In correspondence with an ever-expanding heaven: Subject formation and spiritual labor among the Syrian-Catholic nuns of Kerala

Anu K Antony, Rowena Robinson


This article illustrates the religious formation and subjectivation of a nun through her everyday life inside the convent. It explains how her experience of calling, structured through institutional subject formation, leads to the fashioning of an ethical subjectivity. A close analysis of a nun’s calling, religious formation, and everyday life, structured through prayer routines, forms of discipline, and, crucially, what is here termed her “spiritual labor” for God are important in understanding the formation of a nun as a religious and ethical subject even where the ethical sometimes deviates from the religious. Combining archival and ethnographic data, the article shows that the quality of “constant awareness” is central in understanding a Catholic nun’s subject formation.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/728199