SECRETS OF A NUN: My Own Story by Elizabeth Upton

SECRETS OF A NUN: My Own Story

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Just about what you'd expect from the titillating title--and guaranteed to offend anyone who expects the soul-scouring honesty or personal warmth of Mary Gilligan Wong's Nun (1983). In detailing her later years as Sister Roseann, a member of the Social Work Sisters of Immaculate Mary, Upton highlights her contacts with men who urged her to get in touch with her needs as a woman. Those needs seem to have been right out front. Her first view of Retreat Master Father Barrett caused her skin to ""tingle pleasantly."" (""I felt his manliness, not his priestliness."") And confession with Fr. Barrett is an eye-opener: ""Praise God for your emotions, for your female body, for your breasts, for your feelings, for God's sake and for your own sake, Sister."" Fear and guilt follow Sister Roseann's reaction to the masculinity and ""smooth hard chest"" of a hostile Harlem teenager. (On a pastoral call, she eyes the son of the house--""the cloth tightening over the swelling curve between his legs."") The callous indifference of some superiors to her desire to give her social-work continuity, and the bickering among the sisters, aggravate her ""soul-deep restlessness."" Finally a psychiatrist treating a disturbed seminary student pushes her ""over the edge"": ""Give yourself to passion, to craziness."" Her decision to leave the order cures a lump in one breast--on the outside she finds herself. ""closer to Christ"" than in the many years of ""helpless struggle and hopeless searching."" A confession that should, perhaps, have been kept in the booth.

Pub Date: March 18th, 1985
Publisher: Morrow