Saturday, 8 January 2011


During my period of raging lethargy, I have been able to read although I have never been a fast reader. I wrote a couple of weeks ago that I was reading 'Sisters of Sinai'. I was attracted to it by the author, Janet Soskice, who had contributed to 'Swallowing a Fishbone?' with feminist theologians debating Christianity.
The sisters were twins who were born just over 100years before me, in the middle of the Victorian age. However, far from being confined to the home, they had an enlightened father who encouraged them to travel widely even in their teens, although he did require the sisters to learn the language before they visited any country.
Both sisters married quite late in life and both were widowed after three years of marriage and the year before their fiftieth birthday they set out on the first of many trips to St Catherine's monastery in the Sinai desert, where they discovered the oldest copy of the Gospels. The journey would entail a seven day camel ride across the desert, which now takes just three hours by car!
They learnt Greek and Hebrew as well as Arabic and Syriac to enable them to translate the various document that they discovered, which they were still doing well into their seventies! 
They were able to make all these trips because their father had inherited a lot of money - the equivalent of £7million and the sisters were the beneficiaries of their father's will which had legal clauses to stop any man from marrying the twins for their money! They always thought that the money was to be used for an important reason rather than just being spent on luxuries but they still managed to buy dresses from Worth in Paris (the one British couturier), wear expensive jewellery and fur coats and possess one of the first motor cars!
I did enjoy reading about their various adventures and as someone who started a new vocation in her forties with a degree, a masters in her fifties and local ministry in her sixties, hopefully I will have the chance to write the book I been planning for many years in my seventies!

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