Questions about nuns and religious sisters


The past few years I’ve really been thinking, I was raised in the South, where there were basically no Catholics. I was raised in a very Baptist family, but something got me hooked on the Catholic Church, and I plan to convert. Lately, I’ve been questioning God’s will for me, I’ve been considering becoming a sister after I convert. I have Googled things, and honestly I still have a few questions.

I found out that there are cloistered nuns and religious sisters who are active in the community, what I was wondering is, is a whole certain order either cloistered or active? For example, the Benedictine nuns are cloistered(I believe I’m really sorry if that’s wrong I’m still looking into and learning everything…:frowning: ) Could there be a Benedictine sister who was not cloistered? What orders are cloistered and what orders are active sisters? Just a few, I’m not expecting you to name them all…

Also, do they have to cut their hair or can they just put it up a certain way? And do they get to see their families(and, if so, how often?)

I’m sorry, I’m just really curious and considering this life. I probably don’t sound like the brightest bulb in the box, but I have no one else to ask, I’ve never even seen a nun in real life :frowning:


There are many different orders to choose from, just stay clear of the Nuns on the Bus. A group of dissident self-proclaimed Catholic nuns who travel around the Country supporting abortion.


The Rule of of Benedict is very flexible so that different ‘families’ of Benedictines use it as a basis for very different charisms. Some are very cloistered and contemplative and some are very involved in works. Some wear distinctive habits and some do not.

In general though I would say that most orders would be inclined to advise new converts to wait for at least a year after their reception into the Church before making decisions about a vocation to religious life. So you have plenty of time, God willing, to pray, reflect and do some research.

If you are especially interested in contemplative orders you might want to check out the Carmelites or the Poor Clares and spend some time considering what they say about themselves. There is a BBC series about a Poor Clare convent in England you might find interesting to watch


Many religious orders have both an “active” branch and a “contemplative” branch ( like Benedictines, Franciscans, Dominicans).

Some orders are only one or the other such as the Discalced Carmelites are only contemplative/cloistered.

How each contemplative branch defines “cloister” is up to their own constitutions---- some have a very strict cloister ( papal enclosure ) and others are much more relaxed regarding their interpretation of cloister.

There is a wide variety of enclosure/cloister amongst religious orders.


The criticism of Nuns on the Bus was that they were insufficiently anti-abortion in terms of their social justice message – not that they were pro-abortion, which they have denied, stating that they believe 100% that life begins at conception. In the minds of some they allegedly failed the anti-abortion litmus test because their main focus was on other issues.


There are so many communities out there. The link below has an extensive list. Most wear their hair natural, some pin it up a certain way, some wear habits, others don’t.

Have a read and if one order speaks to your heart, contact details are on the sites. You could email/call them directly for more accurate and in depth answers. Don’t believe the hype, nuns are not scary, :stuck_out_tongue: all the nuns I have met are wonderful women of faith and very easy to talk to.


My daughter is in Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. They are active but spend much time in cloistered areas.

They are a teaching order, so my daughter received her degree at Eastern Michigan University and now is teaching in a Catholic school in Buda TX. But when she is not teaching, she spends time in a mini convent with 3 other sisters.

It’s a fantastic order, very pro-life and I’m sure they will be going crazy this weekend when Pope JP2 is canonized. (They are huge fans of his).

I’ve met the leadership there and I love them all.

Good luck in your discernment!

John Marie Philomena


They campaign around the Country before every election EXCLUSIVELY supporting pro-abortion politicians. The sole purpose of their dog-and-pony-show is to sway Catholic voters to pro-abortion politicians.


Where are you located? Your diocese should have a list of communities represented within their boundaries. You may have seen nuns and just thought they were lay women.

Each spirituality has their own rule of life and whether or not a sister can visit her family is determined by that rule.





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