Journo student: Thoughts and exploits

Interview with a nun

A group of cynical journalism students descended en masse upon the unsuspecting nuns of Tyburn Convent in Marble Arch. Actually, they were suspecting and pretty shrewd with it. They met our intrusive questions with dignity and rich tea fingers. The only way to meet intrusive questions I’ve come to realise.

Sister Mary Chanel was our kind interviewee who explained to us what it meant to be a benedictine comtemplative and how exactly she came to be one. Sister Mary seemed more inclined to talk about the general principles of being a contemplative,  but we later steered her around to discussing more personal issues.

The fundamental principle of the order is to become the ‘perfect Christian’- as was established by St Benedict, who is generally considered to be the founder of western monastisiam. The aim- union of the soul with God.

What seemed to be the most interesting part of the interview with Sister Mary was the description of all the things sacrificed to be there. Seemingly trivial things perhaps, like television, radio, internet. One visit a month from a family member, lasting only for an hour. No real contact with the outside world. Complete obedience.


The strangest thing of all was the absolute silence. Being one moment on a central London street, centre of touristy chaos and the next inside a contemplative convent was alarming.

Sister Mary just seemed to find our looks of apprehension amusing: “A little voice told me long ago that this is where i was supposed to be.”

Flickr image courtesy of Krissie P

Flickr image courtesy of Krissie P