Nuns are such mysterious people to most of the world. Especially today, when there are not as many women embracing this vocation as in the past.
Some nuns live active lives, but others are mostly separate from the world, quietly praying for it from their convents.
When nuns do go out in public, they stand out with their beautiful habits and angelic smiles. They are a sign of contradiction in the world — embracing celibacy, poverty, and obedience for the spiritual riches of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Because of this mystique, many people form strange notions about nuns. Here are a few of the most common misconceptions you’ll encounter — even from Catholics.
1. All nuns have a spotless past
Not true. Nuns come from a wide array of backgrounds. Some, it’s true, have been devout since childhood. Others have first had to break away from a life of serious sin. And even in the convent, their battle against the world, flesh, and devil continues.
God doesn’t call the already perfect to follow Him in religious life. He calls those who are open to becoming perfect through His grace and through the joys and trials of the convent.
2. They aren’t attracted to men and don’t want kids
Nuns are sometimes asked, “So, why don’t you want to get married and have a family?” To which many nuns respond, “Actually, we do!”
There’s a misconception that having a vocation to religious life means you don’t feel any desire for marriage. But that’s not true!
God has written the desire for marriage into every human heart, even if not every individual is actually called down that path. For nuns (and also priests and monks), saying “yes” to celibacy doesn’t mean suppressing the vocation to marriage, but raising it to a spiritual level. For example, nuns are brides of Christ, so they take their natural desire for marriage and raise to a supernatural spousal love of Jesus.
3. They don’t have unique personalities
When you see a dozen or more nuns all dressed exactly alike, it can be easy to see them as a group rather than as individuals.
But if you’re ever blessed to get to know a group of sisters well, you’ll discover just how diverse their personalities are! You’ll often meet the prankster nun, the smart nun, the practical nun, and every other personality under the sun.
Entering the convent doesn’t destroy a nun’s personality, although it does save her from the egoism we see in today’s “me-centric” culture.
We’d highly encourage you to take the time at some point to talk to some nuns, or even to visit their convent. They are not aliens from another planet; they are people like you with very human dreams and flaws. But they’ve put God first and made getting to heaven their first goal — something we all can learn from them.