Recovering addict and former British socialite Tessa Dahl, daughter of the celebrated children’s author Roald Dahl, plans to live out the rest of her days in an abbey of Benedictine nuns. What a testament to the power of God’s love and mercy!
I’ve enjoyed Roald Dahl’s books since I was a child, but when I re-read them recently, I noticed that they don’t have quite as much substance as I once thought they did. They’re imaginative and whimsical and a whole lot of fun to read (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory being the best of the lot, in my opinion), but they’re also a bit… gruesome and dark, and with the exception of Charlie, they lack the sense of redemption that I consider necessary to make a children’s book “good.”
Reading the story of Tessa Dahl’s life, I realized that it should come as no surprise that her father’s books lack any sort of redemptive message – his personal life was a wreck! And sadly, he didn’t do much of anything to help his daughter find the inner peace she sought so desperately. Praise God, Tessa’s had an experience with grace, and the good Benedictine sisters have graciously taken her in as a late-life vocation.
“Monastic life is about discipline. I am excused Matins, but each time the bell rings during the day, I join [the sisters], starting with Mass at 8am. I have to show up for everything on time, including meals. … I’m not up to working in the fields because I have two herniated discs and I suffer from colitis. But I help the Lady Abbess clean the chapel with a mop and a pail. This is saving my life.”