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‘Entering a convent led me to the love of my life, another nun – my soulmate’

Monica and Peg’s relationship was ‘strictly taboo and vehemently condemned’, but that did not prevent them from building a life together

Monica’s final vows ceremony in 1964. Photograph: Monica Hingston

Monica’s final vows ceremony in 1964. Photograph: Monica Hingston

Last modified on Mon 15 Jun 2020 08.39 BST

S ixty years ago, as an idealistic 21-year-old seeking to do good, I made the unusual decision to enter the convent. Twenty years later, on the other side of the world, that decision would play a major part in meeting the love of my life, another nun – my soulmate.

I came from a typical Catholic family of that time. We accepted without question all the church teachings, a slow-drip indoctrination. I happily embarked on this path, becoming a “bride of Christ” (a peculiar, inexplicable ritual) and donning the veil and habit to signify I was set apart from the enticements of the world.

Monica on the day she became a bride of Christ (1962). Photograph: Monica Hingston

I loved teaching, but after some years I became disenchanted with the path I was on, and requested leave of absence from religious life. I travelled to South America. It was the first step towards meeting Peg. I still can’t explain why I chose to return to the convent, but that choice, at the fork in the road, took me on the path to her.

Back in Australia, I obtained a social work degree and proceeded to work in a community health centre, serving the needs of high-rise flat residents in Melbourne’s North Richmond. They were predominantly newly settled migrants and refugees. The work was challenging but rewarding and the team of health workers an inspiration.

During those years I was corresponding with an American Mercy nun working in Nicaragua, a country racked with political turmoil and violence. She invited me to join her small group working among the poor.

At the time I was an active member of Amnesty International and very involved in the struggles of people across the globe. I was drawn to take up her offer and approached our governing board to ask permission. My request to go to Nicaragua was refused because of the dangerous situation, but I was offered the opportunity to go to Chile instead. Two Australian Mercies were already working there with American Mercies.

And so it came to pass, eight years after first setting foot on Latin American soil I was on my way to meeting the love of my life.

I met this beautiful woman in Santiago, Chile, in 1983. She was an American, a Franciscan nun who had been living and working in Chile some 17 years. It wasn’t love at first sight, but only months later I fell for her deeply.

Love is a wonderful thing! When it happens, you want to shout if from the rooftops – you want the world to know about this extraordinary experience. But the world didn’t want to know about us, the homosexuals. In fact there were many who preached that hate, discrimination and even death were only fitting for the likes of us.

We moved in together. While we wanted to continue our work with disadvantaged women, we could not remain members of our respective religious groups. Our relationship was strictly taboo and vehemently condemned by the church hierarchy. In order to request dispensation from our vows, we had to write to the Catholic hierarchy in Rome. By return mail we were promptly set free.

Monica and Peg together with some friends in Chile. Photograph: Monica Hingston

We continued our life together in Chile for another nine years, an experience difficult to encapsulate in just a few words. We lived under a brutal military dictatorship but found our work with the shanty town women, and the friendships of other professional women inspired us, carrying us through the dark times. And above all we had each other.

Then we moved back to my home country Australia. It was here that an unexpected challenge arose. In 2003 the Vatican issued an edict to all the Catholic bishops in every diocese across the globe.

In this many-paged document, the Roman cardinals described homosexuals as “seriously depraved” and “evil”. They particularly directed their instructions to the Catholic politicians of the world, telling them they were “morally obligated” to oppose any legislation that would grant us equal rights, and if such laws already existed, they were to do all in their power to repeal them.

Peg and Monica in Chile. Photograph: Monica Hingston

Peg and I had long since left the church and pronouncements from the Vatican did not concern us but this blistering attack on a global scale did. It meant that their dictates aimed to impose their beliefs on our secular society and to deprive us of basic human rights. I immediately wrote a letter to the then Archbishop George Pell, my second cousin.

I challenged him to look me in the eye and describe me as seriously depraved. I asked him to consider what he was doing to people like us, the harm his church was inflicting, and much more.

He ignored me. After several attempts to contact him, I asked the Age to publish it as an open letter.

The response from the public was widespread: affirmative, grateful and appreciative.

In the intervening years the damaging condemnations from the Vatican have thankfully been ignored by most Australians and we have equal rights in almost every aspect of our lives.

Over the years my beloved Peg and I had often discussed the societal barriers to our relationship as the campaigners for equality determinedly pursued their goal. I will always be grateful to these brave warriors. It was a long and arduous and at times very painful and humiliating battle to achieve the same rights as heterosexuals: to eliminate our second-class citizenship status.

We decided should the marriage equality law ever eventuate we would declare our commitment to each other in a public ceremony –with a big party! It would be one small contribution to the elimination of “otherness” that so many still experience.

Those same years have revealed the horrors, the pain and anguish the prelates of this church have inflicted on innocent, vulnerable children by the millions across the globe. They have lost all credibility, especially in claiming the moral high ground on any issue.

I would hope that the good and decent Catholic believers may one day soon decide they no longer need this clerical caste to serve their God and return to meeting in small groups like the early Christians, sharing eucharist, striving to be humane and compassionate people.

When the memorable day we achieved marriage equality – 7 December 2017 – finally came the parliament erupted in jubilation.

As I sat alone watching history unfolding, I wept.

My beautiful Peg had died six years before of gall bladder cancer – it was 12 weeks from diagnosis to death. My tears flowed on one hand for joy, for all those who would benefit from this huge shift in society, and on the other in deep sadness because we would not step out together in a public ritual and declare to all and sundry: “Look at how we love one another!”

Peg with her joy of living and her fun-filled nature would have made it the most memorable wedding ever. I cannot put into words how I miss her touch and her tenderness every single day.

You can hear more about Monica and Peg’s story on SBS Insight tomorrow at 8.30pm.

Monica and Peg’s relationship was ‘strictly taboo and vehemently condemned’, but that did not prevent them from building a life together

85 Love of My Life Quotes Celebrating True Love

These love of my life quotes will have you cherishing every moment with your special person.

Do you believe that we all get one great love in our entire life? For those who find their one person and are lucky enough to create a forever with them, these love of my life quotes will shoot straight to your heart.

Finding love is one of the most coveted goals in life for most people. As social beings, it’s important to have the love of someone you can always turn to.

The love of your life is that person who completes you – your soulmate. The person you love with all your heart and would do anything for.

Love is a beautiful thing. Finding the love of your life is one of the best things that can happen to your life. When you are in love with “the one”, you feel genuine attraction and passion towards each other.

Your special someone will always make you smile and feel better, compromise with you, listen to you, and be a constant source of support. Besides, the right person will lift you up and inspire you to follow your dreams and reach the goals you’ve always wanted to pursue.

In honor of true love, below is our collection of cute quotes about love of your life, collected from a variety of sources over the years.

Remember to also use these lovely birthday captions and flirty good morning texts for her to let her know how much you care. We also have a selection of beautiful love words as well of these engagement quotes for when that time comes. Be sure to check out those as well.

Love of my life quotes celebrating true love

1. “Loving someone and having them love you back is the most precious thing in the world.” – Nicholas Sparks

2. “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn Is to love and be loved in return.” – Natalie Cole

3. “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao-Tzu

4. “The heart wants what it wants. There’s no logic to these things. You meet someone and you fall in love and that’s that.” – Woody Allen

5. “The best love is the kind that awakens the soul; that makes us reach for more, that plants the fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. That’s what I hope to give you forever.” – The Notebook (read more quotes from The Notebook)

6. “The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.” – Victor Hugo

7. “There’s no substitute for a great love who says, ‘No matter what’s wrong with you, you’re welcome at this table.’” – Tom Hanks

8. “At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet.” – Plato

9. “I may search for another thousand years but still may not find someone as sweet and loving as you are.” – Smokey Mack

10. “So, I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.” – Paulo Coelho

Love of my life quotes to help you appreciate true love

11. “From the day you walked into my life, you’re all I think about. You’re the reason I breathe. You are the stars in my sky. I wouldn’t want this any other way. You’re the love of my life.” – Kemis Khan

12. “We are shaped and fashioned by those we love.” – Geothe

13. “You know it’s love when all you want is that person to be happy, even if you’re not part of their happiness.” – Julia Roberts

14. “Where there is love there is life.” – Mahatma Gandhi

15. “I saw that you were perfect, and so I loved you. Then I saw that you were not perfect and I loved you even more.” – Angelita Lim

16. “When you meet the right person you know it. You can’t stop thinking about them. They’re your best friend. And your soulmate. You can’t wait to spend the rest of your life with them. No one and nothing else can compare.” – How I Met Your Mother

17. “Ah me! love cannot be cured by herbs.”- Ovid

18. “I am in love – and, my God, it is the greatest thing that can happen to a man. If you have not done so already, you are wasting your life.” – D.H. Lawrence

19. “To live with you is to live. To live without you is to die.” – Kamand Kojouri

20. “Life has turned into a beautiful garden ever since you entered into my life. You have changed my life and made me feel so good. I feel so loved and cared for. You are the best thing that happened to me.” – Kamand Kojouri

You might also like these boyfriend quotes that will give you butterflies.

Love of my life quotes celebrating genuine love

21. “Maybe I’m too late to be your first. But right now I’m preparing myself to be your last.” – Mr. Sid

22. “Chemistry is you touching my arm and setting fire to my mind.”- Nayyirah Waheed

23. “Two people in love, alone, isolated from the world, that’s beautiful.” – Milan Kundera

24. “True love is inexhaustible. The more you give, the more you have.” – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

25. “I love you every minute of my life; you`re my love and my life. Not all people are lucky to find the sense of their life. I am happy, cause I had found it when I met you – the love of my life.” – Rabindranath Tagore

26. “Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” – Robert A. Heinlein

27. “If you find me not within you, you will never find me. For I have been with you, from the beginning of me.” – Rumi

28. “To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow–this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.”- Elizabeth Gilbert

29. “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”- Maya Angelou

30. “We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness–and call it love–true love.”- Robert Fulghum

Love of my life quotes to make you smile

31. “One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.”- Sophocles

32. “They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.”- Tom Bodett

33. “To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.”- David Viscott

34. “I love you not because of who you are, but because of who I am when I am with you.”- Roy Croft

35. “There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.”- George Sand

36. “Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.”- Khalil Gibran

37. “Every person has to love at least one bad partner in their lives to be truly thankful for the right one.” – Anonymous

38. “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”- Robert A. Heinlein

39. “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach.”- Elizabeth Browning

40. “Come, let’s be a comfortable couple and take care of each other! How glad we shall be, that we have somebody we are fond of always, to talk to and sit with.”- Charles Dickens

Love of my life quotes that will make you smile

41. “A simple ‘I love you’ means more than money.” – Frank Sinatra

42. “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” – Aristotle

43. “If one day the moon calls you by your name don’t be surprised, because every night I tell her about you.” – Shahrazad al-Khalij

44. “I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone.”- Arwen

45. “There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.”- Sarah Dessen

46. “You know you are in love when the two of you can go grocery shopping together.” – Woody Harrelson

47. “It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together… and I knew it.”- Tom Hanks

48. “Love to me is someone telling me, ‘I want to be with you for the rest of my life, and if you needed me to I’d jump out of a plane for you.’”- Jennifer Lopez

49. “Love is a promise; love is a souvenir, once given never forgotten, never let it disappear.”- John Lennon

50. “If I know what love is, it is because of you.”- Hermann Hesse

Beautiful love of my life quotes

51. “I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.” – Pablo Neruda

52. “You make me want to be a better man.” – Melvin Udall

53. “I swear I couldn’t love you more than I do right now, and yet I know I will tomorrow.” – Leo Christopher

54. “I need you like a heart needs a beat.” – Unknown

55. “Loved you yesterday, love you still, always have, always will.” – Elaine Davis

56. “Thinking of you keeps me awake. Dreaming of you keeps me asleep. Being with you keeps me alive.” – Unknown

57. “I would rather spend one lifetime with you, than face all the ages of this world alone.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

58. ”I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than depression and I am braver than loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

59. “I love you, and I will love you until I die, and if there’s a life after that, I’ll love you then.” – Cassandra Clare

60. “My wish is that you may be loved to the point of madness.” – André Breton

61. “I choose you. And I’ll choose you over and over and over. Without pause, without a doubt, in a heartbeat. I’ll keep choosing you.” – Anonymous

62. “Love lets you find those hidden places in another person, even the ones they didn’t know were there, even the ones they wouldn’t have thought to call beautiful themselves.” – Hilary T. Smith

63. “You don’t love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.” – Oscar Wilde

64. “There’s noo says, ‘No matter what’s wrong with you, you’re welcome at this table.’” – Tom Hanks

65. “If rain drops were kisses, I’d send you showers. If hugs were seas, I’d send you oceans. And if love was a person I’d send you me.” – Emily Bronte

Memorable love of my life quotes

66. “Every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favorite.” – Unknown

67. “I’m not telling you it is going to be easy- I am telling you it is going to be worth it.” – Art Williams

68. “You rose into my life like a promised sunrise, brightening my days with the light in your eyes. I’ve never been so strong. Now I’m where I belong.” – Maya Angelou

69. “We were together even when we were apart.” – Shannon A. Thompson

70. “I will forever be there to laugh with you, to lift you up when you are down and to love you unconditionally through all of our adventures in life together.” – Unknown

71. “True love is your soul’s recognition of its counterpart in another.” –
John, from Wedding Crashers

72. “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” – Emily Bronte

73. “Fall in love with someone who makes you glad to be different.” – Sue Zhao

74. “I couldn’t have dreamed you into existence because I didn’t even know I needed you. You must have been sent to me.” – Kamand Kojouri

75. “Love is when you meet someone who tells you something new about yourself.”— Andre Breton

Other love of my life quotes that will make your day

76. “For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart.” – Unknown

77. “When someone loves you, the way they talk about you is different. You feel safe and comfortable.” ― Jess C. Scott, The Intern

78. “Every day that we spend together I find myself loving you more and more, my dear love.” – Unknown

79. “We loved with a love that was more than love.” – Edgar Allan Poe

80. “In all the world, there is no heart for me like yours. In all the world, there is no love for you like mine.” – Maya Angelou

81. “The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.” – Audrey Hepburn

82. “Grow old with me! The best is yet to be.” – Robert Browning

83. “Love is a two-way street constantly under construction.” – Carroll Bryant

84. “When you are with me, you make me perfect. I love you.”– Unknown

85. “Love is something eternal; the aspect might change, but not the essence.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Which of these “love of my life” quotes was your favorite?

Having the love of someone is one of the best feelings ever. It feels good to have a close relationship with someone you can always call upon.

When you’re in love with that special person, you get happiness because they treat you right. They make you feel loved and nurtured. Hopefully, the above quotes will help you appreciate true love.

Did you enjoy these “love of my life quotes?” Which of the quotes was your favorite? Tell us in the comment section below. We would love to hear all about it.

Being in love is one of the best feelings ever. Check out our collection of "love of my life quotes" that will help you appreciate genuine love.