What can religious sisters do besides teach and nurse?


I have been discerning religious life for about five years now, and as I discern which college to go to, I am naturally thinking about the many career paths that will follow. God has taught me to think of all these things as "mini" vocations - all part of the vocation to holiness.

But as I discern, I find it hard to see how I can best give my talents to God. For a time I thought I must give myself wholly to God in the convent, but -- and I don't mean this to be harsh -- I don't see any orders that have ministries that would suit my talents, and I fear I would be "wasted" in the convent. (Not that religious life is a "waste" AT ALL! I simply mean for me.)

More to the point: what can women religious do for the Catholic Church besides be teachers and nurses? Are we good for nothing more than schools, hospitals, and retreat houses?

If anyone knows of any orders that do different things, can you please let me know? I would really appreciate it. And please know that I do not mean to "look down" on any religious who teaches, nurses, runs retreats, etc. - these are beautiful ministries, I simply do not feel called to them.

So if anyone knows of any orders that:
-wear a habit
-live in community
-do something besides teach, nurse, or run retreats

Can you please link to them?

Blessings to all of you.


The only nun I've ever known well was a teacher, but she was an art teacher and a very talented artist at that. There are nuns involved in the pro-life movement; certianly a background in law would be helpful for that. Orders like Maryknoll could probably use young women fluent in multiple languages or skilled in engineering or other technical skills. The Missionaries of Charity in India run an orphanage and a home for unwed mothers. Other nuns hold positions in parishes and can manage schools, handle finances or administrative duties, etc.

Perhaps it would help if you told us what your talents are; maybe someone will be able to more readily identify an order with a charism that might suit you.


Thanks Nodito. I am gifted with languages and writing. (I am discerning a career in publishing so far as the lay life goes.)


Oh! You should look into the Daughters of St. Paul. They wear a habit, live in community (I think) and run a publishing house! Their nuns work in radio, editing, writing, etc.

God bless!


Yes, the Daughters of St Paul live in community and wear a modified (ie not long dress, long veil) habit.

To the OP, there are as many charisms in women's religious live as their are orders. Contemplitive orders (nuns) live in convents and are not active in the world as such - but inside their convent they may have other work including writing and publishing.

Active orders do all kinds of things. Teaching and nursing are huge fields that include everything from teaching preschoolers to running hospitals and universities. Missionary work and work with underprivileged people may include agriculture, legal work, even building.

Speak to the vocations director in your diocese and to any religious sisters that might be in your area. We have about 8 different orders working or living in our area. You'll find that even within an order, sisters may have very different responsibilities and work.


I met an Augustinian nun with a doctorate in law, specifically Church law. I would iterate what previous posters have mentioned about the Daughters of St. Paul with their mission of evangelization.


[quote="Mrs_Sally, post:5, topic:253861"]
Yes, the Daughters of St Paul live in community and wear a modified (ie not long dress, long veil) habit.


I was going to say this congregation, too.

Here's a link:


Dear fcbarcelonagirl:

I have been discerning religious life since 2008 but like you I am looking for a community with other ministries. If you want you can create a profile on vocationnetwork.org/match and/or vocationplacement.org and they will help you to find the right community for you. These websites: womenreligiousorders.blogspot.com/, catholiclinks.org/women1.htm and vocations.com/womenrel.html have many links of religious communities pages. But I want to share the link of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary:** piercedhearts.org/sctjm/who_we_are/@who_are_sctjm.htm**. They are in Miami, Florida and thir ministries are focused on adoration and evangelization.

God bless you! :)


[quote="fcbarcelonagirl, post:1, topic:253861"]

So if anyone knows of any orders that:
-wear a habit
-live in community
-do something besides teach, nurse, or run retreats

Can you please link to them?

Blessings to all of you.


Here are some orders that do something other than what you listed:

Little Sisters of St. Francis
--A semi-contemplative, non-cloistered order whose primary apostolate is prayer.

Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal
--A contemplative/active order that runs a soup kitchen and serves the homeless.

Sisters of Life
--Sisters whose primary apostolate is care of pregnant women who are at risk for abortion and who don't have a support system. They do NOT provide nursing care. They run many pro-life activities.

Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy (St. Faustina's order)
--Apostolate is giving talks and promoting Divine Mercy.

Daughters of the Immaculata
--Work at a Shrine taking care of the media, music, housekeeping, etc. They promote consecration to the Immaculate through St. Maximilian Kolbe.

Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate
--Run a food pantry and provide services for the poor and homeless, operate a Catholic bookstore, promoting Marian prayer

Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary
--Have apostolates in social service.

Sisters of Our Mother of Divine Grace
--Work in parish administration and youth groups.

Servants of the Blessed Sacrament
--Primary work is prayer and Adoration; also promote Eucharistic Adoration through their own centers.

Trinitarians of Mary
--Semi-contemplative, non-cloistered order whose primary role is prayer for priests and Adoration.


You have posed a difficult question because many of the Sisters work inside the community where these skills are needed.

I know the Sisters of life are pretty cool because they believe in the sacredness of life.

Sisters of St Anne are a community order but I am uncertain of their charisms. My former spiritual director who was from that order was a teacher as well as a counsellor.

Monastic Communities of Jerusalem (there is a location in Montreal,) the sisters do all sorts of things. The order works part time and they spend a lot of in mediation. You should contact them, their liturgies are amazing.

Here is a link to their liturgies.

If you are looking for a contemplative order. The Recluse Sisters are pretty awesome as well.

I hope this helps,


I have alway’s respected nuns, but I never knew what they did either, I always enjoyed being around them though.
However last night at a Steve Argisano Concert I heard a good story. This is not exactly his words, but I will try to remember.

Steve was at a youth event that had booths, His booth was right next to the vocation’s booth, so he was right next to the nuns all day (Forgot the Order). Anyway at the end of the day the nuns asked Steve out to dinner, so they went to a mexican restauraun called “On The Border” at the restaurant when they walked in, steve noticed people taking pictures of these nun discreetly and when the server came to take their order. One of the sisters said, please note that we eat simply. So he started asking what they wanted to drink, then one of the sisters started going on how wonderful it was that he was serving them as Christ would. And they waiter said “Oh I am Catholic.” it was Sunday so one of the sisters asked him if he had been ot mass, and he said no because of his job, and the sisters continued to thank him for serving him as christ would. So they asked him if he would like them to pray for him, and he said yes. So the sisters get out of the booth (or Chairs, I forgot) and kneel in the middle of the restaurant and pull out holy cards of saint’s. And they started thanking God for him to be serving them. And they started praying over them. And he said thank you.

Then one of the sisters reminded him that they ate simply, so he asked them if he wanted to get the manager so they can explain it to him. He went to go get the manager, and he came out.

To tell you the truth I forgot the rest of the story, but it ended up being that they got out again to pray over the manager. And at the end they also wanted to thank the cook because it was the best food they have had.

The cooks story to them was that he was born in mexico and that he had legally moved over to the United states, but he was departed from his family. And hadn’t seen his wife or kids in 7 years. So the nuns prayed over him in the middle of the restaurant kneeling.

Then a couple went up to them, and said we aren’t Catholic, but we have been trying to conceive, but nothing has worked, so the nuns got out some holy cards, knelt and prayed over them.

After they had left, they wanted to show steve their building but had to go to the grocery first. Steve was nervous because he wasn’t from they area and had to catch a plane. Well their van got stuck at a red light for a very long time. They had to sit through the light twice I think.

Well when they finally got to the grocery, they walked to the back and saw a woman crying. Her husband had just kicked her out of the house, she had no job, and no money, and no place to go. So they nuns gave her some money to buy food and a hotel room (I think). And the nuns prayed over her. Gave her their number so that she could call them to make arrangements to visit, so they could help her find a job and a place to live.

Yea that’s the end of the story, I highly reccomend if you get the chance to see steve argansono to go do it. It’s his story and can tell it exactly as it happened.


virtually any profession or apostolate a woman can do in the world can also be done, and has been done, by a religious sister.


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