Sister Christine Charlwood, 91
I was 23 when I became a nun, in 1951. The convent I was sent to had 20 nuns, with an average age of 33. Those were very different times: communities nowadays are much smaller and live in accommodation suited to the circumstances, in groups of two, three or four, in houses or flats.
We no longer wear a habit but dress in the original purple of our order, St Augustine. But the tradition is the same: we hold together in prayer and activity. The glue is praying together: morning, midday, evening and night.
There are four of us in our community: Iâ€™m the eldest and the youngest is 45. Jess and I have known each other for years, but we hadnâ€™t lived together until three years ago. Weâ€™ve got a lot in common. We both love poetry, and we tend to be on the same wavelength.
Sister Jessica Gatty, 80
We live in a lovely, spacious house with a big garden and I do sometimes think: whereâ€™s the poverty in this? But poverty is also about sharing. We invite students from the university nearby to have meals with us once a week, and we are careful not to waste food. We are very ecologically aware â€“ we have solar panels.
There is a rota for cooking and we try to eat supper together every evening. We all have roles outside the community â€“ weâ€™re trustees of charities, for example, and one member teaches English to a Syrian family â€“ but we try to be more than ships in the night. Christine and I are very keen on current affairs: weâ€™re glued to the evening news. Our conversations tend not to be frivolous, but weâ€™re not too serious. We make sure we have fun as well.
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