Buddhism facts

Becoming a nun: rules and facts to know

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How to become a nun

Becoming a nun is a difficult process that takes a lot of time and sacrifice. The process itself varies from order to order.

Some orders have very strict requirements as to who can and cannot become a nun. For example, some Christian and Buddhist congregations require their nuns to be celibate, without children, and without debt.

Once you commit to an order, you will go through a “training” where you learn more about the faith, live with the other nuns of the order, and progress through various vows until you become a nun. in its own right. The whole process usually takes years.

What is the difference between a nun and a sister?

Many people use the terms “nun” and “sister” interchangeably. This is because a lot of nuns go through ‘Sister [Name]’. But there is actually a major difference between the two.

The term “nun” applies to women who have made a serious and solemn vow to live a simple life in a convent or monastery. Their lives are devoted to prayer and religious study. The sisters, on the other hand, make the vows much simpler. In addition, the sisters mainly focus on “works of mercy” such as charity, evangelism and evangelism.

Three nuns in robes looking at a stone wall

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Are there different types of nuns?

Yes, there are several kinds of nuns. First, nuns are divided by religion – Christianity (especially Catholicism), Buddhism, and other religions may have their own communities of nuns.

Second, the nuns within a faith are divided into “orders”, such as the Order of Saint Benedict, the Order of Saint Clare or the Sisters of Charity. While orders may share a general religion, each may approach faith from a different perspective or with a different focus.

What do the different styles of nuns dress mean?

Nuns usually wear a religious “dress” or clothing that distinguishes them as members of a specific order. These usually look like long dresses or tunics, plus a headpiece to cover the hair.

Nuns’ “uniforms” can be available in a variety of colors – black and white clothing is the most common, but colorful habits also exist, as in the case of the aptly named “Pink Sisters” or Sisters of the Church. worship of the Holy Spirit.

With a little knowledge and a keen enough eye, you can tell which order a nun belongs to (and, in some cases, whether she is a novitiate or a full-fledged nun) based on the habit she wears.

A young nun looking at the camera

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What do the nuns wear under their dress?

Some nuns, especially those who live in colder climates, may wear regular clothing under their habits. Others can only wear a t-shirt and shorts. In warmer countries, nuns can even wear underwear.

Nun rules you must follow

Since colleges can set their own guidelines, there isn’t one set of rules that all nuns must follow. Below are some of the most common restrictions that nuns (especially in the Christian tradition) must follow:

  • You have to take a vow of chastity which means you cannot get married or have sex / romance.
  • You have to take a vow of poverty, which means you have to live a simple life. In most cases, that means giving up your personal belongings (and any sense of “ownership”) and sharing what you have with your community. The nuns are not paid either; everything you earn (even outside labor) goes back to your order, unless otherwise authorized.
  • You must take a vow of obedience, which means that you make a commitment to follow the faith and your religious leaders.
  • You may need to take a vow of silence.
  • You should wear modest clothing when you are not wearing the habit of a nun.
  • Catholic nuns, as Pope Francis decreed, are not allowed to use smartphones or social media.
  • You cannot become a nun if you have been married before. Your marriage must first be called off (not “divorced”).
A Mexican Catholic Church

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Where do the nuns live? Where do they go after retirement?

Nuns who have taken solemn vows tend to live in cloistered communities, such as in a convent or monastery. In this way, they are separated from society and can engage in a religious life without distraction.

The nuns generally spend their whole life in their convent. “Retired” nuns may choose to remain in their order (some orders have retirement accommodation only for this purpose), or they may live in an outside retirement home or with their families.

What happens if a nun breaks her vows? Or get pregnant?

Technically, a nun can break her vows and / or leave the order whenever she wishes. There are also many opportunities to ‘give up’ to become a nun, for example when you are in the early stages and have only taken your ‘temporary vows’.

Unfortunately, the process of breaking your vows is long and complicated. If you do not follow this process (which involves dispensation from a bishop or other leader), it is considered a sin or a betrayal of the faith. Nuns who break the three main vows (chastity, obedience, poverty) can be dismissed from their community.

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Nun’s life

Becoming a nun is an important life decision that you shouldn’t take lightly – after all, it involves giving up the world you know for a life of devotion, prayer, and celibacy.

It is certainly not for everyone, and only a particular type of person would be able to make this commitment.