LifestyleEmbracing life at 70: Former nun reflects on leaving the convent after 40 years

Embracing life at 70: Former nun reflects on leaving the convent after 40 years

A 70-year-old woman left the convent after 40 years.
A 70-year-old woman left the convent after 40 years.
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1:17 PM EST, February 11, 2024

Draveil’s story serves as a reminder that life can alter dramatically at any age. After spending much of her adult life as a nun, Draveil made the brave decision to discard her habit and engage with the world and her identity in entirely new ways. "I experience life in a different way," she stresses in an interview with "L'illustré" magazine.

Years of living "dead to the world"

Raised in a deeply religious family, Draveil's mother believed in giving one of her three children to God. Although Draveil harbored dreams of becoming a doctor and pursued medical studies for four years, she ultimately succumbed to guilt and heeded her mother's request.

Life in the convent proved challenging. The rules were strict, the physical labor demanding, and the personal sacrifices great. The lack of regular family contact, added to a complete prohibition on friendship, left Draveil emotionally drained.

The trials were further compounded by a harsh superior sister, whose challenging nature and stern approach to community relations took a toll on her.

"We are all meant to represent Christ. I was at her mercy. I had to go through a lot to come to this realization," Draveil admits, recounting her experience to "L'illustré".

Departing the convent after 40 years

As her 60th birthday dawned, Draveil resolved to break with her religious vows. She no longer wanted her remaining years to mirror the decades she had already lived. In 2013, she took a sabbatical from the convent and three years later opted to abandon her monastic life entirely.

"There is no right age when one can learn to live" is a quote by Françoise Sagan that Draveil embraced as her new life philosophy, replacing the "Hail Mary" that guided her for so long.

Forsaking her convent life, Draveil embarked on a path most unfamiliar to her. From setting up an account on a dating site, through which she met her current husband, to partaking in extreme sports like skydiving and paragliding, traversing the globe, and coming to terms with her new self, Draveil has taken life by the reins and even married at 70.

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