Two questions...

I have a daughter who is learning about the religious life for women. She has two questions:

  1. Do you have to go to college to become a Sister?
  2. Who was the first person to become a nun?

Thanks for any help you can give her. She’s 15, by the way.

  1. Depends on the community. Some require only a high school diploma. Others with apostolates that require degrees either ask that you have a degree or they send their sisters to college.

  2. No one knows who the first nun was. Nuns came about around the 4th century. Prior to nuns, there were hermits and consecrated virgins. The first consecrated virgin was the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the Church now, we have religious men and women (monks, nuns, brothers, sisters, friars, etc.), consecrated virgins, hermits (male and female), and members of secular institutes.

Mary may have been the first consecrated virgin of the Church, but if we go by some historians, consecrated virgins preceded Mary in the Jewish culture.

Perhaps there were virgins in the Jewish culture- but Mary is what we consider the first **consecrated **virgin because the Holy Spirit overshadowed her as Virgin, Bride, and Mother. No other religious traditions have this- be they Jewish, Vestal Virgins or others. Consecrated virgins receive the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. This is what differentiates CVs from those who are not consecrated. Of course, this is all neither here nor there as the OP had asked about NUNS and not CVs. It is encouraging to know that there are parents out there who want to know these things for their children. Maybe if their daughters know of consecrated virginity at an early age, they will not lose their eligibility through fornication.

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