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And Then There Were Nuns: Adventures in a Cloistered Life

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  808 ratings  ·  176 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-p ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 9th 2013 by Greystone Books (first published May 14th 2013)
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Joy D
Non-fiction account of the author’s spiritual journey to determine whether she would become a nun. I have always been curious about why a person is drawn to become a nun, how they live, and what their daily routine is like. This book answers those questions and does so with a large dose of self-deprecating humor. It also involves making peace with a past trauma in her life and explores the role of spirituality in the modern world. It takes the reader behind the scenes into four monastic communit ...more
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
This book describes the adventures of a 50-something lady (twice divorced, mother of three and at the time engaged soon to be married) who, following a sudden calling, decided to enter the religious orders. I chose the book because I was interested to see how an outsider would cope with the doctrine and constraints of the different religious institutes (Anglican and Roman Catholic).

Predictably, obedience would prove to be a tough one as well as monotony, conformity and humility. Along her spiri
Biblio Files (takingadayoff)
Sep 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library_books
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
Melissa McShane
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Maybe more like 4.5 stars? (I'm weaseling more often these days.) This book about a woman who, just as her boyfriend proposes marriage, has been considering life as a nun is remarkably honest in its examination of the faith-driven life. I enjoyed the different communities she took part in and was deeply moved by her discoveries about herself and her faith--though what she refers to as the "Voice Within" I would call the Holy Spirit. I carefully didn't skip to the end to discover which path she'd ...more
Aug 31, 2014 rated it did not like it
Lengthy Review Ahead...

Disclaimer: As a Catholic woman who has considered religious life, I do have some skin in the game, so to speak.

In short: I wish this book had not morphed into a rape memoir studded with I-know-better-than-anyone-else feminist soapbox chatter.

The Good:
I enjoyed getting to know a bit more about the Anglican faith from the author's perspective. I have never attended an Anglican church, and honestly, was surprised they had their own orders of religious. I can tell you, whi
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, memoir, non-fiction
“Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” G. K. Chesterton.

What might a wantabee-nun have to say to us normal people? A lot, and not all of it about faith or religious institutions. An honest, introspective foray into the contemplative life in the twenty-first century by a woman of the world. A good starting point for a lay person wondering how the other half--no, not half; a vanishingly small percent--lives and worships.

“You don’t rewrite Shakespeare’s sonnets to make
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this book in one sitting because it was engaging, and because I find people's spiritual journeys interesting. Parts of it annoyed me. There was a definite air of, "OMG, Christians are being SO VERY PERSECUTED" woven in the tales of how some people responded with scorn to her religious beliefs instead of lifting them up as something worthy of praise. That isn't persecution: that is secular society being as bold with their disinterest in religion as Christians have been in their arrogance t ...more
Jan 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Being an “I am definitely not nun material” Episcopalian, I was fascinated to peek behind the curtain and get a glimpse of present-day convents and monasteries (usually I’m reading historical fiction set in that time period). No less engrossing was Christmas’s spiritual journey. I admire her for taking the time to listen and thoroughly explore the religious life before making her final decision.
Jan 05, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Sandy Hall
I received this book as an early read via NetGalley. Overall, I'd say I liked this book. It was interesting to have an inside view of daily life in a convent and I learned about the Anglican Church, a subject I knew absolutely zero about. I couldn't really warm up to the author, she felt immature and very prone to naval gazing at the cost of her closest relationships. A good storyteller though, even if the "main character" in the story wasn’t someone I cared for all that much. If I knew someone ...more
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
Joy Llewellyn
Dec 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
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. ...more
Ann Solomon
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Samantha  Panther
Apr 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
As a favor to her friend Elias, Bed and Breakfast owner Bea Cartwright has agreed to help the ten nuns staying on retreat at Water's Edge Center for Spirit and Renewal. She thinks that will simply mean preparing meals and maybe running a few errands for the nuns, but when two nuns are murdered and there are attempts to kill other nuns, Bea soon finds herself involved in a murder investigation - an investigation that puts her life in real danger.

“And Then There Were Nuns” is the fourth book in Ky
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
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
Chuck Erion
May 26, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
"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
Sheila Mclean
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Ms. Littell
Jul 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
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
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
I want to be Jane Christmas when I grow 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 she really meant to live the life of religious service. But, then again, there is the
Lorry Chwazik
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"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
Feb 08, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Teri Stich
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
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Play Book Tag: And Then There Were Nuns by Jane Christmas - 4 stars 12 26 Apr 10, 2019 12:33PM  

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