What Are the Vows for a Nun?

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Becoming a nun is a lengthy process that requires a commitment to serve God and taking several vows. If you have an interest in becoming a nun, the first step is to research the different orders and convents to decide which ones appeal to you. Some nuns spend most of their time in a convent and away from the public eye, but other orders are very active in community service or philanthropy. Regardless of the type of convent, nuns are required to take three vows.

1 Poverty

Nuns, like priests, are required to take a vow of poverty to live as Jesus did. They often are required to work and give their income to the convent. This does not mean nuns are poor. Each nun is given an allowance for clothing and other personal items, and the money brought into the convent is communal money that is spent on a variety of things, including vehicles. The vow of poverty means that none of these possessions belongs to one individual nun, but rather to the entire order.

2 Chastity

Nuns are also required to take a vow of chastity. This allows them to live as Jesus did -- chaste. It also helps them focus on their vocation and their service to God without having a romantic relationship get in the way. All types of romantic or sexual relationship are forbidden, as nuns are not allowed to marry or have sex while they are nuns. Widowed women or women who are not virgins are able to become nuns, although divorced women must seek an annulment from the church before entering the convent.

3 Obedience

The vow of obedience is another way the nuns live their lives as Jesus did, relying on God’s will. Nuns need to obey their mother superior of their convent in day-to-day tasks as well as larger projects and assignments on behalf of the convent. Not only does a nun have to obey the orders of her convent, she needs to obey the church’s rules as well as God’s.

4 Process

If you’re interested in becoming a nun, begin by researching the various orders and convents to find out which ones would be a good fit for you. If you want to be active in the community, look for convents that do community service, not one that is more reclusive. Once you’ve found one you’re interested in, try living in the convent for a while while continuing to work outside to see whether convent living is right for you. If you decide it is, you’ll enter as a novice and take temporary vows. Only when you’ve completed a set amount of time successfully as a novice will you take permanent vows.