Practice of Perfection
Coteau Books / 28 April 2010

The Practice of Perfection by Mary Frances Coady Coteau Books Reviewed by Gail Jansen $18.95 ISBN 978-1-55050-400-2 Perfection is an attribute few of us try to attain, but in the inner sanctum of a convent, it is above all else, something that is strived for. But who are these women whose aim is perfection? And how does the transformation from ordinary girl to reverent nun take place? These are the compelling mysteries regarding religious life as it was back in 1959 that Mary Frances Coady looks to unravel in her first book of short fiction, The Practice of Perfection. A collection of integrated stories told from separate points of view, each story looks deeply into the hearts and minds of young novice nuns, following them as they go about their day’s observances. A stylistic technique employed by Coady allows readers to truly see the struggle, doubt and perseverance each novice experiences from the inside out. She shows us through her writing that even as they aim for God’s perfection, beneath their habits lie the ordinary human failings that exist in us all. Evoking the stark and simple lifestyle of those cloistered with unembellished words and repeated images, Coady bestows an…