There have been nuns who have been mystics. But that’s not what this is about. It has been common for religious freethinkers of various types to be labeled atheists by their religious opponents, and then claimed as such by atheists as well. But in many instances, these individuals are spiritual and may not sit comfortably in the “atheists” category.
It is interesting to see that Diana Butler Bass has suggested that this might in fact be typical of the category of “nones” in our own time.
For more, see Bob Cornwall’s review of Bass’ latest book, Grounded: Finding God in the World-A Spiritual Revolution.