‘And Then There Were Nuns’ by Jane Christmas

And Then There Were NunsstarstarstarJane Christmas is a Canadian humour, memoir, and travel writer who has written three other books, also with interesting titles like this one. In ‘Nuns’ she focuses on her adventures into the cloistered life. Christmas writes books about personal transformation (in this case also spiritual) and self-discovery. It’s sort of like ‘Eat Pray Love’ with more substance. This is the first book of hers that I have read, but I would say she is like a cross between Elizabeth Gilbert and Bill Bryson. This thoughtful journey includes a lot of interesting stuff  about convents, monasteries, and nuns and takes her to Yorkshire (Whitby & York) and the Isle of Wight. She also shares honestly about an unresolved trauma whose memory surfaced in the imposed silence she endured, and needed to be dealt with.

After her second divorce and just as she is engaged to be married once again, Jane decides to fulfill a lifelong yearning to enter a convent and road-test being a nun. Her fiancé actually becomes the ‘saint’ in the story, as he lets her go for a year and a half to sort herself out and get this out of her system, knowing full well she may never return. In a peripatetic fashion she visits four different religious communities on two continents, submitting herself to the rules and responsibilities in each. Her account is a respectful irreverent look at the life of modern day nuns and the monastic life.

These are her other books:

The Pelee Project: One Woman’s Escape from Urban Madness is about what happens when an exhausted single working mother leaves her life of 24-hour grocery stores, 12-hour work days, three-hour commutes, and retreats to a tiny Canadian island.

What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim: A Mid-Life Misadventure on Spain’s Camino de Santiago de Compostela is about her 50th birthday celebration walking the gruelling pilgrimage in Spain. Somehow she finds herself leading fourteen squabbling middle-aged women, until she inadvertently loses them and sets out on her own. That is when her real adventure begins, as she battles loneliness, hunger, and exhaustion.

Incontinent on the Continent: My Mother, Her Walker and Our Grand Tour of Italy is about a trip to Europe with her arthritic, incontinent, and domineering mother. Historically a fraught relationship, the trip was meant to smooth over five decades of constant clashing.

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