Religious sister

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Sisters' Convention in New Orleans, around 1900
Religious sisters in Cologne Cathedral, 2010

A religious sister or nun is a female member of a religious order . The nun dedicates her life to God and to the service of people. She is bound by vows or promises to God, the church and her community and is subordinate to her superior .

Concept and way of life

Religious sisters are often referred to in the vernacular as "nuns". According to canon law, however , nuns are only members of monastic orders living in papal enclosure .

There are religious sisters or nuns in practically all pre-Reformation churches . As with all religious, the way of life is determined by the evangelical counsels (i.e. advice of the Gospel), which they publicly promise to adhere to with their profession :

  • Poverty (renunciation of personal possessions)
  • Celibacy (renouncing marriage and family as well as leading a life in complete chastity )
  • Obedience (bond to the chosen way of life under the guidance of a religious superior according to an order rule)

Another important essential element of religious life is life in community, for example in monasteries , convents , fraternities or other communities.

Women religious do not belong to the clergy in the churches that know the sacrament of ordination and do not allow women to be ordained . Traditionally, together with non-consecrated male religios, hermits , consecrated virgins and widows, they form their own spiritual class, which has neither clerical nor lay character and is now collectively referred to in the Latin Church as the status of consecrated life (Latin: Vita consecrata ). Under canon law, however, they are to be assigned to the laity in the Latin Church .

Not counted among the religious sisters are the beguines living without religious vows in beguinages and comparable forms of life, as well as the evangelical deaconesses . The members of the secular institutes in the Roman Catholic Church are also not referred to as religious women or men, although as members of the consecrated life they usually take vows or promises.

Web links

Wiktionary: religious sister  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. CIC , Can. 588, § 1. "The status of consecrated life is by its nature neither clerical nor lay."
  2. “According to the traditional teaching of the Church, consecrated life is by its nature neither secular nor clerical, and that is why the 'consecration of lay people', of men and women, represents a perfect state of the vows of the evangelical councils both for the person and for the Church its own value, regardless of the ordained ministry. "(John Paul II, apostolic Exhortation. Vita Consecrata - on the consecrated life and its mission in the Church and the world , of 25 March 1996)
  3. Can. 207 CIC : "By virtue of divine instruction there are spiritual ministers in the church among the faithful who are also legally called clergy, while the others are also called lay people." Bruno Primetshofer ( Ordensrecht. Rombach, Freiburg im Breisgau, 4th edition 2003, P. 28) clarifies after the above quotation from the code: “Christians who have committed themselves to a life according to the evangelical counsels do not represent an additional class in the church according to the CIC, but are either clerics or Laypersons. "

See also