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The Lives of Nuns: A Reading List

Emily Perper | Longreads | October 26, 2014 | words

What is it like inside the convent walls? Here are five pieces explore the lives of nuns and those inspired by their works.

Posted inNonfiction, Reading List

The Lives of Nuns: A Reading List

Life inside the cloister is fascinating. Poverty, silence, chastity, obedience: these are not characteristics most of us would devote our lives to. These women find freedom in strictures and structure. What is it like inside the convent walls? Here are five pieces explore the lives of nuns and those inspired by their works.

Life inside the cloister is fascinating. Poverty, silence, chastity, obedience: these are not characteristics most of us would devote our lives to. These women find freedom in strictures and structure. What is it like inside the convent walls? Here are five pieces explore the lives of nuns and those inspired by their works.

1. “The Secret Life of Nuns.” (Alex Mar, Oxford American, August 2013)

Alex Mar moves into a Dominican order in Houston: “I traveled here, arriving just yesterday on an early flight, to answer a question that I’ve had for years: Why would a woman make the very specific choice to marry God? […] Why would she choose to live with his many brides and very little privacy and pooled resources; to abandon any and all romantic partners, along with the possibility of ever again touching someone else’s naked body; to set aside every personal need and closely held ambition in favor of the needs of others? I wanted to understand who this woman was—call her a nun or a sisteror a woman religious—and why I’ve harbored a fantasy about her since I was a young girl.”

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