Is there any point to becoming a nun?


What good would it do a woman to be a nun? What good will it do for God?

I ask since Religious Life is a consideration for me but I don’t know if it’s worth it. Men need to be priests and they are needed. Priests can help save souls.
But a nun or a Sister, what’s the point? I can just pray all day as a single woman or help the poor single or married.

Please help me understand.

Thank you,

  • Rose.


Nuns save souls, set examples, sacrifice their own personal family life for a larger spiritual family, remind us of eternity versus immediate human wants, pray more often than most seculars, and teach Catholic Christian faith…I’m sure there’s more.


I think most of all, it is a matter of vocation.

What is God calling you to be? It is in following this vocation where your peace will come.

Two of the people I admire most in the world besides Jesus and Mary were both religious.

St. Catherine of Siena actually was a 3rd order Dominican, so she was sort of both, a lay person as well as a religious. Then, of course, I’m sure you know about St. Therese.

Meaning comes from discerning your true vocation. God has something specific in mind for you. Seek that.

God calls each one of us to a specific station in life. Then on an even deeper level, we each have what is called a personal vocation.

There have been some encyclicals written on the consecrated life in recent times. Maybe those would be helpful for you to read.


I think we should reverse your question… what evil would it do being a nun instead of a single woman? there are a FEW advantages in being a nun such as the beauty of a religious family, the specificity of a mission and way of life, and the three obligatory religious vows which are very pleasing to God. are there advantages of being a single woman over being a nun?


I must admit that, without disparaging the work or vocation of the many great nuns throughout the centuries, I can see no purpose for a celibate female religious order. My main caveat to this over-statement is that I am a man, and I think the brotherly religious orders nothing but a great waste as more priests are needed.
This said, I realise that my view is clouded by being “educated” by the Christian Brothers; (may Jesus find mercy for their souls).
I always believe that apart from the “great” orders; Jesuits, Dominicans,Franciscans; the average order survives for about a hundred years, or twice the average lifespan of their founders.
I also believe that you can judge the tree by its fruit. Many of the teaching orders that were sent to Australia left a generation of some-times abused Catholic children, under educated in their faith; mainly because they themselves were Irish immigrants with little or no education. Only the Dominicans, who taught at the exclusive Catholic private colleges actually educated women to take on medical and legal careers at a time when female participation in these professions were frowned upon.
In America the fruit can only be judged by the politicization of the female congregations, and their seeming lack of loyalty to Church authority. But I look from afar, and hope I am wrong in my assessment of their present contribution to the church.
In Australia I know personally, a lot of nuns who are working in the public service in houses of one or two nuns with little or no sense of community, their orders having collapsed around them. I know one nun who makes decorative candles she sells at the markets.
You can also judge the value of the teaching orders from the number of vocations their example engenders in their students. Thus the almost complete collapse of the Christian; Marist; and other teaching orders of brothers. The sexual abuse of the mentally retarded children under the care of the St. John of God brothers here in Victoria put paid to their order’s success.
No, in reassessing my understanding of the role of religious here in Australia I can honestly say that I see little value in continuing their support. But then again, I do not know any of my friends who would send their child to a Catholic school which actually had a religious brother actively teaching. Prudence for the safety of your child is essential to any good parent.


Concur with JamalChristophr. I doubt that you will find the answer to your question here. I would suggest approaching the diocesan vocations director or finding a spiritual adviser to help you with the discernment process. Maybe you are called to the religious vocation, or perhaps God has something else in store for you, but you will never know unless you work through the discernment process, which I understand is not quick or easy.

Even if you are called to the religious vocation, no doubt there will be further discernment into which Order is the one God wishes you to be?

Praying that you will discern His will.


Maybe listening to how the Dominican Sisters of St Cecelia answer the question would be helpful:

They are one of at least a handful of young, vibrant, growing, and well-grounded religious communnities for women in the U.S. (And I’m pretty sure, one can apply to these communities in spite of not being an American.)


I couldn’t disagree more! Think of cloistered nuns like The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration for example. These cloistered, contemplative nuns, are dedicated to the Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, where they pray unceasingly for the suffering, needs, and cares of all people. Do you realize how powerful that is? Hour on end before Jesus begging on behalf of us on the outside. And they serve no purpose? My friend, they are the unsung heroes of the Catholic Church! They are in my humble opinion, the glue that holds her together. Only when we reach the shores of heaven, will we fully realize the enormous impact these Sisters’ prayers and works had on all of our lives. These nuns, whether Poor Clares, Carmelites, Benedictines etc. live their lives behind monastery walls just like great Saints such as Therese of Lisieux did long ago. God Bless Them!

Peace, Mark


Hopefully, our site will help you understand:

We Cloisterites exist for the sake of the sanctification of the cloisters and their vocations. We also support emerging charisms through prayer.

You’re going through a process. As the song says, “keep on rolling with the flow.”

Pray the rosary and frequent the sacraments. Sometimes, only the grace of God can help us.



Volume after volume has been written about the benefit and virtue of religious life, and I know what little I can write here will not do justice to it, but I’ll consider a few aspects of it that may interest you.

First of all, religion has always been considered the most objectively perfect state of life, by its very design and its radical living of the evangelical counsels that most closely conformed to Christ. Thus, we do best considering it as what it is, rather than by what it does. Our mindsets today have this unfortunate way of looking at everything through a utilitarian or functionalistic glass, which does great injustice to a good many things. This is not to say that religious don’t do many things that are useful or necessary, but this is all subordinate to their primary purpose, which is becoming a living holocaust to God.

To give something of an idea, a missionary bishop once said that he would sooner ten contemplative religious praying for his missions than a hundred priests actively evangelizing. It was once revealed to St. Teresa of Avila that one of her prayers caused the conversion of thousands of souls. As has already been mentioned here, we’ll likely have no idea of their impact upon the world until the next world–that world which they are already starting to live here.

Some reading of some of the work written about the religious life might give you a broader perspective, as might some of the lives of those great many saints who were religious. As a particular patron in this mind, consider St. Gertrude of Nivelles, virgin and abbess of the Benedictine monastery of Nivelles near Brussels.

God bless.


I’m not sure how much of a reader you are, but I did want to post this link to St John Paul II’s Vita Consecrata (On Religious Life):

In the end, though, I think it’s a matter of the heart rather than the head. What is your heart telling you?


Somebody said to me recently: we don’t have a vocation crisis, we have an identity crisis. Religious orders, particularly, are lacking vocations because people don’t understand what it means to be in your case) a nun (or, more properly speaking, a religious sister). Yet, religious are needed just as much as priests are and are equally as capable to helping others to becoming holy by drawing them closer to God. They do this by devoting their whole lives (in terms of both time and labour) to the charism of their order (itself also linked to their particular identity). It’s ironic that Jesuits, Franciscans and Dominicans were referred to by an earlier posters since all three orders have brothers as well as priests. In fact, a Franciscan is a brother before he is anything else. In fairness, I never really understood this myself even though I was taught by religious brothers at school. I used to think, “why would a man want to be a brother when he could be a priest?” It’s only more recently that I’ve come to understand the true nature of the calling that the brothers who taught me have. They devote every aspect of their lives to education and, unlike lay teachers, don’t stop being teaching brothers when they go home at night.

May I suggest that you might like to investigate female religious orders a little further to gain a better understanding of what they do. Broadly, speaking all orders fall into two basic categories - active (or apostolic) and contemplative. In both cases their lives are centred around prayer and both do work, but basically the difference lies in the balance which a particular order strikes between these two fundamental elements of religious life.


Dear Mark, I am happily admonished. I had forgotten the cloistered nuns, and I agree they do wonderful spiritual work. A very hard vocation. Their prayers are indeed needed at a time of great trial for the church .


Would you say you disagree with active orders then?


I am afraid I see them in useless decay as noted in my first post. The world has changed and not for the better. however there are some orders that take on the world like the order set up by Mother Teresa, which I support financially in a little way. There are the healing orders which hold my respect that run the great Catholic hospitals. However I see a history of such abuse here in Australia amongst the teaching orders, which I saw personally, and which is coming out in the Royal Commission, and such a loss of vocations accordingly; I cannot see them but fail into history. I understand all the theology behind vocations and callings, however I would advise anyone wanting to join an order of brothers to look deeply for a vocational calling to the priesthood. We are in such dire need and the labourers are so few, such discernment would be wise.

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