On Nuns and Magazine Writing

A couple of years ago, I began to frequent the home of some cloistered Dominican nuns. This led me on an unexpected prayer journey, which somehow came to include some handmade rosary beads and long conversations with an nearly-nun soulmate.  These women got me pondering about Mary (here and here and here). Sometime later, I found myself meeting weekly with a Franciscan nun, a healer, who soon faced a spiritual dilemma of her own — one that shed new light on my choices as a Mormon woman.

My communion with these Catholic sisters  was lamplight in a time of grief, and while I mentioned my visits to the monastery here and there on this blog, and I never really told the story. I tried to, but it just didn’t feel like the right space.

There’s a difference between a blog post and a magazine article.  For example, right now it’s Sunday night and I’m throwing up a few thoughts that none of my co-bloggers will see until they log in. I’ll finish in 10 minutes and make some dinner.

When I sat down to write “In the Company of Nuns” for the new Exponent magazine, it was a different kind of crafting.  I lingered over it, vulnerable. I put it away for weeks at a time before shyly opening the file again.  It went through a readers’ committee, and I got it back with five sets of comments.  I crafted some more.  It was (and is) still  such a tiny slice of this (inter)faith journey, but as I re-revisited the essay, I finally figured out what I was telling myself.  Or rather, what these women were telling me. Or perhaps what God was telling me, through these women, through this essay.

I am thrilled that the Exponent Magazine has found new life.  And when the magazine finally came out last week, I poured over essays by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Linda Hoffman Kimball, and Pandora Brewer; poetry by Linda Sillitoe; the echoing voice of Emmeline Wells; thoughtful advice for teaching/talking about abuse and infertility; a great book review; and on and . . .

If you haven’t already, you can click here to download a copy (it’s BEE.A.UTIFUL on the iPad, fyi).


Deborah is K-12 educator who nurtures a healthy interest in reading, writing, running, ethics, mystics, and interfaith dialogue.

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5 Responses

  1. Alisa says:

    Thanks for posting this, Deborah. I was heading off on a business trip, so I printed out the volume and tucked it in my carry-on. It warmed my soul and kept me company on that hectic and lonely trip, and I felt a strong kinship with the authors in that magazine. Linda made me laugh, and your beautiful, thoughtful essay made me cry a little on the plane, but I didn’t mind. Reading it was a wonderful experience. I want to pass it along to others I know!

  2. EmilyCC says:

    Deborah, you’ve articulated beautifully the venue that the magazine offers writers and how it differs from blogging.

    So glad you enjoyed it (and found out it works well on the iPad!).

  3. ZD Eve says:

    I was really moved by your article, Deborah.

  4. CatherineWO says:

    I too was moved by your article. Thank you.

  5. Aimee says:

    Thank you for this lovely post, Deborah. You are an artful writer in every venue and I feel blessed by your words. Thank you for all you did to making this issue such a lovely, soulful collection.

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