Let Him Hold You: Spiritual and Social Support in a Catholic Convent Infirmary

Anna I Corwin


American Catholic nuns have been found to age more ‘successfully’ than their lay counterparts, living longer, healthier, and happier lives.  Two of the key factors contributing to the nuns’ physical and mental wellbeing are the spiritual support they experience from the divine and the social support they provide for and receive from each other in the convent.  I argue that by integrating the divine into their everyday interactions, the nuns engage in phenomenological meaning-making process through which mundane care interactions are rendered sacred. This communicative process, I argue, contributes to the nuns’ overall wellbeing by providing an enriched form of care and support, thereby enhancing their end-of-life experience.


aging; care; well-being; prayer; Catholicism; End-of-Life

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/aa.2012.29


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