A religious sister in the Catholic Church is a woman who has taken public vows in a religious institute dedicated to apostolic works, as distinguished from a nun who lives a cloistered monastic life dedicated to prayer. Both nuns and sisters use the term "sister" as a form of address.
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.
A religious institute is a type of institute of consecrated life in the Catholic Church where its members take religious vows and lead a life in community with fellow members. Religious institutes are one of the two types of institutes of consecrated life; the other is that of the secular institute, where its members are "living in the world".
A nun is a member of a religious community of women, typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in the enclosure of a monastery. Communities of nuns exist in numerous religious traditions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, and Taoism.
The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism (1995) defines as "congregations of sisters institutes of women who profess the simple vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, live a common life, and are engaged in ministering to the needs of society." 1194 As William Saunders writes: "When bound by simple vows, a woman is a sister, not a nun, and thereby called 'sister'. Nuns recite the Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office in common ... (and) live a contemplative, cloistered life in a monastery ... behind the 'papal enclosure'. Nuns are permitted to leave the cloister only under special circumstances and with the proper permission.":
Until the 16th century, religious orders in the Western world made vows that were perpetual and solemn. In 1521, Pope Leo X allowed tertiaries of religious orders to take simple vows and live a more active life dedicated to charitable works. 1194This provision was rejected by Pope Pius V in 1566 and 1568. Early efforts by women such as Angela Merici, founder of the Ursulines (1535), and Jane Frances de Chantal, founder with Francis de Sales of the Visitation Sisters (1610), were halted as the cloister was imposed by Church authorities. :
The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various nations depending on the context, most often including at least parts of Europe, Australasia, and the Americas, with the status of Latin America disputed by some. There are many accepted definitions, all closely interrelated. The Western world is also known as the Occident, in contrast to the Orient, or Eastern world. It is often correlated with the Northern half of the North-south divide.
In Catholic canon law, a solemn vow is a vow that the Church has recognized as such.
Pope Leo X, born Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici, was Pope from 9 March 1513 to his death in 1521.
Into the 17th century, Church custom did not allow women to leave the cloister if they had taken religious vows. Female members of the mendicant orders (Dominican, Augustinian, Carmelite, and Poor Clares) continued to observe the same enclosed life as members of the monastic orders. The work of religious women was confined to what could be carried on within the walls of a monastery, either teaching boarding students within the cloister or nursing the sick in hospitals attached to the monastery.
A cloister is a covered walk, open gallery, or open arcade running along the walls of buildings and forming a quadrangle or garth. The attachment of a cloister to a cathedral or church, commonly against a warm southern flank, usually indicates that it is part of a monastic foundation, "forming a continuous and solid architectural barrier... that effectively separates the world of the monks from that of the serfs and workmen, whose lives and works went forward outside and around the cloister."
The Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominican Order, is a mendicant Catholic religious order founded by the Spanish priest Dominic of Caleruega in France, approved by Pope Innocent III via the Papal bull Religiosam vitam on 22 December 1216. Members of the order, who are referred to as Dominicans, generally carry the letters OP after their names, standing for Ordinis Praedicatorum, meaning of the Order of Preachers. Membership in the order includes friars, nuns, active sisters, and affiliated lay or secular Dominicans.
The Order of Saint Augustine, generally called Augustinians or Austin Friars, is a Catholic religious order. It was founded in 1244 by bringing together several eremetical orders in the Tuscany region who were following the Rule of St. Augustine, written by St. Augustine of Hippo in the 5th Century.
Mary Ward was an early proponent of women with religious vows living an active life outside the cloister, based on the apostolic life of the Jesuits.There was to be no enclosure, no common recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours, and no religious habit. In 1609 she established a religious community at Saint-Omer and opened schools for girls. Her efforts led to the founding of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary or Sisters of Loreto (IBVM). Her congregation was suppressed in 1630, but continued to exist in some countries in various forms.
Mary Ward, I.B.V.M., was a Catholic nun whose activities led to the founding of the Congregation of Jesus and the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, better known as the Sisters of Loreto, which have both established schools around the world. Ward was declared Venerable by Pope Benedict on 19 December 2009.
The Society of Jesus is a scholarly religious congregation of the Catholic Church headquartered in Rome and founded by Ignatius of Loyola with the approval of Pope Paul III in 1540. The members are called Jesuits. The society is engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations. Jesuits work in education, intellectual research, and cultural pursuits. Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes, sponsor direct social ministries, and promote ecumenical dialogue.
The Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office or Work of God or canonical hours, often referred to as the Breviary, is the official set of prayers "marking the hours of each day and sanctifying the day with prayer". It consists primarily of psalms supplemented by hymns, readings and other prayers and antiphons. Together with the Mass, it constitutes the official public prayer life of the Church. The Liturgy of the Hours also forms the basis of prayer within Christian monasticism.
Other women's congregations with simple vows continued to be founded, at times with the approval of local bishops. 1194 They renew their vows annually. The 19th century saw the proliferation of women's congregations engaged in education, religious instruction, and medical and social works, along with missionary work in Africa and Asia. :1101 After nearly three centuries, in 1900 Pope Leo XIII by his constitution Conditae a Christo gave his approval to these congregations with simple vows.Vincent de Paul insisted that the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, which he founded, would have no convent but the hospital, no chapel but the parish church, and no cloister but the streets. :
Vincent de Paul was a French Catholic priest who dedicated himself to serving the poor. He is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. He was canonized in 1737. He was renowned for his compassion, humility and generosity. Founder of Congregation of the Mission and Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul.
The Company of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, called in English the Daughters of Charity or Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent De Paul, is a Society of Apostolic Life for women within the Catholic Church. Its members make annual vows throughout their life, which leaves them always free to leave, without need of ecclesiastical permission. They were founded in 1633 and state that they are devoted to serving the poor through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
Pope Leo XIII was head of the Catholic Church from 20 February 1878 to his death. He was the oldest pope, and had the third-longest confirmed pontificate, behind that of Pius IX and John Paul II.
The 1917 Code of Canon Law reserved the term "nun" (Latin: monialis) for women religious who took solemn vows or who, while being allowed in some places to take simple vows, belonged to institutes whose vows were normally solemn.They lived under cloister, "papal enclosure", and recited the Liturgy of the Hours in common. The Code used the word "sister" (Latin: soror) for members of institutes for women that it classified as "congregations"; and for "nuns" and "sisters" jointly it used the Latin word religiosae (women religious).
The bishops at Vatican II, in their document Perfectae Caritatis on the religious life, asked all religious to examine their charism as defined by their rule and founder, in light of the needs of the modern world. 1194 Some religious who had led a more contemplative life responded to modern needs of the apostolate outside the monastic walls. Throughout the post-Vatican II document Ecclesiae Sanctae (1967), Pope Paul VI used the word "nun" to refer to women with solemn vows. The 1983 Code of Canon Law uses the expression "monastery of nuns". The new code did not force traditional orders that were taking on works outside the monastery into uniformity. In response to Vatican II there has been "vigorous discussion among monastics as regards what kinds of work and life-styles are genuinely compatible with monastic life". :882:
The Carthusian Order, also called the Order of Saint Bruno, is a Catholic religious order of enclosed monastics. The order was founded by Bruno of Cologne in 1084 and includes both monks and nuns. The order has its own Rule, called the Statutes, rather than the Rule of Saint Benedict, and combines eremitical and cenobitic monasticism. The motto of the Carthusians is Stat crux dum volvitur orbis, Latin for "The Cross is steady while the world is turning."
In the Catholic Church, a religious order is a type of religious community characterised by its members professing solemn vows. According to the 1983 Code of Canon Law, they are classed as a type of religious institute.
Religious vows are the public vows made by the members of religious communities pertaining to their conduct, practices, and views.
The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life is the congregation of the Roman Curia with competency over everything which concerns Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, regarding their government, discipline, studies, goods, rights, and privileges.
The term "Third Order" signifies, in general, lay members of religious orders, who do not necessarily live in community and yet can claim to wear the habit and participate in the good works of some great order. Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, and Lutheranism all recognize Third Orders. They were a twelfth century adaptation of the medieval monastic confraternities.
In the Catholic Church, a consecrated virgin has been consecrated by the church to a life of perpetual virginity as an exclusive spouse of Christ. Consecrated virgins are consecrated by the diocesan bishop according to the approved liturgical rite. The consecrated virgins are to spend their time in works of penance and mercy, in apostolic activity and in prayer, according to their state of life and spiritual gifts.
A religious is, in the terminology of many Western Christian denominations, such as the Catholic Church, Lutheran Churches, and Anglican Communion, what in common language one would call a "monk" or "nun", as opposed to an ordained "priest". A religious may also be a priest if he has undergone ordination, but in general he is not.
Consecrated life is a state of life in the Catholic Church lived by believers who wish to follow Jesus Christ in a more exacting way. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it "is characterized by the public profession of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, in a stable state of life recognized by the Church". The Code of Canon Law defines it as "a stable form of living by which the faithful, following Christ more closely under the action of the Holy Spirit, are totally dedicated to God who is loved most of all, so that, having been dedicated by a new and special title to his honour, to the building up of the Church, and to the salvation of the world, they strive for the perfection of charity in the service of the kingdom of God and, having been made an outstanding sign in the Church, foretell the heavenly glory."
The Dominican Sisters of the Heart of Jesus are located in Lockport, Louisiana.
A religious congregation is a type of religious institute in the Catholic Church. They are legally distinguished from religious orders — the other major type of religious institute — in that members take simple vows, whereas members of religious orders take solemn vows.
Enclosed religious orders of the Christian churches have solemn vows with a strict separation from the affairs of the external world. The term cloistered is synonymous with enclosed. In the Catholic Church enclosure is regulated by the code of canon law, either the Latin code or the Oriental code, and also by subsidiary legislation. It is practised with a variety of customs according to the nature and charism of the community in question.
Vocational discernment is the process in which men or women in the Catholic Church discern, or recognize, their vocation in the church. The vocations are the life as layman in the world, either married or single, the ordained life and the consecrated life.
The Carmelite Monks or Monks of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel is a cloistered contemplative religious community of diocesan right dedicated to a humble life of prayer. They are known for their loyalty to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and to the ancient traditions of Carmel. Their life includes strict separation from the world and the living of the cloistered Carmelite spirituality and way of life established by St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Jesus. In accord with the Carmelite Rule, they engage in manual labor and the study of Carmelite spirituality in the solitude of the mountains, with the firm hope of attaining to Union with God.
In the history of the Catholic Church, women in have played a variety of roles and the church has affected societal attitudes to women throughout the world in significant ways. Women constitute the majority of members of consecrated life within the Catholic Church: in 2010, there were around 721,935 professed women religious.
This is a glossary of terms used within the Catholic Church.
When referring to Roman Catholic religious orders, the term Second Order refers to those Orders of cloistered nuns which are a part of the mendicant Orders that developed in the Middle Ages.