BCHA resident and former nun Pauline Webb looks at religion today.

An original and groundbreaking book exploring the history, future and psychology of the Catholic church has been written by an 85-year-old former Catholic nun and teacher from Bedford.

‘Sin, Sex and Psychology: The Catholic Church on the Couch’ is the work of Pauline Webb. The book looks at a number of issues that the Catholic church has faced in recent times, and how it can become relevant to the 21st Century through psychology and philosophy. Pauline explores these concepts from the perspective of a devout Catholic who is questioning and challenging age-old certainties and modern problems facing the church today.

Born in Birmingham in 1937, Pauline came from a background where education was not considered a priority for girls. 

She attended grammar school but did not take exams, and worked in the offices of a local factory where her father worked as an engineer. She attended night school and independently studied for her O-Levels.

Pauline applied and was accepted for a teacher training course in Birmingham. It was after qualifying and teaching for a few years that she decided that her path in life was to join a French religious congregation. 

She went to Paris for a year to study both French and Philosophy, and studied English at the University of Sheffield on her return.

Pauline taught English at the Convent School in Bromham Road and, although she left the sisterhood in her 40s, she carried on teaching at St Thomas More Upper School. 

It was during this time that Pauline took an advanced course in Psychodynamic Counselling and extensively studied Freud, who has been a major influence on her life and work. She worked as a counsellor and also trained student counsellors. Pauline lived in Great Barford for many years but now lives in Bedesman House, part of the Bedford Citizens Housing Association (BCHA).

Marie Taylor, Chief Executive of BCHA, has been fascinated by Pauline’s story.

“Like many older people, Pauline has a great story to tell and is still sharing her interesting ideas and beliefs with people of all ages.”

‘Sin, Sex and Psychology: The Catholic Church on the Couch’ is available from Amazon as a free Kindle Unlimited edition and a paperback, priced at £8.50.