Introduction

You’re wondering:  how do you become a nun?  The steps for entering a Religious Community are less familiar than the steps for getting married (even though no one calls it that).  We’ll describe the process for incorporation into a Religious Community by making some analogies between that and getting married.  First you have to get to know religious.

“Getting to know you”

The first stage of the process is “getting to know you.”  We compare this to the “getting to know you” phase of dating.  People usually meet the person they may eventually marry in social groups in which they “get to know” a variety of different people.

Of course, the first inkling to thinking about Religious Life comes by way of a sense that you feel drawn to follow Christ more closely.  You feel an inspiration to join with others who are like-minded to live a life of prayer, community, and service to the People of God and to the church.  Prior to actually entering a community you usually take some time to get to investigate the kinds of Religious Communities that serve the church.

So what are those differences?  One is the size of the community.  Some are large international groups with members who serve in many places across the globe:  the developed world, in developing areas and in mission lands.  Other communities are rather small and serve a particular geographic area.

A second difference is the kind of community life that members live.  Some live in contemplative communities.  That is, their primary focus is prayer and the common life.  Others live in apostolic communities.  For these, the primary focus is service or ministry while living the common life and sharing common prayer.  Our focus here with be apostolic communities.

A third difference (at least among apostolic groups) is the kind work that sisters do.  In some communities everyone shares a similar work.  Traditional forms of work for sisters include education and health care.  Other communities, while having some members who continue in the tradition works, have expanded beyond those to other forms of pastoral ministry including work in parishes, work as chaplains in hospitals and nursing homes, work with the homeless and others who live on the edges of society:  those living with HIV/AIDS, the incarcerated, immigrants and those oppressed by human trafficking.

All of those aspects of Religious Communities can be described pretty concretely.  And that is a good place to start.  But when you are trying to decide about a particular community, you also need to see if the community “fits” you.  Do you feel comfortable in their space?  Do you like the people you meet?

One other thing, just like dating, both sides are making decisions at this point:  an individual tries to get to know the community and the community gets to know the individual.

20 Comments

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  1. Get to know some Sisters in your city….volunteer with them…that will help you begin your quest

  2. Since I was little, I used to think about becoming a Sister. I used to watch a movie called “Holy Baby” when I was 3 years old (It teaches kids the prayers of the Rosary). When I was about 9, I received a pre-teen girls’ Devotion Book for Christmas. I am 14 and involved in Youth Ministry at my church, and I really like it. When I was reading the comments here, I remembered having a dream a while back, (that I was looking in a mirror and putting on the black veil that Nuns wear. And smiling.) I also remembered that the dream startled me because I was so indecisive about becoming a Nun or getting married…

  3. get to know the Sisters in your community…volunteer with them….first step to discern…getting to know….

  4. I have felt God calling me to investigate religious life for about a year now. I have spoken briefly with my dioceses’ vocations director, but haven’t persued anything we discussed.

    I have a deep love for Jesus, but have been reluctant to tell people my interest in the consecrated life.

    Do you have any advice for me or information on what religious life is really like? Thank you sister!

  5. Some communities accept older candidates. Get to know the Sisters in your locale. Volunteer with them. Pray with them. And then discern God’s call.

  6. No, you are not too old. Get to know Sisters in your area….see how they serve and live….pray for God’s inspiration….

  7. Seeing the Pope in my city (on TV) reminds me that I am not getting any younger. I’ve been aware that I am given the gift of service for many years, and as a teen, wished to become a Sister, but life’s distractions have always been pulling me in other directions. I’ve personally financed service projects to many places world wide, but wish I could work with an established community, that doesn’t just do good things, but also has dedicated their lives to service in Jesus’s name. Now, I am 50, single, and am wondering if I am too old to seek a vocation?

  8. Dear Sister I am 67 years old and in excellent health. I am interested in entering the life of a Nun. Please tell me if my age could keep me from being able to continue my journey.

  9. There are some communities who do receive “older” candidates. Get to know the sisters in your area. Volunteer with them. This may help you in your discernment.

  10. I am feeling a call by God, but am in the dark as to what or where the Hound of Heaven troubles my heart. I am 69, which may be too old.

  11. Find sisters in your area…get to know them….volunteer…then you will know if this is God’s wish for you

  12. I want to become a nun, where do I begin?

  13. We mature in our faith journey and at a point in life, we begin to fall in love with God who already loves us. May you be blessed as you continue this journey

  14. When i was in my 20s i never really thought of christ now in my 30’s and gone through bad times i know god does love me just as i love him and am hoping to one day make him proud and become a nun just as many other young girls have.

  15. You will need to search in the UK…there are Ursulines there as are other communities. Look into your diocese for assistance.

  16. I am a Portuguese citizen living and studying in the UK. I feel that I am not living the life I was born to live. I hear God calling me to my real life: a life devoted to Him, but I do not know how to answer. I will never find peace until I do, though. I need to take action. Will only UK based religious orders consider me or would may I look for my life elsewhere? Thanks

  17. try contacting this sister in Anchorage.Sister Jean Pyper
       
    5125 Rhyner Court #1
    Anchorage, AK  99508
    907‐337‐1903

    she might be helpful in your discernment

  18. One does not need to be a sister to be engaged in helping others. There are communities of nuns who engage volunteers intheir ministries. Get to know some sisters in your area. You never know what might happen! Your age is not a deterent!

  19. Hello. I have always loved being a part of Christian living every since I was young. I always wanted a life that involved simple things that I would not have to stress about. I thought about being a nun at a young age but now I am 41 years old. I am so tired of the craziness in the world that a life of being devoted to helping others would be the best medicine for me. I love that. I just wished I had took the step sooner to want to know more about a life of being a blessing among others in helping people in need.

  20. I have been wondering since 2005 about becoming a nun, I have taken steps towards it, but I have not met any nuns since I was in high school. I pray every night, I work for people in need, I decided to return to school with the hope of giving more to my community, where should I start. i live in Anchorage, Alaska. There is something always missing and there is also a very striking dream that I had years ago connected to Michael Archangel that I remember every single day of life. Do you have any advice for me?

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