Maria Boulding was a highly-respected spiritual writer and translator, notably of St Augustine. Her testimony, as a contemplative nun, is eloquent and forceful: “love is the mightiest source of power in the world, and because of the solidarity of mankind contemplatives believe that lives handed over to love can make a difference”.
Bruno Webb’s text, from a generation earlier, is more theoretical, although with a robust sense of the reality of enclosed life.
Jean Danielou wrote in the immediate aftermath of the Conciliar reforms, and the wholesale recasting of much religious life. He insists the religious vocation depends on unfashionable elements such as formal prayer, living under obedience, wearing a habit: these are both prophetic signs and an essential framework to allow God’s grace to work unhindered by our egotism. The vocation is expressed primarily in the experience of loving God and being loved by him. It is to this that contemplative nuns above all are called