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If Nuns Ruled the World: Ten Sisters on a Mission

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  738 ratings  ·  134 reviews
Veteran reporter Jo Piazza profiles ten extraordinary nuns and the causes to which they have dedicated their lives—from an eighty-three-year-old Ironman champion to a sassy campaigner for equal wealth distribution

Meet Sister Simone Campbell, who traversed the United States challenging a Republican budget that threatened to severely undermine the well-being of poor American
Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 2nd 2014 by Open Road Media
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Robyn Ellis
Sep 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I was listening to a talk given by Catholic apologist Peter Kreeft, and in the questions segment a member of the audience argued that all of his talk boiled down to "love the sinner, hate the sin", which was just empty lip service. Kreeft didn't disagree, but admitted that he wasn't sure how he'd feel if someone told him that they "loved Catholics but hated Catholicism." Reading Piazza's book made me feel like I've experienced exactly that.

Piazza admits right off the bat that she isn't religiou
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am not Catholic, nor have I attend church since I was in college. But I do believe and I have faith. It hurts my heart when I hear faith and God given as a reason for hate, discrimination and violence. This book gave me hope that the power and the strength of belief and faith in God is being championed by these remarkable women. These nuns are amazing the way that they follow God to be of help and minister to those that are cast aside. They often do this with opposition from the Church they do ...more
Oct 19, 2014 rated it liked it
This was an interesting collection of biographical profiles, and there was a lot to admire and aspire to here. But all the way through, it felt like there was something missing. It could just be the amount of time spent on each subject-it's a short book that covers the lives of ten different nuns, so none of them gets more than about 20 pages.
I also felt the author at times dipped into the dishy style of what she probably uses when she writes about celebrities, telling us how pretty the nuns ar
Aug 26, 2018 rated it liked it
First off, I had the closeted idea that nuns work in covenants and volunteer for the poor through the medium of church programs.... but apparently they don't do just that! They get math PhD's from Ivy league schools, stage protests against nuclear weapons, create innovative women's programs and go to law school to help immigrant workers settle in the US. Who knew they are more than the image society has deemed them to be as virgins for life, abstaining from the deemed sources of happiness and be ...more
Brother Sophia
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I knew this book was going to shake me. I often like to read stories of people working in the world to help give focus to my own living and activism. However, I was blown away by the commitment each sister is giving her all to make the world a better place. It is not all sunshine and roses for these women who like to get their hands dirty in the real world. I was particularly moved by one nun's story of her torture and what suffering she saw in the same torture pit, and how she is channeling her ...more
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate enough to stumble across this gem and cannot recommend it enough. I would like to send a thank you to author Jo Piazza for introducing me to ten amazing and accomplished individuals who happen to be women who happen to be nuns. Fantastic!
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The ten nuns about whom Jo Piazza writes have answered the call to be forces of good in the world. Like many religious who took their vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in the 1950s and 60s, most of these ten began their religious lives teaching students in Catholic schools around America. Incidentally, two were Sisters of Mercy in my home town of Erie, Pennsylvania. All tried to live their lives so that others would know God through them.

Later, each of these sisters’ lives became radicall
Mary D'Alto
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is VERY well written - not in the literary prose sense, but in the "sit down and have a cup of tea and read" sort of way, which requires its own literary magic to accomplish. It takes the reader by the hand and helps them see that women who choose a different path are complex, and fearless. One would think the concept is well accepted at this juncture in Time but I think when it comes to nuns there is still the image of rolling hills and laughter, and lots of prayer, something this boo ...more
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: empower, ladiez, religion
I love badass nuns.
Jun 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Here, Jo Piazza presents the stories of 10 amazing, trail blazing nuns, (a chapter per nun); however, I was disappointed in the writing and felt it didn't do their work justice.

Overuse of the word eschew, which stood out, because it's a rather odd word. Maybe use it once or twice, but, I don't know, 3 or 4 times, all bunched up toward the beginning of the book was excessive. Piazza comes across as somewhat starstruck by the "badass" (another word used repetitively) nuns which interfered with th
Apr 17, 2016 rated it did not like it
If nuns ruled the world more like if [American] nuns ruled the world. For the most part all the sisters in this book cam out of the 'progressive' hippie era. Their stories talk about them advocating for reform, women priests, loosening up on the definition of marriage, women's rights on contraceptives & abortions.
This book was recommended based on my 'to-read' shelf; when I saw it I was excited and thought it would be really good.
Firstly (this is retroactive) why couldn't she have talked about
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Jo Piazza ("Celebrity Inc.," "Love Rehab") has written long and well about the glamorous and the wealthy (and the intersection between the two). The former gossip columnist has turned her eye on a seemingly-anti-glamorous contingent, modern-day nuns. "If Nuns Rule the World" may not be a scholastic tome or academic treatise, and it may come across as skin-deep heroine-worship, but Piazza has undeniably selected ten wonderful case studies of the benefits of a purpose-driven life.

INRtW is a light,
Faith in humanity restored. That might be a bit much. Faith in some humans restored, desperate sadness about the world at wide still present, but hope and love and faith that there are people committed to being the change they want to see in the world, even if it means defying the patriarchal church they both love and disagree with.

These are badass women who could each have had a whole biography written about them. Much like the author I have little faith in religious institutions, I believe in
Mar 14, 2017 rated it liked it
I love women religious - & so I was very interested in this book. I am glad I read it, but so many times I was frustrated by Jo Piazza, & then increasingly with some of the Sisters she profiled. Poverty, chastity, & obedience are the vows religious brothers & sisters take, yet some of these sisters (not all!) have forgotten their vow of obedience.

There is a lot to be learned about humility & obedience by reading the stories of those who struggle with both, and to have them paralleled with storie
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed 'meeting' the ten nuns profiled in this book. They are passionate, faithful, determined, often funny women who are making a significant impact on the world because of their faith -- a faith they very often describe in terms of having compassion and justice as cornerstones.

What struck me most was the way that being part of the institution of holy orders both supported and challenged them. Most of them have acted with the financial and social support of their Orders, which has helped to
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Ten inspiring essays by a self professed agnostic author about Catholic nuns who have dedicated their lives to various causes including human trafficking, women's rights and environmentalism. Whether or not you agree with their politics on some of these causes the thing you can't deny is their hard work and passion many times risking their lives to achieve a more humane world. Each vignette develops the biography, successes and failures of these ten remarkable women. We should all be so passion ...more
Cindie Harp
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
this book was such a gem -- each story was so inspiring, not just the cause each woman espoused, but her indefatigable march toward alleviating the suffering caused by torture, formerly incarcerated mothers, gender inequality in the church, LGTB community in church and society, early AIDS and HIV patient rights, and the injustice to poor and working poor families caused by legislation and proposed legislation in the 2012 Presidential campaign. (The opening story about the alliterative" Nuns On t ...more
Nov 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
So many inspiring stories of Sisters helping others - providing safe houses for trafficked women, providing homes and jobs for formerly-incarcerated women, confronting corporate greed, and so much more. I couldn't put this book down. There is a big tradition, especially amongst the Women Religious in the Catholic church, of social justice and peace activism. I have some new charities I'll be giving money to this Christmas. ...more
Sep 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Come meet 10 of the most courageous, energetic and inspirational women alive today. These women are relentless in fighting for justice, equality, mercy, compassion etc... Each one of them has made such an incredible contribution to humanity. I bow in total awe. The Vatican has tried to silence them, threaten and intimidate them but just like the energizer bunny, they stay on mission. Loved every one if these amazing women. Yes, I can only imagine a world run by the likes of these.
Dec 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Sweet and inspiring collection: ten short portraits of badass feminist nuns. I have been sold on the awesomeness of nuns since reading my beloved Lesbian Nuns: Breaking Silence. This one felt more like dishy (tho obvs admiring) magazine articles, but it was certainly effective at communicating its argument that nuns are amazing women doing incredible work in the world. I am completely convinced. ...more
Jo Ann
Mar 10, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this would be a fun and playful book. Instead it was like the author picked outlier nuns (did they even follow their order?) to prove nuns are activists. It felt bitter and the author often talked about having a lack of the "God gene" which is why studying nuns didn't influence her spirituality. I abandoned it. ...more
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
These sisters are fierce, brilliant, and courageous. Growing up with an aunt who was a Nun in a family full of strong, Catholic women, I loved reading the stories of how these women of the church are standing for political justice, gender equality, progress, and CHANGE.
A series of short profiles of nuns who don't fit the traditional picture. Most of the women profiled in this book work for social justice in various ways. The exception was one who competes in marathons, triathlons, and Ironman competitions. ...more
Jun 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading the profiles of these 10 Sisters. I have zero experience with nuns so it was eye-opening to learn these inspirational real-life stories. If nuns ruled the world, I truly believe it would be a better place. I believe in nuns.
Jo Ann Curry
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Loved the story of these nuns in saving lives and the struggles they had to go through. Each had a
difference story and the fact that they are true stories that still go on everyday in our world.
Cara Meredith
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating read and even more fascinating because it comes from a non-Christian perspective. To the nuns!
James Hutton
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
In her book, If Nuns Ruled the World: Ten Sisters on a Mission, Jo Piazza profiles ten nuns and the causes to which they have dedicated their lives. Her primary goal is to show how badass nuns are, and spends about twenty pages on each woman’s story to do so. In a sense, she succeeds. Some of the women are indeed very impressive. Sister Joan Dawber rescues victims of human trafficking and sex slaves. Sister Dianna Mae Ortiz works with those who survive torture. Both of these women do incredible ...more
Grazyna Nawrocka
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this book, and I am going to quote piece that I enjoyed the most:
"At age eighty-two, Sister Madonna Buder was the oldest athlete, male or female, to ever successfully complete an Ironman triathlon." What a fascinating person! Oh, how I envy her!

Quite contrary to the assumption one would make on the basis of title, the women describe in this book break out of Catholic Church beliefs and dogmas. What makes me so uneasy, is that although I disagree with their ideas, from the point o
Leanne Hunt
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Lexi
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writer draws lively and detailed profiles of ten extraordinary nuns , making for riveting reading. The style is easy to follow and the settings vivid. I was thoroughly inspired by the courage and hard work of each of the women in their various campaigns for peace and justice. These are women who could indeed make an incredible difference if they ruled the world. While the book has been criticised by some readers for being anti-Catholic, I didn't find it negati ...more
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Jo Piazza is an award-winning journalist, editor, digital content strategist and author.

Her latest book, How to be Married will be released by Penguin Random House in April 2017.

Her novel, The Knockoff, became an instant international bestseller in May 2015 and has been translated into 13 languages.

She has written and reported for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Daily News, the New York Time

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