Generally speaking, I’m a Reality TV hater. If I happen to pass through a channel showing Big Brother, Strictly Come Dancing, Celebrity Tank Driving, Life Laundry, How To Be Thin/Pretty/Young or any of their ilk, I hit the ‘next channel’ button with a little cry of distress. I’d rather watch paint dry.
But somehow I’ve got sucked into watching The Convent, and I’m finding it fascinating. I nearly got put off by the trailers in which the four women who were going to spend 40 days in the Convent of the Poor Clares in Arundel were portrayed as petulant, rebellious drama queens. I’m not sure that my opinion of them has changed greatly over the course of the series (though several of them seem to have quite serious psychological problems), but it’s well worth watching for nuns alone.
I don’t know if it’s because Convent life attracts a certain kind of person, or if the life itself changes you profoundly (probably both), but the nuns all seem to be excellent psychologists and intense listeners. The latter quality particularly struck me as being something that’s very rare to find in people today. When you overhear conversations, the participants often seem to be talking at one another rather than talking and actually listening to what the other has to say. The quiet intensity of the nuns’ concentration as they listened to others’ experiences was quite startling.