Thursday, 19 July 2012
When God calls
A former girlfriend of David Cameron has become a nun.
Now known as Sister John Mary, 44-year-old Laura Adshead met the prime minister when they were undergraduates at Oxford.
The pair went out from the spring of 1990 until summer 1991, while working at the Conservative party’s Central Office. Adshead went on to become correspondence sercretary to John Major, then prime minister.
She appeared to have a brilliant career ahead of her, studying at the Wharton business school in Philadelphia before working for Ogilvy & Mather, the advertising agency that inspired the hit television series Mad Men. But then she began a downward spiral into drink and drug addiction.
Sister John Mary reveals in a documentary, God Is the Bigger Elvis, which was shortlisted for an Oscar: “I feel like I tried most of the things in life that are supposed to make you happy. That journey took me down into alcohol and drug addiction.”
In 2008 she swapped the social whirl of New York for a Benedictine convent in Connecticut, saying: “I did think my life would progress on the normal tracks of meeting someone, marrying, having children, but that’s not the path that God has led me.” Her day starts with prayers at 2am before carrying out chores such as mopping the chapel floor and tending to a herd of dairy cattle on the remote 400-acre farm at the convent she shares with 36 sisters.