How do I explain to my protestant friend what it means to become a religious sister or nun?

She is having trouble understanding what it means. And she is afraid that we won’t be able to be friends anymore if I become a nun or religious sister.

I always thought “being a bride of Christ” summed it up pretty good. You putting aside earthly marriage to be spiritually married in this life to Jesus our God and King. We as the church ( the spouse of Christ) all hope to have this mystical marriage after this life, but you once again personally refuse the earthly sacrament for your devotion to the eternal one.

I dunno, i’m a guy, just trying to think if someone would ask me what being a Catholic nun is all about.:shrug::smiley:

If she would end your friendship because you want to give yourself, body and soul, to Christ then that speaks fathoms of her spirituality. Hard to call oneself Christian and act so childish.

Perhaps your friend is thinking that you might become a cloistered nun and not be allowed contact with the outside? I think it all depends on what order you join. Being a Protestant and not knowing much about nuns, she sincerely may not know what to expect.

I don’t think being a “bride of Christ” is a very helpful metaphor to lead with when speaking to a Protestant. A Protestant will say, “but isn’t the Church the bride of Christ?” and be a bit freaked out with the idea of individual women being brides of Christ in the way that other Christians aren’t. I’m not saying that this is a bad way to talk about it, only that it shouldn’t be the first approach with a Protestant who is having difficulty understanding the concept.

Rather, I would say, “a sister is someone who wants to be totally consecrated to the Lord, because she loves Jesus so much. Some people are called to love Jesus in marriage and family life, and some people are called to give up these things in order to have more time for prayer and for service to others, especially the needy.” Stress that you don’t think you are superior to other people by accepting this calling–it’s just that this is the way Jesus is calling you to follow Him.

Point to 1 Corinthians 7, where Paul says that it’s better, if you can, to give up marriage in order to focus on the things of the Lord. It’s really quite a clear passage and it’s hard for Protestants to argue with, if you focus on the idea of loving Jesus and serving others and make it clear that you aren’t saying marriage and sex are bad or that you’re going to become some kind of “super-Christian” who is better than others. Those are typically the main Protestant worries, along with the big Protestant worry about all kinds of Catholic spiritual life, which is that you’re somehow trying to “earn your way to heaven.”

If your friend is an evangelical, she’ll get the idea of being “sold out” for Jesus. (Admittedly, I come from a Wesleyan Holiness background, which is a lot friendlier to this kind of thing than other kinds of Protestantism–but we’ve had a pretty big influence on evangelical Protestantism as a whole, in a diluted form, and most evangelicals will resonate with language about consecration and devotion as long as it’s put in terms of love for Jesus and God’s will for your life, and not in language that sets off the “alarm bells” I mentioned in the previous paragraph.)


Let her know you will still have access to a phone, e-mail, etc!

My guess is she is envisioning a very strict cloistered nun. Unless you are considering an order which will radically restrict your access to such things, reassure her :slight_smile:

No, she thought that I might not be allowed to be friends with her. Not that she would end our friendship over it.

She is not arguing against the idea, she just doesn’t understand it. I meant to type non-denominational, not protestant. She doesn’t belong to any particular Christian church. She was baptized and raised with Christian beliefs, but never went to any church.

Edwin is right. You need to use words that are in her vocabulary. He mentioned several that could resonate. Another phrase that may work is that the Holy Spirit has led you to this decision.

Or possibly, talk about how your relationship may change but that it would be a similar change if you got married to a man and had children. But she would never ask you not to marry the man you love.

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