Nuns: A History of Convent Life by Silvia Evangelisti - review by Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

Superior Sisters

Nuns: A History of Convent Life


Oxford University Press 304pp £17.99

The life of a nun – in comparison to that of a wife – has many advantages. No cooking and cleaning; no skivvying at the kitchen sink or schlepping around the supermarket; none of the boring and interminable chores of running a household, starting with making lists, day after day after day, of what must be done. (I have left instructions for an inscription to be put on my grave: ‘She is at rest – she will never again push a trolley around Sainsbury’s.’) 

The nun, by contrast, holds sacred the idea of vocation – the calling, as dictated by talents, which, as the New Testament story tells us, we must never bury. The nun may be a contemplative, but she may also be an intellectual; a musician; a mathematician; an artist; a writer;

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