It has been a colourful life packed with drama, emotion and surprising twists, but few would imagine Tessa Dahl as a Bride of Christ.Share
But she has been living at Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut, for more than a month now. Despite an exotic past, Tessa is already following the Benedictine strictures, or some of them at least.
She is learning to make butter, spin yarn and is generally preparing herself for what she describes as a complete commitment to God.
There are sceptics, naturally – they recall the years Tessa spent at the feet of an Indian guru, accompanied by her young daughter.
But today, as Tessa explains why she wishes to enter a closed community of nuns, there is a different, more compelling logic than mere attention-seeking.
There is, for example, her estrangement from Sophie, apparently caused when Tessa made some unguarded comments to the Press.
More pertinently, Tessa’s mother, the actress Patricia Neal, to whom she was so close, has recently died, leaving her bereft.
A woman who has spent her adult life struggling with herself and those around her seems finally to have found the one place ready to embrace her confusing world – Regina Laudis, the very institution that cared for her late mother as she entered her declining years.