Implausibly, You magazine managed an exclusive interview with the sisters at Abbaye Notre Dame de l’Annonciation, near Avignon, who have a recorded a CD to be released next month by Decca.
It is moving speaking to the sisters. Like watching a nativity play or witnessing a wedding, a whisper of your own lost innocence or idealism comes back to you. Many of my questions have concerned what they have given up, but what have they gained? There is a flurry of smiles. Mère Abbesse: ‘Everything!’ Mère Prieure: ‘Happiness!’ And Mère Scholastique: ‘We’re more useful to the family and friends we’ve left behind now than we would be if we were with them.’ How? Mère Prieure answers my scepticism. ‘Our families realise there is another place. It allows them to recognise that the world is not one-dimensional: the horizontal changes to the vertical, the horizon changes. We have made those whom we’ve left behind think about these things.’