Cloistered and inaccessible 'brides of Christ'? Or socially engaged women, active in the outside world to a degree impossible for their secular sisters? Nuns tells the fascinating stories of the women who have lived in religious communities since the dawn of the modern age - their ideals and achievements, frustrations and failures, and their attempts to reach out to the society around them. Drawing particularly on the nuns' own words, Silvia Evangelisti explores how they came to the cloister, how they responded to monastic discipline, and how they pursued their spiritual, intellectual, and missionary activities. The book looks not only at the individual stories of outstanding historical figures such as Teresa of Avila but also at the wider picture of convent life - what it symbolized to contemporaries, how it reflected and related to the world beyond the cloister, and what it means in the world today.