How Do You Become A Nun In The Catholic Church

By Paul King •  Updated: 10/03/23 •  16 min read

In the Catholic Church, the vocation of becoming a nun is highly esteemed, representing a profound commitment to a life dedicated to spiritual devotion and service. The process of becoming a nun is guided by relevant facts and quotes from the Bible, which provide a solid foundation for understanding and pursuing this divine calling.

One can find inspiration in the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who responded to God’s call with unwavering faith and obedience. In the Gospel of Luke, Mary humbly accepts her role as the handmaid of the Lord, saying, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word’ (Luke 1:38). Her example teaches us the importance of surrendering ourselves to God’s will and embracing the path He has set before us.

Before embarking on the journey to become a nun, it is essential to discern this calling through prayer, contemplation, and seeking guidance from spiritual mentors. Just as Jesus spent forty days and nights in the wilderness, fasting and praying before beginning His ministry (Matthew 4:1-11), it is crucial for prospective nuns to take time for introspection and spiritual preparation.

To proceed with the process of becoming a nun, one must meet certain prerequisites. These may include being a baptized Catholic woman, possessing a genuine desire to live a life of celibacy, having good physical and mental health, and obtaining the necessary educational qualifications. These prerequisites ensure that individuals are ready to embrace the challenges and responsibilities that come with the vocation.

Once the prerequisites are met, the formation process begins. This period of spiritual and practical training allows individuals to deepen their understanding of the Catholic faith and develop the necessary skills to live a life of service. Just as Jesus taught His disciples through parables and personal encounters, the process of formation often involves studying the Scriptures, participating in communal prayer, and engaging in acts of service to others.

During the formation process, candidates for the religious life take temporary vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. These vows are rooted in biblical teachings and serve as a solemn commitment to imitate Christ’s sacrificial love. Jesus Himself said, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 5:3), reminding us of the importance of detachment from material possessions and embracing a life of simplicity.

Once the period of temporary vows is completed, candidates may take their final vows, making a lifelong commitment to God and the Church. This commitment is reflected in the words of the Apostle Paul, who wrote, ‘I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me’ (Galatians 2:20). Through their final vows, nuns dedicate themselves entirely to serving God and His people.

As nuns, their duties and responsibilities encompass a wide range of activities, including prayer, worship, teaching, caring for the sick and needy, and spreading the message of God’s love. Just as Jesus instructed His disciples to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’ (Matthew 28:19), nuns strive to share the Gospel and bring others closer to God through their words and actions.

In conclusion, the process of becoming a nun in the Catholic Church is a sacred journey guided by the teachings of the Bible. By discerning God’s will, meeting the prerequisites, undergoing formation, taking vows, and embracing the duties and responsibilities of a nun, individuals can answer the divine call to a life of spiritual devotion and service. May the stories and teachings of the Bible continue to inspire and guide those who seek this noble vocation.

Key Takeaways

Understanding the Vocation of Becoming a Nun

The vocation of becoming a nun is a sacred calling that requires a deep commitment to religious life and adherence to the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church. As it is written in the book of Isaiah 6:8, ‘Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!”

This calling requires spiritual discernment, as individuals must carefully discern whether they are being called by God to dedicate their lives to serving Him through a life of prayer, contemplation, and service. It is a decision that should not be taken lightly, and seeking guidance from experienced spiritual directors is crucial. As Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.’

One biblical example of a woman who answered the call to religious life is Mary, the mother of Jesus. In Luke 1:38, Mary humbly accepted God’s plan for her life, saying, ‘I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Her willingness to surrender her own plans and desires serves as an inspiration to those considering the vocation of becoming a nun.

Once the decision to pursue the vocation of becoming a nun is made, it requires a deep commitment and sacrifice. As Jesus said in Matthew 16:24, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’ Nuns willingly give up personal possessions, relationships, and worldly pursuits to fully devote themselves to God and the Church. They embrace a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience, following the example of Jesus Christ.

The story of the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-22 serves as a reminder of the importance of detachment from worldly possessions. When the young man asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus told him to sell all his possessions and give to the poor. While this specific command may not apply to everyone, it highlights the significance of letting go of material attachments in order to fully embrace the calling of becoming a nun.

In addition to the virtues of poverty, chastity, and obedience, nuns embrace a life of simplicity and humility. Jesus himself said in Matthew 18:4, ‘Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’ By living a simple and humble life, nuns strive to imitate the humility of Jesus and find joy in serving others.

Transitioning into the subsequent section about the prerequisites and requirements for becoming a nun, it is important to understand the specific prerequisites and requirements that individuals must meet to embark on this sacred path of religious life. Through prayer, discernment, and study of the Holy Bible, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of God’s calling and the sacrifices required to become a nun.

Prerequisites and Requirements for Becoming a Nun

A comprehensive understanding of the prerequisites and requirements is essential for individuals seeking to enter religious life as nuns within the Catholic tradition. As mentioned in Matthew 19:21, Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ This verse highlights the importance of renouncing personal possessions as nuns commit themselves to a life of poverty.

Becoming a nun is not a decision to be taken lightly; it requires deep reflection and discernment. In Proverbs 3:5-6, it is written, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.’ This verse reminds us that a spiritual calling is often the initial impetus for women to consider this vocation. It is a profound desire to dedicate their lives to God and serve the Church through a life of prayer, service, and sacrifice.

The process of discernment and formation in the Catholic Church is crucial in assisting individuals in assessing their suitability for religious life. In 1 Timothy 4:14, it is written, ‘Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders.’ This verse emphasizes the importance of seeking guidance and support from experienced religious leaders during this journey of discernment.

Personal sacrifices are inherent in this path, as nuns commit themselves to a life of chastity and obedience. In 1 Corinthians 7:34, it is written, ‘An unmarried woman or a virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit.’ This verse highlights the renouncement of romantic relationships and personal autonomy in order to fully surrender themselves to God and the religious community.

Throughout the Bible, we find numerous stories that exemplify the dedication and sacrifice required to become a nun. The story of Mary, the mother of Jesus, serves as a powerful example of a woman who dedicated her life to God’s plan. In Luke 1:38, Mary said, ‘I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Her obedience and willingness to serve as the mother of Jesus demonstrate the selflessness and surrender necessary for a life as a nun.

The Process of Discernment and Formation in the Catholic Church

The Process of Discernment and Formation in the Catholic Church

Discernment and formation in the Catholic Church is a sacred journey that requires individuals to assess their suitability for religious life. It is a process that is deeply rooted in the guidance of spiritual directors and the teachings of the Holy Bible. As we embark on this journey, let us explore the key elements of discernment and formation, supported by relevant facts and quotes from the Bible.

  1. Spiritual guidance during the discernment process:
    Aspiring nuns are blessed to receive spiritual guidance from experienced mentors who walk alongside them on their path to religious life. Just as Jesus called his disciples, these mentors help individuals explore their call to religious life and discern if they are being called by God to become a nun. Proverbs 11:14 reminds us that ‘Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.’ Through the wisdom and discernment of their spiritual directors, individuals can navigate the challenges and uncertainties that arise during this process.

  2. Community support and sisterhood during formation:
    During the formation period, candidates live in community with other women who are also discerning a religious vocation. This sense of community provides a nurturing environment where support, encouragement, and opportunities for growth in faith and virtue abound. The early Christian community described in Acts 2:42-47 serves as a powerful example of the importance of community in fostering spiritual growth. Together, these women learn from one another, pray for one another, and inspire each other to deepen their relationship with God.

  3. Prayer and reflection:
    Throughout the discernment and formation process, individuals are encouraged to deepen their relationship with God through prayer, reflection, and contemplation. The power of prayer is beautifully expressed in Philippians 4:6-7, which reminds us to ‘not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ By devoting time to prayer and reflection, individuals open their hearts to God’s will and seek His guidance in their discernment journey.

Now, let me share a factual story from the Bible to illustrate the transformative power of discernment and formation. The story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42 provides valuable insights into the importance of discerning God’s will and prioritizing our spiritual formation. When Jesus visited their home, Martha busied herself with serving, while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, listening to His teachings. Martha, feeling burdened, asked Jesus to tell Mary to help her. However, Jesus responded, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’ This story emphasizes the significance of prioritizing spiritual formation and discerning God’s will above all else.

As the discernment and formation process progresses, candidates who feel called to religious life may then proceed to take the sacred vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. These vows symbolize their commitment to a life of service and dedication to God’s will. Let us remember the words of Isaiah 6:8, where the prophet Isaiah humbly responds to God’s call, saying, ‘Here am I! Send me.’ May we all be inspired by the stories and teachings of the Bible as we discern and embrace our own unique calling in the Catholic Church.

Taking the Sacred Vows: Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience

Taking the sacred vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience is a profound decision rooted in the teachings of the Holy Bible. In Matthew 19:21, Jesus said to the rich young man, ‘If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.’ This verse exemplifies the importance of detaching oneself from material possessions and embracing poverty as a means of deepening one’s relationship with God.

Furthermore, in 1 Corinthians 7:32-34, the apostle Paul speaks of the benefits of choosing a life of chastity. He states, ‘I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided.’ By renouncing sexual relationships, individuals are able to direct their love and affection solely towards God and the spiritual well-being of others, allowing for a deeper connection with the divine.

Obedience, as a sacred vow, finds its roots in numerous biblical passages. In 1 Peter 5:5, it is written, ‘Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” This verse emphasizes the importance of submitting to the authority of the religious community, fostering humility and a willingness to serve. Additionally, in John 14:15, Jesus says, ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments.’ This highlights the significance of obedience as an expression of love and devotion to God.

To illustrate the profound impact of these sacred vows, let us turn to the story of Mary and Martha. In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus visits the home of Mary and Martha. While Martha busily attends to the tasks of serving, Mary sits at the feet of Jesus, listening intently to his teachings. When Martha complains to Jesus about Mary’s lack of help, Jesus gently reminds her that Mary has chosen the better path. This story reveals the importance of prioritizing a relationship with God above worldly duties and responsibilities, which is at the core of embracing poverty, chastity, and obedience.

Life as a Nun: Duties, Responsibilities, and Spiritual Growth

Life as a nun is a divine calling that involves fulfilling various duties, responsibilities, and opportunities for spiritual growth within the context of a religious community. As we embark on this holy journey, we find solace and guidance in the teachings of the Bible.

One of the central aspects of a nun’s life is the structured daily routine, which revolves around prayer, work, and study. As it is written in Psalm 119:105, ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.’ This routine provides a framework for our spiritual development, allowing us to deepen our connection with God and His teachings.

Within the community, nuns live together in a convent, sharing a common purpose and supporting one another in their journey towards holiness. As the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, ‘Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.’ This sense of community fosters love, compassion, and mutual support, creating an environment conducive to spiritual growth.

In our communal life, we engage in communal prayer and worship, as it is written in Matthew 18:20, ‘For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.’ Through our collective prayers, we draw closer to God and strengthen our faith. Additionally, we participate in communal work, following the example of Jesus Christ, who said in Matthew 25:40, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ We care for the sick, teach, and serve others, embodying the virtues of humility, patience, and kindness.

To understand the depth of our commitment, let me share with you the story of Mary, a devoted nun who found inspiration and strength in the Bible. Mary faced numerous challenges in her journey, but she always turned to the Word of God for guidance. In times of doubt, she found solace in Psalm 46:10, which says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’ This verse reminded her to trust in God’s plan and find peace amidst the storms of life.

Mary’s dedication to her duties and responsibilities as a nun was unwavering, and she often recited Philippians 4:13, ‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me.’ This verse empowered her to overcome obstacles and persevere in her spiritual growth.

Paul King

I post written versions of my powerful sermons exploring topics like prayer, praise, biblical truths, and more expressions of faith. My church has a deeply spiritual culture, which I try to convey through vivid storytelling and applications in our everyday life. I spread the Good Word with lots of conviction and passion.