 2013
Characteristics: 292 pages ; 22 cm

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w
wiredonjava
Nov 18, 2016

Funny lady tells all. If you ever wondered what life was like inside of a convent.

ontherideau Aug 03, 2016

This is an author who can bring you into personal reflection or provoke laughter. Keep in mind one of the convents is in Whitby, England, home to Dracula, and maybe one of the few places to buy a toilet brush with Dracula's head as the handle.
And Then There Were Nuns is a journey in which you might meet yourself or recognize others, a heartfelt, humorous travelogue.

p
plaing
Apr 13, 2015

I loved this book. it was honest, entertaining, funny, sad, educational, insightful, and provocative. i agree with Jane on her observations of church, religion and spirituality and the difficulty of women's roles within the hierarchy. her struggle with rape was moving and such i can relate to personally. A
Brave Book...thank you for writing it.

b
bananaquit
Apr 12, 2015

In a word, honest in describing her experiences

m
minnow67
Feb 27, 2015

I had been hoping to read another book by Jane Christmas and this one is another incredible story told with humour, sincerity and love.

e
egw145
Nov 27, 2014

An excellent read

Wolfespearl Sep 26, 2014

I've long followed Jane's life stories and enjoyed reading all of them. In this one, Jane finds herself at a crossroads and seeks to find which direction she should go. In the process of her searching a long-buried issue surfaces and Jane is finally able to work through it.

mavalibrary Jun 26, 2014

I finished recently reading this story and I certainly would like to recommend it. Why? Because regardless of age, gender and any religious affiliations, the story was for me about a person's journey to look for that special place where s/he will "...fit, where you feel authentic and comfortable". I would like to take the opportunity to recommend all the other books written by Jane Christmas. "Travel" with her to Pelee Island, Italy and on the Camino of Spain. Looking forward to her next book.

l
lynnie2005
Dec 03, 2013

Listened to an interview with Sheila Rogers on The Next Chapter

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melwyk Nov 28, 2013

There comes a time for many of us when the thought of joining a convent or a monastery sounds like a great idea. Peace and quiet, we think, leaving the rat race to focus on the inner life, how wonderful! This book reveals what happened when Canadian writer Jane Christmas, newly engaged but also wanting to explore her lifelong urging toward the contemplative life, tested out this idea for real.
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At the same time that her longtime English partner finally proposes, she is looking into steps toward becoming a nun. So she and her fiancé decide that they will delay their engagement, giving her a year to live in four different convents and examine her possible calling. She admits it's an unusual situation.
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Christmas is a wonderful writer, entertaining, funny, self-deprecating and yet not cynical or worried about stating her spiritual affinities. She starts her year living first with the Sisters of St. John the Divine in Toronto, at a special program for “Women at a Crossroads”. Through them she makes connections with an Anglican convent in Whitby, England, where she plans to spend 3 months -- and yes, there are Anglican nuns! In between she spends a week each as a guest at an English monastery and Catholic convent. Her experiences at each location are varying, some good, some not very good at all. But she sees things, notices details, and works hard to discern if this life is the one for her or not.
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Through depictions of individual sisters, Christmas illuminates the life of modern nuns. She is able to report on her experience wryly and with humour, but without any mean edge to her tale. She is drawn to this lifestyle and respects nearly all of those who chose it. It's not only about her personal experiences though; she fills the narrative with facts about church history and church architecture, or, for example, a very interesting point about church music: when Vatican II discouraged traditional chanting, monks and nuns started getting sick more often. The daily chant was a healthy physical practice that was necessary for their wellness.
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While acknowledging the draw of a quiet, cloistered life, Christmas also reveals the reality of the rigid schedule and hard work that makes up a nun's life. As she shares the daily round of the various places she stays, it is clear that to become a nun one would have to be utterly committed. She is able to describe her fascination with this life lovingly and without any ironic detachment. It's a fresh eye on a kind of spirituality that is often mocked or treated superficially. This book is a quick, absorbing read that will appeal to those curious about nuns beyond our cultural cliches, or those interested in the wider search for a spiritual life.

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