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An unconventional, progressive voice

Death of a Nun

Maria Rosseels

Sabine, who is confined to a wheelchair, is praying for a miracle. In exchange for a cure, she promises God to serve as a nun for the rest of her life. Her sole condition is that she gets to spend one more year with her lover Joris. Sabine is cured, but does not keep her promise: she marries Joris. When her husband and child die, she is racked with guilt. As penance, she enters the convent where her sister also serves. But then her sister dies too, and Sabine experiences a religious crisis. While travelling around the Far East, a Chinese priest excommunicated by Rome teaches her to put aside her spiritual pride. Faith becomes hope, which in turn becomes love.

Her importance to literature should not be underestimated
De Morgen

‘Death of a Nun’ is a classic example of the Catholic social novel, one of the first to meet the growing need for writing that questioned the institution of the church. Rosseels’ novel helped create a climate of spiritual freedom, which enabled subsequent writers to challenge the influence of the church on everyday life in Flanders. In 1975 ‘Death of a Nun’ was adapted for the big screen.

A classic of Flemish literature
De Standaard
A grand dame with guts
Het Volk