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.
When her long-time beau finally proposed to Christmas, her desire to accept his marriage proposal was complicated by a competing desire to explore a long-standing call to give her life to God through service as a nun. With clever wit and humor, as well as honest insight and candor, Christmas (Incontinent on the Continent) shares the details of her attempt to discern whether she has the dedication, discipline, perseverance, introspection, contemplative capability and spirit needed for a cloistered life. She seeks direction by registering as an aspirant in four different convents over a period of 18 months. Taking the plunge at an Anglican convent in Toronto, she then moves on to three Catholic communities in the U.K., including the exquisite 17th century Quarr Abbey monastery on the Isle of Wight. While participating in the nuns and monks' routines celebrating "the offices," cooking and cleaning, spending hours in quiet contemplation, scripture reading, reflection and prayer she struggles to stay focused, to maintain a contemplative state of mind, and to free herself from ever-intruding worldly thoughts and distractions. In the silence and simplicity of those hallowed halls, she challenges her self-perception, her personal issues and her demons well enough to see who she is and where she really belongs.