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Thu Apr 14, 2016, 08:12 AM


What These New Catholic Sisters Wish You Knew About Religious Life

“We are human and no more holy than any other person.”

04/13/2016 11:25 am ET | Updated 18 hours ago
Carol Kuruvilla
Associate Religion Editor

For many people, the word “nun” conjures up a plethora of stereotypes — from images of a black-robed Julie Andrews whose contagious joie de vivre is a problem that needs to be solved, to the heart-wrenching cruelty of the nuns in “The Magdalene Sisters,” or the cartoonish naïveté of the nuns in “Sister Act.”

But the real lives of women religious, a phrase used to describe women who enter a Catholic religious order, are much more complex.

Catholic women who feel called to serve as women religious can become either nuns, whose prayerful lives revolve around a monastery, or sisters, who are engaged in the world as teachers, medical workers, counselors, social justice activists, and a number of other fields.

We are normal people who said yes to a call from God.
All women who enter this consecrated life traditionally take vows of poverty, obedience, and chastity — pledging to live simply and share their resources with other members of their religious community, be obedient to what God is calling them to do for the world, and to never marry in order to offer all of their love to those who are suffering. It’s a life that looks increasingly different from what many American women imagine for themselves.



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