Melissa Farlow. Nuns.
Novices play ball in the court yard during a break in their silence from the strict cloistered life in a convent. Seven times during the day the nuns go to their chapel for chorus and pray but once a day they play or sing in the garden. Contemplation is the most important thing in their lives.
Santa Catalina Convent--the Monasterio de Santa Catalina was built in 1580 and enlarged in the 17th century. Among the 30 cloistered nuns who live in privacy in the convent are five novicias who have to study for five years to become a nun. The youngest is 15--the oldest is 98.
The nuns begin their day at Mass, walking through the convent that is later open to the public. Then the novicias have class and activities studying theology, music and the Bible. For their work, they embroider, make parsley soap, creams, cookies and iron. Older nuns make wafers for communion. They never leave the premises unless they have special permission to go to the doctor and to vote. The founder accepted girls from the finest of Spanish families. The nuns today take the traditional vow of poverty.
Melissa Farlow has worked extensively for National Geographic magazine in the American West for stories on public lands, environmental issues and wild horses. Primarily known for her personal approach when photographing people, Farlow documented diverse cultures and landscapes while in South America, Quebec, Alaska, the Alps, and the Okefenokee Swamp in over 20 National Geographic projects.
Follow Melissa on Instagram @melissafarlow.