‘I Leap Over the Wall’ by Monica Baldwin

Lucy Scholes at The Paris Review:

Ten years after Monica Baldwin voluntarily entered an enclosed religious order of Augustinian nuns, she began to think she might have made a mistake. She had entered the order on October 26, 1914, shortly after the outbreak of the World War I, when she was just twenty-one years old. At thirty-one, she hadn’t lost her faith, but she had begun to doubt her vocation; the sacrifices that cloistered life entailed did not come easily to her, and unlike many around her, she hadn’t experienced a “vital encounter” between her soul and God. Eighteen years later, she finally knew for sure: it was time to leave. Granted special dispensation from the Vatican to leave the order but remain a Roman Catholic, Baldwin—who was now forty-nine years old—quit the only adult life she’d known, that of the “strictest possible enclosure,” and emerged back into the world in 1941, into a world that had just plunged, once again, into war.

Baldwin relates the trials and tribulations that followed in her delightful memoir, I Leap Over the WallA Return to the World After Twenty-Eight Years in a Convent.

more here.