Lost in the Stacks: Forever and Ever, Amen: Becoming a Nun in the Sixties

In 1963 Karol “Suds” Jackowski was a fun-loving, hard-drinking high school girl who had prayed earnestly that if a vocational “call” from Heaven to join the sisterhood ever came, the call would be for someone else (preferably a girl she didn’t like). Thus Karol, an indifferent scholar who reveled in the social hub of high school, was as surprised as anyone when she listened to the small voice inside her heart and joined the Sisters of the Holy Cross in South Bend, Indiana. Karol Ann Jackowski became Sister Mary Carol Joseph, exchanging ratted hair for a cropped coif and headgear, friends and family for sisterhood and community, and fifths of vodka with high school buddies for happy hour at the convent (yes, really! – you won’t believe how much these sisters drink). Then came the sweeping changes of Vatican II, and the life of solitude and sisterhood that Karol had grown to love was totally transformed. Forever and Ever, Amen is a humorous, exuberant account (with lots of juicy tidbits about convent life) of Karol’s spiritual growth and struggles in becoming a nun during one of the most volatile periods in the history of Catholic sisterhood.