Sisters Focused on Science?



I love science, especially chemistry. Due to this I plan to major in Nanoscale science with an emphasis in chemistry because I have a strong feeling that this is the field in which major changes are going to be made to help the world. My only issue is I kind of feel like I may be called to living life as a religious sister. I am not for sure on if this is my calling for sure, as I am still early on in the discernment process, but I am still worried that if I become a sister I will be throwing away my degree. I am torn about the implications of this.

If I was to become a sister I would want to be in a community that wears a habit because to me it is important to have that visual mark for both me and the world to see as a reminder of my commitment. I was wondering if anyone knows of communities in existence that wear a habit and have a focus on science other than just teaching it because I feel this would help me further my discernment process.

Thanks for taking the time to read this!


Pray and try to get a spiritual director to help you in your discernment.

A good spiritual director is invaluable when it comes to discerning your vocation.


In all honesty, I can’t say that I have, other than teaching.

But I agree with the above poster. Get a good spiritual director to help in your discernment.


Go ahead with your studies. Yes, there are Sisters that will put you degree to good use and you can wear the habit, too. Remember, the focus will be on the spiritual life. Science would be the secondary commitment; a compliment to the religious life. Prayers.


That’s cool!
What communities are you thinking of? I would love to know for further referrence. :slight_smile:


Thank you for all the replies so far.

I am actually attending my a discernment event at one of our local parishes with a group of other ladies soon, so hopefully I shall receive some spiritual direction there.

To Mary Estelle’s comment, I am also curious which orders you are referring to. I know that spirituality would be my number one commitment, but one of the things I love most about living here on earth is getting to know more about God’s creation around us, in other words, science :slight_smile: There are many beautiful communities I have discovered through research on the internet, I have just not found any that would allow me to pursue this. Whatever path the Lord guides me down I will follow, I just need some guidance to figure it out to begin with :thumbsup:


Here in Indiana, the Sisters of Providence and the Sisters of the Holy Cross. They have many educated and working sisters as professors. I’ve had the pleasure of working with members of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, Sisters of St. Francis (Philadelphia), and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (St. Louis) as well.

All of these have been known around here to be a bit lax about habits (although many SP’s do wear theirs).


Whatever you do, don’t watch the “Nun’s Story.” :slight_smile:


That was my first thought, too. I adore Audrey Hepburn. But I don’t think the order was ever identified, though, if my understanding is correct, that it’s semi-biographical.

ETA: I check. Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary was the religious institution.


I’m sure there are some sister-scientists out there, though to my knowledge there are no orders that have the sciences as their particular charism (leaving education aside for a moment). I’ll have to agree with some of the other posters here, though; when you are a religious, you are a religious first, and whatever job you might hold in secular society second. Thus, spiritual direction is necessary to see how the Holy Spirit is truly prompting your soul.

I take it that you are at university? Talk to one of your chaplains there about finding a spiritual director. Moreover, if you’re in a larger Catholic university (or a major city), you might get opportunities to speak to many sisters. I’d encourage you to avail yourself of these.


Think about the Little Sisters of the Poor or Sisters of Mercy. The Sisters of Mercy have pretty much given up the habit, though. A few brainiacs in any apostolic community would be a good thing. Also, there are missionary sisters that would love to have a few Doctors and others that would love to have some teachers in the field of science. “Shop around.” Prayers.


That made me laugh!!! The Nun’s Story was a great movie for it’s time, 'though. Still laughing.:smiley:


You guys must have remembered that one scene where she was asked to fail an exam so that her pride wouldn’t get the best of her?

Sort of overdoing the pride bit, I thought. If God gave one a talent, then it behooves that person to use it, I would think. Why else would He have given it to her?


Absolutely remember it.
If you also remember, her next superior told her it was wrong for her former superior to make such a request.

But one thing I have learned from Bro. JR. is that when it comes to the vow of obedience for consecrated religious, as long as they are not commanding one to sin, they must obey.

That would be so tough for me, that kind of obedience and humility. :eek:


I think it would be tough for most of us. After all, we’re taught to excel. It’s bad enough that many already have developed an inferiority complex along the way but to be asked not to pursue a talent at all, that’s probably done more from a jealous motive. But then I’m not religious enough to know for sure.


The OP could get into a community that focuses on science, or anything else for that matter, and then be assigned by the superior to clean toilets or scrub pots and pans.

Anyone who joins a religious community submits to the superior in imitation of Christ who said, “***nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.***.”



I endorse this wholeheartedly. The big question for the OP must then be: do I really want to be a scientist? Or do I really want to be a religious? You could be doing scientific research at a big university after taking vows, but would you be ready to put that behind you and move on if Mother Superior said she needed you to teach science at a high school for a few semestres, or even do domestic service for a year if she thinks your research is inflating your ego?

The point of the counsel of obedience is to put aside one’s secular ambitions and any sense of careerism for the greater glory of God, trusting in His will for your needs and those of the Church and of the world always.


Nice to meet a fellow science lover. I pretty much suck at chemistry but I love physics and math. I have degree in Physics.

When you study science you study divine order affording us the opposition to become more intimate with the beauty of God’s creation and God .


Opposition or opportunity? :slight_smile:


Opportunity. I blame spell check.

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