I Love Nuns - Rosie Collins

I am an example – possibly unique – of a mid-Wales lesbian hand raised by nuns.

I’m not from mid-Wales originally, as you may be able to tell from my accent: I’m actually from Ireland.
There are many differences between Ireland and mid-Wales.
One of them is the abundance of nuns in Ireland.
This is one of the aspects of life in Ireland that I miss, and I have recently started to wonder why this is.

The truth is, nuns were a very formative element of my childhood and adolescence.
I went to catholic schools and nuns featured prominently as teachers and role models.
To be a nun was something to aspire to.
And some of those bad-ass nuns were really inspirational.

Slowly, the realisation has dawned on me that if I’d been born a couple of hundred years ago I would probably have ended up being a nun myself.
Instead, I have turned into a woman who enjoys being with other women, especially when we get together for a bit of shooting.
Maybe being a mid-Wales lesbian is not that different from being a nun after all?

Please tell us a little about yourself.

I landed in Aberystwyth from Dublin as an economic migrant during the recession of the 1980s, and can still remember the sense of being like a stranger in a strange land. In those days the shops in Aber closed on Thursday afternoons! And people actually spoke Welsh. Voluntarily. Not like the language situation in Ireland, where lip-service was paid to Irish but people would have laughed their heads off at you if you’d attempted to actually use it in everyday life. Feeling slightly apart from the society you live in (for whatever reason) provides you with good basis for critically examining your cultural heritage (or baggage!), and I guess that’s what sparked the idea for my digital story.  

What’s your story about?

My story is a humorous look at one very important difference between life in mid-Wales and life in Ireland, which is where I’m from originally! The key element is the absence of a visible presence of nuns here in mid-Wales. In contrast, during my childhood and adolescence in Ireland nuns were EVERYWHERE! Sadly, this might have changed in recent years.

Why did you choose this particular story?

I think nuns were a formative influence on me and many others in my generation in Ireland. Feared, revered, held in awe, and maybe (secretly)….admired!  

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?

There was a great range of stories captured digitally in the workshop, and I found it really interesting to see the various approaches people took to constructing their stories. My story is fairly flippant and was never intended to be anything else, but other people in the workshop managed to convey some very personal and moving insights.

  • Aberystwyth University
  • Arts Council of Wales
  • Welsh Government
  • National Lottery
  • Ceredigion County Coucil

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