How we live together: the nuns – The Guardian



The glue is praying together – morning, midday, evening and night






Sister Jessica, left, and Sister Christine at home.






Sister Jessica, left, and Sister Christine: ‘We try to eat supper together every evening.’
Photograph: Karen Robinson/The Guardian

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: I’m the eldest and the youngest is 45. Jess and I have known each other for years, but we hadn’t lived together until three years ago. We’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: where’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 – 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 – we’re trustees of charities, for example, and one member teaches English to a Syrian family – but we try to be more than ships in the night. Christine and I are very keen on current affairs: we’re glued to the evening news. Our conversations tend not to be frivolous, but we’re not too serious. We make sure we have fun as well.

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Source: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jun/15/how-we-live-together-nuns

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