MY THREE LIVES by Teresa Lightwood
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A book which combines several intriguing and, to a certain extent, romantic elements is unusual in itself. But when such a book does not attempt to wrest more out of its situations than is actually there and when it is written in a tone of calmness, good sense and good will, as this book is, then it's a rare pleasure indeed. Teresa Lightwood entered a Catholic missionary order, in London, at the age of sixteen. She was 22 when she was fully professed and sent to Thailand. She spent fourteen years there until her health, which had always been frail, forced her to return to England and a sedentary life. And it was at this point that she first thought, with terror, of renouncing the religious life. Her book does not give the impression that she is a particularly introspective person, although she is certainly observant, and she says that even now she cannot explain the reasons for her decision. Instead she offers the opinion of a friend who suggested that Teresa rebelled because she found she could serve only in her own way. She was approaching middle age then when she decided to become a nurse. And this led her back to her beloved Thailand where she eventually founded a Catholic maternity hospital and a home for the aged. She had adopted Chinese girl twins and was engaged in establishing sanatoria for TB cases in South India when, at 52, she married Peter Blackburn. Far from regretting her early convent life she feels that without its training she could never have endured the condition of loneliness nor the hardships. And because she lacked the orthodox patterns of a young woman's experience she believes she was led into the life which she now enjoys. Though in itself Teresa Lightwood's story is remarkable, it is, perhaps the more affecting because of her obvious simplicity and her lack of self-consciousness. The market would be peripheral to A Nun's Story.

Pub Date: May 17th, 1960
Publisher: Dutton