ONLINE TEXTS FROM ENGLISH RELIGIOUS HISTORY
formerly printed by Rhwymbooks

 

The Nun Who Escaped: A True Story
Josephine Bunkley

Long before dawn on November 9, 1854, 17-year old Josephine crept through her convent chapel in Emmettsburg, Maryland, leapt from the window and escaped after eleven unhappy months as a nun. First published in 1855 (as Miss Bunkley's Book), this account of life in the convent - both the story itself and the story behind the story - made her very controversial in her genteel, pre-Civil War community. Abridged with a new introduction, The Nun Who Escaped will amuse and enthrall Catholic and Protestant readers alike with this "true tale" of one pre-Vatican II woman's monastic experience in America.


Originally published as

Miss Bunkley's Book:
The Testimony of an Escaped Novice

abridged selections
originally published by Harper & Brothers in 1855


Introduction to this edition

In this online edition, the chapters have been divided into three parts:

PART 1

Introduction of 1855
Impressions of childhood
Early impressions deepened
Doubts and hesitations
First visit to the sisters
My first confession and baptism
Attractions of the cloister
Visit to the convents
The sunny side of convent life
Entrance at St.Joseph's
The contrast
The Institution at Emmettsburg
Routine of a day
"Duties" of the sisters

PART 2

Consumption at St.Joseph's
Julia
First indications of disfavor
The illusion and the reality
Grades in the sisterhood
Costume of the sisters
The vow of poverty
Vows of chastity and obedience
Morals at St. Joseph's
Another victim
Tokens of sisterly regard
Cruelties inflicted
Insanity

PART 3

The Academy
Founders of the Institution
A second letter from home
Mortality and death at St. Joseph's
No Bible
A dream of freedom
My escape
After my escape
The Mother Superior's letter
Reply to the Mother Superior's letter
Conclusions