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With humor and opinions aplenty, a woman embarks on an unconventional quest to see if she is meant to be a nun.
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, suddenly springs a marriage proposal on her. Determined not to let her monastic dreams be sidelined, Christmas puts her engagement on hold and embarks on an extraordinary year-long adventure to four convents - one in Canada and three in the UK. In these communities of cloistered nuns and monks, she shares - and at times chafes and rails against - the silent, simple existence she has sought all of her life. Christmas takes this spiritual quest seriously, but her story is full of the candid insights, humorous social faux pas, profane outbursts, and epiphanies that make her books so relatable and popular. And Then There Were Nuns offers a seldom-seen look inside modern cloistered life, and it is sure to ruffle more than a few starched collars among the ecclesiastical set.
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By AudioBook Reviewer on 07-05-16
takes the reader on the road with her
Discernment is a different animal than decision. Decision is to make a choice. Discernment is the process of making that choice. Sometimes the process is quick and simple; others it is protracted and painful. Jane Christmas’ takes the reader on the road with her when at age 57 she tries to discern if she is called to a religious life.
Jane is born and raised in Canada to a Roman Catholic mother and Anglican father. She is raised with a foot in both faiths. Her father, light years ahead of his generation, exposes her to many different faiths and teaches her to respect all people’s beliefs. As she grows up she chooses the Anglican Church as her home and raises her children Anglican.
There is a very interesting discussion about the weakness of the Anglican Church. It was started as the Church of England by Henry VIII when he broke away from Rome in his quest to marry Anne Boleyn. In England and its former territories it is known as the Anglican Church. In the United States it is the Episcopal Church. The weakness that the author points out is it is a religion governed by committee. There is not one central figure. The church’s beliefs have evolved to different principles in different areas. She also talks about how decisions are debated for decades before a vague statement is released which in turn is debated further. I found this peek into the Anglican world fascinating.
Jane visits several different groups, both Roman Catholic and Anglican, to try to discern whether she is being called to be a nun. I found it interested that she did not feel called to the priesthood since the Anglican Church does ordain women. Her discernment process involves cloistered groups and groups that work directly with the public.
All this would be a very straight forward story of “will she or will she not” become a nun except her life has anything but straightforward. She has been divorced twice, has grown children and accepted a marriage proposal shortly before embarking on her spiritual journey. The main challenge Jane deals with is not the obedience or poverty or even chastity expected of a nun. It is that the discernment process sheds light on a long buried traumatic event and Jane must deal with it in order to move forward.
Elizabeth Wiley does a fantastic job narrating. Her voice is clear and pleasant to listen to. She does a wonderful job of conveying Jane’s fear, uncertainty and curiosity. She also does a great job with the many accents involved, men and women both. The best part of Ms. Wiley’s narrating is that I really got a sense of who Jane is as a person. She seemed to have a little bit of mischievousness to her. I think I would enjoy having coffee and chocolate biscuits with her. The production quality was very good.
Audiobook was provided for review by the publisher.
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7 of 9 people found this review helpful
By Lahana Singer on 08-28-17
Monastic endeavors, fun with nuns!
Loved it. I myself plan to join an Orthodox Women's Monastery next year. This book helped me to think deeply about the monastic life and life in the world. Since befriending a couple of sisterhood's a few years ago, I should think many more women would take this path if they were aware of it.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Penelope Sword on 06-09-18
I enjoyed Jane’s open hearted frankness, passion and humour. Listening to Elizabeth narrate Jane’s memoir I often caught myself snorting with laughter or moved to tears by her sadness but always engaged. Wonderfully written and delightfully narrated.