Description : Witchcraft. Arson. Going AWOL. Some nuns in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italy strayed far from the paradigms of monastic life. Cloistered in convents, subjected to stifling hierarchy, repressed, and occasionally persecuted by their male superiors, these women circumvented authority in sometimes extraordinary ways. But tales of their transgressions have long been buried in the Vatican Secret Archive. That is, until now. In Nuns Behaving Badly, Craig A. Monson resurrects forgotten tales and restores to life the long-silent voices of these cloistered heroines. Here we meet nuns who dared speak out about physical assault and sexual impropriety (some real, some imagined). Others were only guilty of misjudgment or defacing valuable artwork that offended their sensibilities. But what unites the women and their stories is the challenges they faced: these were women trying to find their way within the Catholicism of their day and through the strict limits it imposed on them. Monson introduces us to women who were occasionally desperate to flee cloistered life, as when an entire community conspired to torch their convent and be set free. But more often, he shows us nuns just trying to live their lives. When they were crossed—by powerful priests who claimed to know what was best for them—bad behavior could escalate from mere troublemaking to open confrontation. In resurrecting these long-forgotten tales and trials, Monson also draws attention to the predicament of modern religious women, whose “misbehavior”—seeking ordination as priests or refusing to give up their endowments to pay for priestly wrongdoing in their own archdioceses—continues even today. The nuns of early modern Italy, Monson shows, set the standard for religious transgression in their own age—and beyond.
Description : Monson retells the story of Vizzana and the nuns of Santa Cristina to elucidate the role that music played in the lives of these cloistered women. Monson explains how the sisters fought back with words and music, and when these proved futile, with bricks, roof tiles, and stones.
Description : Mirrors of Heaven or Worldly Theaters? Venetian Nunneries and Their Music explores the dynamic role of music performance and patronage in the convents of Venice and its lagoon from the sixteenth century to the fall of Venice around 1800. Examining sacred music performed by the nuns themselves and by professional musicians they employed, author Jonathan E. Glixon considers the nuns as collective patrons, of both musical performances by professionals in their external churches-primarily for the annual feast of the patron saint, a notable attraction for both Venetians and foreign visitors-and of musical instruments, namely organs and bells. The book explores the rituals and accompanying music for the transitions in a nun's life, most importantly the ceremonies through which she moved from the outside world to the cloister, as well as liturgical music within the cloister, performed by the nuns themselves, from chant to simple polyphony, and the rare occasions where more elaborate music can be documented. Also considered are the teaching of music to both nuns and girls resident in convents as boarding students, and entertainment-musical and theatrical-by and for the nuns. Mirrors of Heaven, the first large-scale study of its kind, contains richly detailed appendices featuring a calendar of musical events at Venetian nunneries, details on nunnery organs, lists of teachers, and inventories of musical and ceremonial books, both manuscript and printed. A companion website supplements the book's musical examples with editions of complete musical works, which are brought to life with accompanying audio files.
Description : Deserted by his mother and abandoned by his father at just three months old, Jerry Coyne was sent to live in a Catholic children's home run by nuns of the order of the Sisters of Nazareth. Life soon settled into a rhythm and then, one day, the beatings started. Harsh, vicious punishments became part of everyday life for the bemused little boy as the nuns attempted to beat the Devil out of him. Jerry began to hide behind bad behaviour and at the age of 12, his defiance resulted in him being sent to a boarding for boys with behavioural problems. Life then got worse when his housemaster, the man whose job it was to take care of him, began a regime of mental, physical and sexual abuse. Years of self-hatred and guilt led to Jerry suffering from a severe stammer and, eventually, he tried to hang himself. This was the turning point and, after finally finding the courage to go to the authorities, Jerry and numerous other victims came forward and were instrumental in the conviction and imprisonment of their abuser. Devil's Child is the devastating true story of a childhood destroyed by abuse and of a young man's struggle to try to come to terms with the past and believe in the future.
Description : “An enthralling amalgam of sex, violence, and scholarship. At the center of the story are the abduction and murder of two reformed prostitute nuns” (Frederick Hammond, Music and Spectacle in Baroque Rome). In April 1644, two nuns fled Bologna’s convent for reformed prostitutes. A perfunctory archiepiscopal investigation went nowhere, and the nuns were quickly forgotten. By June of the next year, however, an overwhelming stench drew a woman to the wine cellar of her Bolognese townhouse, reopened after a two-year absence—where to her horror she discovered the eerily intact, garroted corpses of the two missing women. Drawing on over four thousand pages of primary sources, the intrepid Craig A. Monson reconstructs this fascinating history of crime and punishment in seventeenth-century Italy. Along the way, he explores Italy’s back streets and back stairs, giving us access to voices we rarely encounter in conventional histories: prostitutes and maidservants, mercenaries and bandits, along with other “dubious” figures negotiating the boundaries of polite society. Painstakingly researched and breathlessly told, Habitual Offenders will delight historians and true-crime fans alike. “Monson’s combination of style and substance makes this a thoroughly engaging work to read. His ability to move from the smallest of significant objects, silver-handled forks and scarlet jackets, to examine the struggles for power between the Pope and Europe’s most powerful families is notable, resulting in a work highly enjoyable for academic and lay readers alike.” —Women’s History “Monson delivers cut-to-the-quick truths about survival strategies for individuals and families, both great and small, caught in networks from Bologna, through Venice and papal Rome, reaching as far as Mazarin and the king of France.” —Alison K. Frazier, author of Possible Lives: Authors and Saints in Renaissance Italy
Description : Bestselling author Jane Christmas resolves to enter a convent to find out whether she is, as she puts it, nun material. She also wants to understand why she has felt and avoided a siren call to religious life for so long. But just when she convinces herself to take the plunge, her longterm partner suddenly proposes marriage. Determined not to sideline her monastic dreams any longer, Christmas puts her engagement on the back burner and sets off on an extraordinary year-long adventure to four convents. With her trademark humour, verve and feistiness, Christmas relates how she revels in and at times chafes and rails against the silent, simple existence she has sought all of her life. When an unexpected and searing memory rears up, she is forced to confront both her past and her future.
Description : In these talks, Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche explain the great benefits of practicing Dharma as an ordained person, how to keep the ordination pure, the purpose of the monastic community, how to live together as monks and nuns, and much more. The necessity for the lay community to support the Sangha is also made clear, and not only monks and nuns but lay practitioners, too, will gain much by reading this booklet.
Description : Gertrude has lost her husband and Anne, an ex-nun, her God. They plan to live together and do good works. Meanwhile a cohort of interested parties circle. The 'Count', a Polish man in exile watches over Gertrude with loving patience. Tim, a failed painter, plans with his punk girlfriend to live off his rich friends. Who will judge whom in this intricate pattern of love and deceit? Who will behave well and who badly? Who will be lucky?