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About the book
  • Published: 1 October 2012
  • ISBN: 9781775530992
  • Imprint: RHNZ Adult ebooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 168

Breaking The Habit


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A former Domincan nun's story of dedication to her vocation and escape.

A former Domincan nun's story of dedication to her vocation and escape.

‘You have made the most important decision of your life and the greatest sacrifice a human being can make. Well done Judith.’ In 1955, at seventeen years of age, Judith Graham entered the Dominican Order and began her life as Sister Stephen.

In this compassionate yet frank account she recalls her years as a Dominican nun during the repressive pre-Vatican II era. The vows of a nun – those of poverty, chastity and obedience – encapsulated in the commitment of ‘death to self’ proved too much for Sister Stephen. Her battle for acceptance and spiritual fulfilment was stifled by the rules and regulations of the Church. Yet leaving the Order was even more difficult. After a twelve-year struggle she escaped from the convent ‘feeling like a battered wife’.

Breaking the Habit, first published in 1992, is a warm, personal story of increasing doubt and subsequent growth, and of freedom of spirit – ‘a freedom I will never take for granted.’ It also captures a way of life that no longer exists, and one woman’s struggle to regain her sense of self. ‘The story is riveting. But it is the writing that delivers the story, after all.’ Jane Tolerton, The Waikato Times

  • Pub date: 1 October 2012
  • ISBN: 9781775530992
  • Imprint: RHNZ Adult ebooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 168

About the Author

Judith Graham

Judith Graham, born in Christchurch in 1937, was sent in 1950 as a boarder to her mother's school, St Dominic's College, Dunedin. In 1955, two months after leaving school, she entered the Dominican Novitiate to become a nun. She studied extramurally at Otago University and graduated M.A. Hons English in 1961. She taught at St Dominic's College, Dunedin, and St Catherine's Invercargill, until she abandoned Religious Life in 1967. She married the photogtapher Reg Graham in 1968 and continued teaching in single-sex and co-ed secondary schools. She has two children, Kirsty, 36 , and Piers, 35.


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