The Secret Lives of Mexican Nuns

Cloistered in Catholic monasteries, these sisters embrace tradition, devotion—and rock-and-roll.

I always want to know what goes on backstage. Whether I’m photographing baseball or ballet, I like to peek behind the curtain and see what people’s lives are really like. So when I got a grant to spend three years documenting Roman Catholic nuns cloistered in Mexican monasteries, I jumped at the chance.

In Puebla, Mexico, where I grew up, some Catholic churches are more than 400 years old. The first sisters here helped the Spanish spread Catholicism in Mexico. But many of the nuns stay secluded in their convents, forbidden to engage with the world. When I was a kid they seemed like legends to me.

Gaining access to their world wasn’t easy. When I’d knock on a convent door, they’d tell me to go away—then slam the door in my face. But I was stubborn and persistent, and eventually they let me in.

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