The Truth Set Us Free: Twenty Former Nuns Tell Their Stories of God’s Amazing Grace
By Richard Bennett
Solid Ground Christian Books, 2010, 237 pages
Richard Bennett, ex-Catholic priest and director of the Berean Beacon ministry, presents the testimonies of twenty former nuns who left behind the legalism and ritualism of Roman Catholicism and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith. The personal accounts average only about eleven pages each so there’s not a lot of detail about Catholic theology but each testimony is a blessing.
When Christians refer to “cults” they usually have Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses in mind but can there be a practice more “cultish” than a convent full of virgin women who believe they are married to Jesus Christ, replete with wedding rings? The inspiration for the Catholic convent was the convent of the vestal virgins of pagan Rome.
All of the twenty nuns joined their religious “orders” with high expectations, believing they were pleasing God by earning their salvation through self-denial and ritualism but they found no joy or contentment in the convent. All were introduced to the Word of God and were saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone. These women gave up the only life they knew to follow Christ but what Christian can look back with regret at the corrupt things of this world when the glory of our Savior is before us?
“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.” – Philippians 3:7-9
I attended a Catholic grammar school back in the 1960s and was taught by nuns belonging to the Sisters of Mercy order. Our parents assumed the nuns were shining examples of love and contentment but we students witnessed those women as they really were; troubled souls who sometimes vented their frustration, anger, and cruelty on their charges. Sisters Imelda, Annunciata, Tarcisius, Gemma, Maryanne, and Virgina, whatever became of you? Were you somehow able to cut through through the legalism and ritualism you taught to us and find the Savior?
Convents are few and far between these days. The great majority of Catholics can’t even bother to attend mass on Sunday let alone take up a religious vocation. In 1965 there were 180,000 nuns in the United States but by 2006 there were only 67,000. By 2014 the number had dropped to 50,000.