Jesus in Our Wombs: Embodying Modernity in a Mexican Convent by Rebecca J. Lester

By Rebecca J. Lester

In Jesus in Our Wombs, Rebecca J. Lester takes us at the back of the partitions of a Roman Catholic convent in valuable Mexico to discover the lives, education, and studies of a bunch of postulants--young girls within the first level of spiritual education as nuns. Lester, who carried out eighteen months of fieldwork within the convent, presents a wealthy ethnography of those younger women's trips as they strive against with doubts, fears, objectives, and setbacks of their fight to persist with what they think to be the desire of God. Gracefully written, finely textured, and theoretically rigorous, this ebook considers how those aspiring nuns learn how to adventure God by means of cultivating an altered event in their personal girl our bodies, a change they view as a political stance opposed to modernity. Lester explains that the Postulants paintings towards what they see as an "authentic" femininity--one that has been eclipsed through the values of recent society. the end result of this procedure has political in addition to own effects. The Sisters learn how to comprehend their very intimate reviews of "the Call"--and their offerings in answering it--as politically proper declarations of self. Readers turn into in detail accustomed to the personalities, relatives backgrounds, friendships, and aspirations of the Postulants as Lester relates the practices and reports in their day-by-day lives. Combining compassionate, engaged ethnography with an incisive and provocative theoretical research of embodied selves, Jesus in Our Wombs promises a profound research of what Lester calls the convent's "technology of embodiment" on a number of levels--from the phenomenological to the political.

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As the postulants become habituated to the rigorous life of the convent, their bodies come to mediate between the interior sacred space of the soul and the exterior world of physical demands and temptations. Rather than flee the body in pursuit of a “pure” spiritual experience, however, the postulants learn to manage their physicality in 18 Introduction such a way that the tension between the “soul” and the “body” is experienced without being resolved, where the discomfort and concerns of the physical body become a means of spiritual transformation.

Despite the hospitality and warmth of most of the sisters, my research proceeded in what was effectively their home, their private space, which was not normally opened to outsiders. There was no “public” place where I could inconspicuously hang out and watch the goings on of the convent. Unlike a bustling village square or a dynamic corporate headquarters, convents are characterized by structure, silence, and formality. Every second of the postulants’ day was planned, structured, accounted for.

For the postulants I worked with, I saw that this stage involved recasting and retelling their life stories from the perspective that they have been called by God and that their joining the Siervas at this historical juncture was meant to happen. Postulants reorder past experiences and rearticulate their subjectivity in terms of the transformational process they have undergone, which imparts to these experiences a sense of determinacy and significance that the sisters take to be divinely ordained.

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