From Disco to Convent: The Story of Anna Nobili

After Years as Dancer, She Became a Religious

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ROME, MARCH 9, 2003 ( After years as a disco dancer, Anna Nobili opted for the religious life and dedication to the needy.

In an interview with Mondo Voc, an Italian magazine of the Rogationists to encourage vocations, Sister Anna recounts her story, which ended with her joining the Sister Workers of the Holy House of Nazareth.

“I was 19 when I began disco dancing, and I danced until I was 21,” she said. “They were three very intense years, during which I got lost. I used to go to discos every night and would stay there until 8 in the morning.”

“I used to dance in the club from midnight until 4 a.m., and from 4 to 8 a.m.,” the religious recalled. “I would dance nonstop in another disco. I would even go to places outside Milan, for example, Amsterdam, where I would stay for four or five days.”

“I looked for the most popular discothèques; and from there I got involved with men and alcohol,” she continued.

Little by little she got away from that scene. “It happened that at a certain point I was in church for no particular reason. I began going to church on Sunday,” she said. “In church, I cried continuously, aware of a different Presence.”

“I saw young people who loved each other with great simplicity and were happy — in a real world, not a false one like the one I was involved in,” she added.

The next step was “a spiritual retreat at Spello at Carlo Carretto’s hermitage. I prayed, made long meditations. Then, one evening, in St. Clare’s Square in Assisi, gazing at the heavens and nature, I had a clear perception that God is the Creator and we are his creatures.

“My heart was filled with an indescribable joy. I began dancing, but this time not to attract men, but to thank God and praise him. I found what I was looking for.”

Now the nun’s plan is to “live the charism of my congregation, serving, even by manual work, the less fortunate.”

The “problem is not so much to go or not to go to discothèques, but to let yourself be caged in by unsatisfactory human relationships. Let’s go to discothèques but with Jesus.”

“It is normal that young people go in search of sensations and that these are stronger in the night, but often night life is often lived out as a rebellion that leads to perversion,” she warned.

Her congregation was founded in 1900 in northern Italy and today has 200 religious. The institute works with the less fortunate, such as immigrants and former prostitutes.

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