Praised in The Atlantic Monthly as an "engrossing narrative," Nuns tells the fascinating stories of the women who have lived in religious communities during some of the most tumultuous years in European history. Drawing particularly on the nuns' own words, Silvia Evangelisti reveals their ideals and achievements, frustrations and failures, and their attempts to reach out to the society around them. She explores how they came to the cloister, how they responded to monastic discipline, and how they pursued their spiritual, intellectual, and missionary activities. Indeed, nuns often found a way to contribute to their communities by creating charities and schools, while a few exceptional women made names for themselves for their artistic talents or for establishing new convents. This book features the individual stories of some of the most outstanding historical figures, including Teresa of Avila, who set up over seventeen new convents. Evangelisti shows how these women were able to overcome some of the restrictions placed on women in their societies at large. In doing so, she provides a fascinating and rarely seen glimpse into their intriguing world.