About “The Nun and the Priest”

Now, when celibacy for Roman Catholic priests is being questioned as never before, Evelyn McLean Brady shares a memoir of her own lived experience. “The Nun and the Priest: Love, Celibacy & Passion” is based on Evelyn’s journals and Father Brady’s love letters written from 1965-1970. The author gives an intimate look into the interior life of Sister Mary Emily (Evelyn’s religious name) who has fallen in love with Father Brady, her spiritual director, a priest who is celibate­­––the very vow he will help Sister Emily prepare for. The conflict she experiences because of her decision to dedicate her life only to God and being in love with a priest is chronicled in Sister Emily’s daily journals. The memoir reveals the hidden world of convent training and the impact of the Second Vatican Council on updating many medieval practices and attitudes. The believer and non-believer will be inspired by the universal spiritual insights Father Brady teaches Sister Emily, what she refers to as “life’s roadmaps.”

When this novice and priest finally confess their feelings to each other, the mystery of human love unfolds, as do trials and tests they never could have imagined. An unlikely ally, the Mother General of Sister Emily’s religious community plays an unexpected role in the relationship. Independent of Mother Bride’s support and her deepening feelings for Father Brady, Sister Emily delves deeper into the role of religious women in the Church hierarchy while Father Brady confesses his feelings about celibacy. The life-long tension between Evelyn and her mother also adds unexpected turns and detours. In the tradition of Abelard and Heloise and St. Francis and St. Clare, this is a love story of two celibates who are committed to following the ways of God but cannot ignore the pull of their human hearts.