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And Then There Were Nuns: Adventures in a Cloistered Life
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And Then There Were Nuns: Adventures in a Cloistered Life

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  299 ratings  ·  84 reviews
Bestselling author Jane Christmas decides to enter a convent to discern whether she is, as she puts it, ""nun material."" But just as she convinces herself to take the plunge, her long-term partner, Colin, surprises her with a marriage proposal. Determined not to let her monastic dreams get sidelined, Christmas puts her engagement aside and embarks on an extraordinary year ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 9th 2013 by Greystone Books (first published May 14th 2013)
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John
I liked the author's books on Spain and Italy, but wasn't sure about this one. However, when I ventured up into the Seattle Public Library's stacks to get a specific book, and this one was on the same shelf, I decided that a sign to check it out.

I had heard of Anglican nuns previously, so (as a lapsed Episcopalian) was interested in learning more. Christmas gets along so well with the Canadian order she visits that it's arranged for her to make a longer stay with their English counterparts. For
...more
Biblio Files
Although I've read three other books by Jane Christmas, and liked them all, I was reluctant to start this one. Religion is a big part of Christmas' life, but hasn't been a major part of her books. Even her book about walking the Camino Santiago de Compostela, a popular pilgrim route, was less about religion and more about accomplishing a goal, doing something challenging and different, the people she met along the way.

Still, a book about her decision to become a nun or not to become a nun seeme
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Damaskcat
Jane Christmas – two ex-husbands, late fifties, grown up children, newly engaged – decides that she must find out whether she actually does have a vocation to be a nun. Fortunately her fiancé understands her dilemma and agrees to wait eighteen months to see whether she really does want to be a nun or not. This book is the result of that eighteen months exploration of her spiritual and emotional life.

Written in a conversational style which made me often think she was sitting next to me telling he
...more
Catherine
You don’t have to be religious to enjoy Christmas’s memoir. She’s a wonderful storyteller, taking her reader through her mid-life journey of self-discovery. Most of her stories take place over several months when she stays with four different religious orders in England, where she embarks upon an in-depth exploration on whether she should move forward with becoming a nun. She opens up and reveals her experiences and emotions, trying to figure out if she’s really cut out for the sacrifice that go ...more
Morgana
Interesting. The author, an Anglican woman in her 50s, decides that she may have a vocation as a nun, and sets out to discern whether this is in fact the case by spending time living in 4 convents. I found the author and the tone a bit puzzling - an odd mix of what seemed to be very sincere statements about the power of prayer and the experience of visions, spiritual reflection, and so on, mixed in with a Sophie Kinsella-like jollity that suggested it was all a super-hilarious lark by our kooky ...more
Ms. Littell
I can now read ebooks and thought I'd give the library overdrive app a try. This book was available; I'm not quite sure what made me check it out, but I'm glad I did. The author explores the idea of becoming a nun. Her parents were Catholic and Anglican respectively; both traditions have nuns although the author is not what I would call traditional. She explores both sides and reflects on her experiences. It is exploratory, but the book takes a different direction as she reflects on a horrific p ...more
Leslie
I want to be Jane Christmas when I grow up......to be fearless enough to step away from my everyday life and seek out the answers to the questions that rumble around in my brain. This is my 3rd 'ride a-long' with Jane book - a year on a secluded island and a trek on the Camino and now....convents and monasteries....
This time, Jane is putting to rest a question that has haunted her since she was a teenager....is she really meant to live the life of religious service. But, then again, there is the
...more
Ann Solomon
My brother sent me this hilarious and poignant memoir and I highly recommend it to anyone on the internal or spiritual journey, even if you are not religious. Many laugh-out-loud lines and comic images, yet Christmas also goes deep in confronting the answers she is running from as well as seeking.
Stephen
When Jane Christmas' boyfriend proposed to her, she gave him the most obvious reply: she said she wanted to join a nunnery. It wasn't that he had driven her to the cloister; she had been tempted by it for most of her life, but it wasn't until her beau was down on bended knee that she realized it was now or never. And so she spent the better part of a year living in monastic communities, with nuns and monks alike, in Canada and in Britain, while her extraordinarily long-suffering fiance kept in c ...more
Joyce Thierry
This is the second Jane Christmas narrative non-fiction book I have read and both are favourites of mine that I recommend regularly. If you enjoy tagging along on someone's personal journey and both laughing and learning as you go, then this woman's books are for you.
Sam Boarder
I always wanted to be a nun when I was younger and although I wouldn't now I still find the idea really appealing and loved reading Jane's account of her time spent in various Convents in England.
Chuck Erion
And Then There Were Nuns (Greystone $19.95) is by Jane Christmas, a travel writer who at midlife thinks she wants to be an Anglican nun. (You’re not alone if you think that nuns are only Catholic.) But she’s also twice divorced and yet engaged to a Brit. She starts her year-long quest at the Sisterhood of St John the Divine in Toronto, and then travels to a monastery and two convents in England. The book traces her struggle to fit into the almost antisocial strictures of convent life. Gregorian ...more
Lorry Chwazik
"Faith is not for sissies," asserts Christmas as she contemplates her year and a half-long experiences living in Anglican and RC convents and monasteries in Canada and Great Britain. Indeed not, especially when you embark on your quest in your mid-50s and your boyfriend has just proposed marriage. The author writes movingly of her pilgrimage to find her true vocation, and of the communities that inspire, bore, insult, and terrify her in the quest to lose ego and gain God. I'll definitely be look ...more
Barb
Jan 14, 2014 Barb rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
This book wasn't entirely what I was expecting (the word "adventures" makes me think of funny things) but it some ways it was so much more than what I expected. And yes, there were some pretty funny stories in there too.

The author is at a crossroads -- does she marry the man she has been dating for a while (she has been ready to marry him for quite a long time but he has now finally proposed) or does she listen to her inner voice that says "be a nun." The book is her journey through this decisio
...more
Jo
Jane Christmas received a midlife desire to exploring a calling as an Anglican nun. And Then There Were Nuns is a memoir of her exploration. How she deals with her very understanding fiancé, her children, a traumatic event in her past, and her spiritual, religious, and practical questions – both big and small – makes for an absorbing read. Told with humor, honesty, and deep feeling, Jane’s spiritual quest will resonate with everyone who has ever wondered how they can best serve their God. I high ...more
Liralen
My fiancé is driving me to a nunnery (85).

In And Then There Were Nuns, Christmas finds herself in a midlife crisis of sorts: does she get married again—or become a nun? Unable to shake the idea of joining a convent, she sets off to explore the possibility, ultimately spending time with nuns and monks in a handful of places. Along the way, she is forced to confront a difficult piece of her past.

Now, if you make it past page 3 or so, it should be clear which path Christmas chooses,* but at the tim
...more
Julie
I read a review for this book a few months ago and was intrigued by the premise: a woman in her fifties hears the call of God and decides to consider, really consider becoming a nun. Add on to that that she has grown children, two divorces behind her, and is considering getting married for the third time, and it was too salacious to pass up. It didn't live up to my expectations, but at the same time it is a worthwhile read. First, Christmas has a background in journalism, so the hard facts she p ...more
Carina
"Instead of fighting back, which is what I should have done with every ounce of my being, I cultivated a posture of confidence and humor to cover up my weak spots and to convince myself that I was a-ok. It takes work to maintain that strong, impermeable exterior. That armor of invincibility that I had forged so skillfully as self-protection had kept at bay those who might have helped me. At the time, I didn't want anyone's help: I was afraid they would think less of me.
Ah, that old, deadly sin
...more
Deb
Although I am not a Christian, I have always been fascinated by the idea of nuns and monks...people who have totally dedicated their lives to God.

Jane Christmas has always wondered if she had a vocation, so she spends a considerable amount of time in various nunneries (and even a monastery) to see whether or not she is cut out to be a religious. To make things more interesting, she's been married twice before, has children, and is trying to decide between a third marriage or becoming a nun. I'll
...more
Sheila Mclean
When the author chooses to give a genuine, insightful narrative of her thought processes and experiences in discerning whether she truly had a calling to the life of a religious, the book is marvelous. She unfortunately also employs a cutesy, almost childish way of excusing what she perceives as her shortcomings which is cloying after a while. And then there is a Big Reveal about a life event many years in the past which is allegedly the secret reason for her behavior. I happen to have had a lif ...more
Anne  Matasci
My first impression was that this would be a light-hearted, rather humorous chronicle of mid-life entry into a convent. While it is humorous and there are some absolute laugh-out-loud moments, this is a thought provoking journal of one woman's spiritual journey. Jane is twice married, twice divorced, in a serious relationship and at the peak of her career when she decides it is now or never - she wants to heed the small voice that has been urging her to consider religious life for most of her li ...more
Maggie
I have been curious always of the lifestyle of being a nun and was able to find out exactly how that might look by opening the pages of this great book. I could identify with her longing for that sense of peace that she was looking for and thought that this life choice would in fact manifest exactly that. Loved the book, great read and her humour in sharing her experiences was delightful!
Eva Antonel
I love's this author's voice as well as her drive to be true to herself regardless of the consequences. I will recommend this book to anyone who has felt the tug of an unexplored path in life. I look forward to reading Jane Christmas' other books.
Atlantis
I went back and forth with this book. I loved it, I hated it and so I think i'm settling with I liked it. This is a real story written as a memoir. I appreciated the historical back ground that Christmas wrote about and I realize that it is difficult to put yourself out there on paper relaying a really emotional/physical process of whether or not to become a nun. I also really appreciated her humor. But however candidly Christmas writes there were definitely times where I would say "Hey wait a s ...more
Marilyn
I enjoyed reading AND THEN THERE WERE NUNS. Author Jane Christmas decided to enter the convent at a rather inconvenient time, just before her longtime love presents her with an engagement ring. Talk about a quandary. That alone reined me in, set to read this book!

But she'd been drawn to the religious life for what seemed like forever and had to find out if it was her thing. So her patient fiancé is put on hold while she checks out convents in the U.S. and in England. An interesting year-long adv
...more
Teri Stich
This book struck a chord in me, I guess because there have been many times in my life the thought of being cloistered had true appeal. It is very well written and she touches on many issues of the cloistered life as well as her reasons for looking into it. I was a bit annoyed when she admits besides “thinking” she had the calling, she also was researching for a book. Well, she is a writer so that really shouldn’t have been a surprise but did make me question whether she really did feel called. A ...more
Kathleen
Jane Christmas doesn't have a wimpy bone in her body. She goes in where angels fear to tread, breaks all the rules, and still is flummoxed whether she should remarry for the third time, or accept a religious vocation in a convent. Though she has grown children, and a good life in Canada, this idea has been with her for years, and she spends eighteen months exploring several possible places. She interjects humor and poignant moments, where she is near tears. A true feminist. You don't need to bel ...more
Sheila
I've read her other books and enjoyed them all. This is a humourous story of Jane's attempt to find where she fits in society. Is she an elastic monastic (her term) or does she belong in her role as mother, wife, writer in society? SDhe tells of her epxeriences visiting several orders in the Uk in order to find her position inlife. She describes the differences between catholic and Anglican orders. Catholics make decisions, Anglicans wander over the point and rely on public opinion to make decis ...more
John
This charming book details the mid-life, post-divorce, pre-marriage (!) peregrinations of Jane Christmas, formerly of Toronto and now of the UK, who tries to decide, before she marries again, whether she ought to become a nun instead. Of catholic Anglican identity and sensibilities, this memoir takes her (and us) through several communities in Canada and Britain as she struggles with the concept of vocation, the realities of convent life, the shadows of her past, the prospects of her future, and ...more
Vanessa Shields
I met Jane Christmas when her first book, 'The Pelee Project' came out. I had the honour of interviewing her - and from the instant we met, I knew we'd be friends for life. That's the kinda gal she is! Over the years, I've read all her books, but this one in particular held me in a different way. All of Jane's memoirs are entertaining. Her biting wit and honest voice is clear and commendable. This 'voice' was alive and well in 'And Then There Were Nuns', but her inner-strength really shone throu ...more
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“It is the quintessential story about perseverance but also about our humanness. We tend to regard ourselves as super-human, but the moment we detect a flaw we crash and lose confidence. We'd rather die than admit failure. Yet God compels us to dust ourselves off and fight another day. Like he does with James Bond.” 0 likes
“The next morning after finishing my interviews, I found myself with some time to kill before the bus arrived to return me to Whitby.

The term "time to kill" suddenly sounded awfully harsh.

Was "time to waste" better? No, "waste" is so un-Benedictine.

"Time to spend"? Too much of a material ring.

"Time to bum around?" Yes, it had just the right balance of self-effacement and no fixed address. Like Jesus.”
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