There are two sorts of nuns: those you see and those you don’t. Some are visibly busy doing good; but what about those you don’t see? Three classic CTS texts are combined in this explanatory title.
In Contemplative Nuns: are they wasting their lives?, Maria Boulding, a highly-respected spiritual writer and translator, gave her testimony as contemplative nun, in a way both eloquent and forceful. The second text Why Enclosed Nuns? written by Bruno Webb a generation earlier is more theoretical, though written with a robust sense of the reality of enclosed life. The third text written by Jean Daniélou as Nuns – what is special about them? came in the immediate aftermath of the Conciliar reforms when religious life was beginning to change. In this text, he insists the religious vocation depends on unfashionable elements such as formal prayer, living under obedience, wearing a habit. These, he argues, are both prophetic signs and an essential framework to allow God’s grace to work unhindered by our egotism. The vocation is expressed primarily in the experience of loving God and being loved by him. It is to this that contemplative nuns above all are called.