When Did Nuns And Monks Come On The Scene?


#1

It was pointed out to me recently that in the early Christian Church there were no nuns or monks. When did this come about and why?
I’m having a hard time now understanding the purpose for nuns. Priests, yes I see, because they lead parishes, churches, teach and proclaim the word, but what do nuns do? WHY do they feel a need to abandon life in such a hermit state? I really don’t get it. I see them on EWTN, chanting the rosary, and I can’t help feeling “shouldn’t they all get a life”? I just do not undersand their purpose at all. They all seem to me to be unahppy, miserable women. :frowning:


#2

[quote=sparkle]It was pointed out to me recently that in the early Christian Church there were no nuns or monks. When did this come about and why?
[/quote]

They may not have been called nuns or monks, but there have been people who chose to remain celibate and in poverty in order to do the work of the Lord from the very beginning.


#3

[quote=sparkle]I just do not undersand their purpose at all. They all seem to me to be unahppy, miserable women. :frowning:
[/quote]

Nuns and monks are some of the happiest people I have ever met. They have devoted their whole lives to Christ. They pray for all of us almost non-stop besides helping the poor, etc. They are a shining example that all you need in life is Jesus.


#4

St. Anthony (a hermit in the desert) was around 250-300 AD, I think. My memory could be off on this. People followed his example. Try checking out his life. He will be called Saint Anthony of the Desert.


#5

[quote=Genesis315]Nuns and monks are some of the happiest people I have ever met. They have devoted their whole lives to Christ. They pray for all of us almost non-stop besides helping the poor, etc. They are a shining example that all you need in life is Jesus.
[/quote]

Hummmm really…I ask you what do nuns do that is so wonderful???


#6

tradition has it that Mary Magdalen retired to the desert to live an an austere eremitic life and became the first “desert mother”, gathering others around her who desired the same simple austerity of a life of prayer and work for daily sustenance. The early Church is full of examples of men and women who withdrew from society, emulating either Christ in the desert or John the Baptist, some of whom adopted extreme penitential habits, such as Simon Stylites. There were communities of both men and women as early as the second century, and early rules for governing these communities from Basil, Augustine, John Cassian, Anthony and others. The tradition of monks and nuns in the Eastern Church is equally strong, and dates very early, and we have fragments of some of their early writings.

The mistaken impression that nuns or monks are unhappy people living unfulfilled lives shows the danger of relying on first impressions, or judging other people’s lives by our own standards of happiness and success. The writings of those nuns and monks who became saints abound with joy and happiness.


#7

[quote=puzzleannie]tradition has it that Mary Magdalen retired to the desert to live an an austere eremitic life and became the first “desert mother”, gathering others around her who desired the same simple austerity of a life of prayer and work for daily sustenance.
[/quote]

Yes, I was going to bring her up but I couldn’t remember if I was just making it up or not :stuck_out_tongue:


#8

[quote=puzzleannie]tradition has it that Mary Magdalen retired to the desert to live an an austere eremitic life and became the first “desert mother”, gathering others around her who desired the same simple austerity of a life of prayer and work for daily sustenance. The early Church is full of examples of men and women who withdrew from society, emulating either Christ in the desert or John the Baptist, some of whom adopted extreme penitential habits, such as Simon Stylites. There were communities of both men and women as early as the second century, and early rules for governing these communities from Basil, Augustine, John Cassian, Anthony and others. The tradition of monks and nuns in the Eastern Church is equally strong, and dates very early, and we have fragments of some of their early writings.

The mistaken impression that nuns or monks are unhappy people living unfulfilled lives shows the danger of relying on first impressions, or judging other people’s lives by our own standards of happiness and success. The writings of those nuns and monks who became saints abound with joy and happiness.
[/quote]

Hi Puzzleannie: Thx. Hear ya! I’m just really trying to find out. I know that men who were priests, who were acting and are acting such “In Personna Christae” do indeed have a purpose. They are acting in place of our Lord, in churches, etc., proclaiming what Jesus taught and leading us all, congregations, parishes, etc., to such. I just don’t see “nuns” today as having any real purpose. They lock themselves away in convents. For what? The ones I have met seem like (Edited by moderator as offensive), and just have retreated to solitude. A sad thought. So could someone answer my question, what is their purpose?


#9

[quote=sparkle]Hummmm really…I ask you what do nuns do that is so wonderful???
[/quote]

Regular single or married people have to devote a lot of their lives to jobs and their families. This is all well and good, but nuns, sacrifice those things, in order to devote their lives to prayer and doing the work of Christ that isn’t possible if you have a family or a full time job. If you don’t think a life that devotes every waking hour to prayer and Christian work is wonderful, why are you even a Christian to begin with?


#10

[quote=sparkle]They lock themselves away in convents. For what? The ones I have met seem like (Edited by moderator as offensive), and just have retreated to solitude. A sad thought. So could someone answer my question, what is their purpose?
[/quote]

They pray in the convent. If you don’t think prayer is powerful, you need to reevaluate your Christian life. I also think using that kind of language to describe people who have devoted their lives to Christ is reprehensible.


#11

[quote=Genesis315]They pray in the convent. If you don’t think prayer is powerful, you need to reevaluate your Christian life. I also think using that kind of language to describe people who have devoted their lives to Christ is reprehensible.
[/quote]

WHEN, in our early Christianity, did they come about? The early Christians all were married and lead the family life. What lead to such?


#12

[quote=Genesis315]They pray in the convent. /QUOTE]

OK----SO? I pray in my home. Still do not understand their retreat from real life here----------and still do not understand the purpose at all of being a nun. A Priest–yes, a nun, NO.
[/quote]


#13

A hermits life, is not about the hermit.
The consequences of volunteering can be unusual.
The desert hermit (whose name escapes me) was fed each day with a piece of bread carried to him by a raven.
When he died, a pair of lions ambled out of the desert, dug his grave and burried him.


#14

But they pray constantly without distraction. They’re not retreating from real life. If you don’t think life in Christ is real, you need to reevealuate the purpose of your own life.


#15

[quote=sparkle] So could someone answer my question, what is their purpose?
[/quote]

Their purpose is to respond to the call of God: heart, mind, soul and flesh and through their entire oblation of themselves to unite with him in his love of the whole world. Their purpose is to pray for your immortal soul and mine, and for all of those who have no one to pray for them.

So, sparkle, you still have a little way to come in appropriating Catholic “culture,” huh? Takes a while!


#16

[quote=sparkle]Hi Puzzleannie: Thx. Hear ya! I’m just really trying to find out. I know that men who were priests, who were acting and are acting such “In Personna Christae” do indeed have a purpose. They are acting in place of our Lord, in churches, etc., proclaiming what Jesus taught and leading us all, congregations, parishes, etc., to such. I just don’t see “nuns” today as having any real purpose. They lock themselves away in convents. For what? The ones I have met seem like (Edited by moderator as offensive), and just have retreated to solitude. A sad thought. So could someone answer my question, what is their purpose?
[/quote]

Are you kidding me…? You would do well to pick up some writings of nuns and monks, and see if their lives are so awful.

Here are some recommendations:

St. Faustina Kowalska
St. Therese of Lisieux
St. Teresa of Avila
Philokalia (a collection of writings mostly written by eastern christian monks/hermits)

Our purpose in life is to devote our lifes to Christ and be in communion with him, the religious do exactly that. They are shining examples for us, and they point us to our final destination, which is heaven where we will devote our whole lifes to praising God. They are also prayer warriors for the Church, they are the heart of the Church.


#17

The lives of Religious serve as a radical witness to the Eschaton by embracing the Evangelical Counsels to poverty, chastity and obedience. Their lives remind us of “the better part that will not be taken away.”


#18

There’s an interesting part in Theology of the Body that describes how people like nuns kind of skip this earthly life and go straight to living in the kingdom of God that is still to come. I probably didn’t do a good job of explaining, but I would suggest reading a book or two by Christopher West.


#19

[quote=sparkle]Hummmm really…I ask you what do nuns do that is so wonderful???
[/quote]

Growing up I saw nuns working in the hospital, nursing and acting as nurse aides, teaching, running a home for the elderly, playing the organ at church, cleaning and repairing vestments. I know nuns that are artists, authors, musicians, song writers, run offices at the Catholic charities, pray, run shrines, work in art museums,and generally minister to folks of all ages while serving as a visible witness for a life devoted to Christ.

cheddar


#20

[quote=sparkle]Hi Puzzleannie: Thx. Hear ya! I’m just really trying to find out. I know that men who were priests, who were acting and are acting such “In Personna Christae” do indeed have a purpose. They are acting in place of our Lord, in churches, etc., proclaiming what Jesus taught and leading us all, congregations, parishes, etc., to such. I just don’t see “nuns” today as having any real purpose. They lock themselves away in convents. For what? The ones I have met seem like (Edited by moderator as offensive), and just have retreated to solitude. A sad thought. So could someone answer my question, what is their purpose?
[/quote]

They share the same purpose as any of the faithful, to serve as the body of Christ in this world.

cheddar


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