New habits : today’s women who choose to become nuns
“People think that nuns and monks ‘give up’ a lot but there is a paradox. In taking vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience they gain an incredible freedom.” I’ve held a quiet fascination with “monastic practices” for a while. It’s the thought of focusing intently and intensely on Jesus, and the rhythm and routine of the practices, that appeals – especially when life feels too busy or out of control! This was a great read. It’s a series of ten interviews by Isobel Losada (the author) with young novices who were, at the time, thinking of becoming nuns. The interviews cover their feelings about the vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience as well as describing other details of the daily life of a religious sister. (Image from:

Living faith day by day by Debra K. Farrington
While we’re on the topic of “monastic practices”, this is a gem of a book. I bought this years ago in the discount section in Borders one night when killing time before going to see a movie. It’s a gentle introduction to “a rule of life” based primarily on St Benedict’s rules. I like to dip into it every so often, like now, and found it interesting enough to also purchase the full “The Rule of St Benedict”. That one, I haven’t read yet. But should I need guidance on how to choose an excellent cellar master, I know where to turn! (Image from:


Rethinking celibacy for the single Christian
(I see a serendipitous theme emerging … pure coincidence, I swear!) This is one in a series interviews from Sheridan Voysey abut singleness. An interesting perspective, and one I appreciated enough to order the book. Other interviews in the series are good too. Also recommended is the Open House series of podcasts from 103.4FM, which Voysey used to host is excellent. Someone the other day remarked that we are to be content in whatever circumstances we find ourselves – whether that is married, dating, or single. True but challenging.


Newcastle Art Gallery

Popped in here to see the Australian Modern Masterpieces exhibition. (Pictured above.) A rich selection of works old and new, and old to me, and new to me, but no “cows and gumtrees”. A painting by Sidney Nolan was probably my favourite in the whole exhibition. Or the one that made me smile the most. “Royal Easter Show 1964” described as a painting “showing a farmers two great loves”. Whimsical and lovely. (See below) Also saw a Whitely that I remember studying in Year 7 art class -“The Green mountain (Fiji), 1969″ – which was painted on cardboard in a near spiritual fervour, and a stunning Brack – “Nude with two chairs“. The colours in this reproduction don’t do it justice. The yellow was intense and almost fluro, leaping off the canvas. Brilliant. (Images from:; and Northern Rivers Echo (9 March 2006))