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What order are nuns silent?

Becoming a nun: Rules and facts you must know

When a woman decides to become a nun, she leaves the civilian world behind and has to follow a whole new set of rules. From the vows they make, to what goes on in their daily life, this article will deal with all of the interesting facts about nunhood.

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What is a nun? What do nuns do?

A nun is a member of a religious community (usually a woman) who commits to a life of faith, poverty, and chastity. Although most people associate nuns with the Christian or Catholic religion, other religions such as Buddhism, Judaism, and Taoism also have similar communities of religious women.

Nuns join orders or congregations – these are usually ‘sects’ within a religion. Different orders abide by different rules and have different expectations for their members. Generally, a nun’s daily duties could involve praying, maintaining their church’s facilities, and committing charitable acts.

A nun sitting on the seats of a church

Here’s everything to know about becoming a nun.


How to become a nun

Becoming a nun is a difficult process that requires a lot of time and sacrifice. The process itself varies from order to order.

Some orders have very strict requirements about who can or cannot become a nun. For example, certain Christian and Buddhist congregations require their nuns to be single, without children, and without debt.

Once you commit to an order, you’ll undergo ‘training’ where you learn more about the faith, live with the other nuns in the order, and progress through different vows until you become a full-fledged nun. The whole process usually takes years.

What is the difference between a nun and a sister?

A lot of people use the terms ‘nun’ and ‘sister’ interchangeably. This is because a lot of nuns go by ‘Sister [Name]’. But there’s actually a major difference between the two.

The term ‘nun’ is applied to women who have taken serious, solemn vows to live a simple life in a convent or monastery. Their lives are dedicated to prayer and religious study. Sisters, on the other hand, take vows which are much simpler. Also, sisters mostly focus on ‘works of mercy’ like charity, outreach, and evangelism.

Three nuns in dresses looking over a stone wall

There are several different types of nuns.


Are there different types of nuns?

Yes, there are several different kinds of nuns. First, nuns are divided by religion – Christianity (specifically Catholicism), Buddhism, and other religions may have their own nun communities.

Second, nuns within a faith are further divided into ‘orders’, such as the Order of Saint Benedict, Order of Saint Clare, or the Sisters of Charity. While orders may share a general religion, each may approach the faith from a different perspective or with a different focus.

What do the different styles of nuns’ habits mean?

Nuns typically wear a religious ‘habit’ or clothing that distinguishes them as members of a specific order. These usually look like long robes or tunics, plus a headpiece to cover the hair.

Nuns’ ‘uniforms’ can come in a variety of colours – black and white attire is the most common, but colourful habits also exist, like in the case of the aptly-named ‘Pink Sisters’ or Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters.

With a bit of knowledge and a close enough eye, you can tell which order a nun belongs to (and, in some cases, if she’s a novitiate or full nun) based on the habit they wear.

A young nun looking at the camera

Nuns typically wear a religious ‘habit’ or clothing that distinguishes them as members of a specific order.


What do nuns wear under their habit?

Some nuns, especially those that live in colder climates, may wear regular clothing under their habits. Others may only wear a t-shirt and shorts. In hotter countries, nuns may even just wear underwear.

Nun rules you must follow

Since orders can determine their own guidelines, there’s no single set of rules that all nuns must follow. Below are just a few of the most common restrictions nuns (especially within the Christian tradition) have to follow:

  • You must take a vow of chastity, which means you cannot get married or have sexual/romantic relationships.
  • You must take a vow of poverty, which means you must live a simple life. In most cases, this means giving up your personal possessions (and any sense of ‘ownership’) and share what you have with your community. Nuns do not get paid, either; anything you earn (even from outside work) goes back to your order, unless otherwise permitted.
  • You must take a vow of obedience, which means you commit to following the faith and your religious leaders.
  • You may be required to take a vow of silence.
  • You must wear modest clothing when not wearing your nun’s habit.
  • Catholic nuns, as decreed by Pope Francis, are not allowed to use smartphones or social media.
  • You cannot become a nun if you have been previously married. Your marriage needs to be annulled (not ‘divorced’) first.

A mexican catholic church

Nuns who have taken solemn vows tend to live in cloistered communities.


Where do nuns live? Where do they go after retirement?

Nuns who have taken solemn vows tend to live in cloistered communities, like in a convent or monastery. This way, they are separated from society and can commit to a religious life without distraction.

Nuns generally spend their entire lives in their convent. ‘Retired’ nuns may choose to stay in their order (some orders have retirement lodging just for this purpose), or they may live in an outside retirement home or with their families.

What happens if a nun breaks her vows? Or gets pregnant?

Technically, a nun can break her vows and/or leave the order whenever she wants. There are also plenty of opportunities to ‘drop out’ of becoming a nun, such as when you’re in the earlier stages and you’ve only taken your ‘temporary vows’.

Unfortunately, the process of breaking your vows is a long and complicated one. If you do not follow that process (which involves dispensation from a bishop or other leader), it’s considered a sin or betrayal of the faith. Nuns who break the three main vows (chastity, obedience, poverty) may be dismissed from their community.

WATCH: Jimmy Fallon talks about how his mum Gloria was a nun

The nun life

Becoming a nun is a major life decision you shouldn’t take lightly – after all, it involves giving up the world you know for a lifetime of devotion, prayer, and celibacy.

It’s definitely not for everyone, and only a special kind of person would be able to make that commitment.

Vow of silence

A vow of silence is a vow to maintain silence. Although it is commonly associated with monasticism, no major monastic order takes a vow of silence. Even the most fervently silent orders such as the Carthusians have time in their schedule for talking.

Recently, the vow of silence has been embraced by some in secular society as means of protest or of deepening their spirituality. Silence is often seen as essential to deepening a relationship with God. [1] It is also considered a virtue in some religions. [2]

In Western Christian traditions such as Catholicism and Lutheranism, the Great Silence is the period of time beginning at the canonical hour of Compline, in which votarists are silent until the first office of the next day, Lauds. [3]

Examples [ edit ]

Religious examples [ edit ]

Despite the common misconception, no major Christian monasteries or religious orders take such a vow. However, most monasteries have specific times (magnum silentium, work silence, times of prayer, etc.) and places (the chapel, the refectory, etc.) where speaking is prohibited unless absolutely necessary. Even outside of these times and places, useless and idle words are forbidden. In active orders, the members speak according to the needs of their various duties. [4]

In the Indian religions, religious silence is called Mauna and the name for a sage muni (see, for example Sakyamuni) literally means «silent one». [5] In Buddhism, it is also explicitly stated that «one does not become a sage simply because of a vow of silence» due to the prescription for disciples to also teach the Buddhist doctrine. [6] The vow of silence is also relevant in the training of novices and is often cited as a way to resist the allures of samsara, including those posed by the opposite sex. [7] Buddhist monks who take a vow of silence often carry an iron staff called khakkhara, which makes a metallic noise to frighten away animals. Since they cannot speak, the rattle of the staff also announces their arrival when they start begging for alms. [8]

Mahatma Gandhi observed one day of silence a week, every Monday, and would not break this discipline for any reason. [9]

Non-religious examples [ edit ]

Additionally, a vow of silence can be made to express a bold statement. This type may be to make a statement about issues such as child poverty. An example of this is The November 30th Vow of Silence for Free The Children in which students in Canada take a 24-hour vow of silence to speak up against poverty and child labour. [ citation needed ] In the United States, the Day of Silence is the GLSEN’s annual day of action to spread awareness about the effects of the bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) students. Students take a day-long vow of silence to symbolically represent the silencing of LGBTQ students. The Day of Silence has been held each year in April since 1996. From 2011 to 2017, the Day of Silence was held on the second Friday in April except for April 11, 2014; in 2018 it was observed on Friday, April 27. A more ancient example of a non-religious vow of silence is Pythagoras, who imposed a strict rule of silence on his disciples. [ citation needed ]

In pop culture [ edit ]

  • In Monty Python’s Life of Brian, a hermit holds a vow of silence until the titular character breaks his foot. [10]
  • The 1974 film, Cockfighter, a man who trains fighting roosters vows to remain silent until one of his birds wins a championship.
  • The 2006 film, Little Miss Sunshine, featured Dwayne, a Nietzsche-reading teenager, taking a vow of silence until he can accomplish his dream of becoming a test pilot.
  • Garu, a character in the cartoon show, Pucca, was mentioned to have taken a vow of silence.
  • The Poopsmith, a character in the long-running Web Series Homestar Runner, has taken a vow of silence, and has only had two speaking roles in at least two decades that the series has been running.
  • «The Cartoon», a season 9 episode of Seinfeld, featured Kramer taking a vow of silence due to his tendency to bluntly reveal things and not keep them to himself.
  • The 2009 movie G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra featured Snake Eyes taking a vow of silence.
  • The 2011 movie The Hangover: Part II featured a Buddhist monk taking a vow of silence as part of the film’s plot.
  • The 2017 television show The Good Place featured Jianyu, a Buddhist monk, taking a vow of silence.
  • The HBO TV series Curb Your Enthusiasm (Season 8, Episode 5) featured a character taking a vow of silence. The episode title was also called «Vow of Silence».
  • In the book The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle(ねじまき鳥クロニクル Nejimakitori Kuronikuru), the character Cinnamon Akasaka may have taken a vow of silence.
  • In the BBC series Call the Midwife, the Anglican nuns observe the Great Silence from Compline until the morning, as repeatedly referenced throughout all 9 seasons (as of December 2020).
  • The 2006 song «Vow of Silence» by Lemon Demon is sung from the perspective of a talkative person accepting that they won’t be able to say everything, so they’ll take a vow of silence instead. [citation needed]

See also [ edit ]

  • Day of Silence
  • Fasting
  • Meditation, often silent (but sometimes a mantra is involved) and often originally religious
  • Minute of Silence
  • Moment of Silence
  • Remembrance Day
  • Silence procedure
  • Vrata

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ Sarah, Robert Cardinal (2017). The Power of Silence:Against the Dictatorship of Noise. Ignatius Press. ISBN978-1621641919 .
  2. ^
  3. Macadam, Heather (2002). The Weeping Buddha . New York: Akashic Books. pp. 99. ISBN1888451394 .
  4. ^
  5. Ware, Jordan Haynie (1 February 2017). The Ultimate Quest: A Geek’s Guide to (The Episcopal) Church. Church Publishing Incorporated. p. 30. ISBN9780819233264 .
  6. ^Catholic Encyclopedia
  7. ^
  8. Bhalla, Prem P. (2006). Hindu Rites, Rituals, Customs and Traditions. Pustak Mahal. pp. 172–. ISBN978-81-223-0902-7 .
  9. ^
  10. Wijayaratna, Mohan (1990). Buddhist Monastic Life: According to the Texts of the Theravada Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 133. ISBN0521364280 .
  11. ^
  12. Suh, Sharon (2015). Silver Screen Buddha: Buddhism in Asian and Western Film. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. p. 168. ISBN9781441189257 .
  13. ^
  14. Beer, Robert (2003). The Handbook of Tibetan Buddhist Symbols. Chicago: Serindia. p. 184. ISBN1932476032 .
  15. ^
  16. «The day of a silence | GANDHIJI».
  17. ^
  18. Hawker, Tom (20 July 2014). «The 25 Funniest Monty Python Movie Moments». IGN . Retrieved 15 February 2022 .

Bibliography [ edit ]

  • Obrecht, Edmond (1913). «Silence» . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

Hidden Nuns Are Selling Secret Cookies in Spain

It’s a not-so-well-kept secret that a sect of cloistered nuns in Madrid is selling clandestine cookies to the public.

Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t enjoy a cookie every now and then? There’s a texture and flavor of cookie for almost anyone, from savory to sweet and chewy to crunchy. The choices seem endless. Even if you aren’t the type to indulge in a delectable delight, one particular cookie should be on your radar: the not-so-secret cookies of the cloistered nuns of the Convento de las Carboneras.

The Convento de las Carboneras, a convent of cloistered nuns of the Monasterio del Corpus Christi, received its name after an image of the Virgin Mary was found in a donated coal yard (carbonería means charcoal). The blessed image remains in the monastery. The building itself dates back to 1605 and was declared a Site of Cultural Interest in 1981.

Cloistered nuns are no longer found outside the confines of their monastery or convent. But between A.D. 500 and 1200, all nuns were cloistered. (Cloister derives from the Latin word claustrum, or in the plural, claustra meaning to close or place shut-in.) Cloisters were affordable areas for monks to exercise or engage in recreational activities. Over time, the secured walls became a place all clergy members could use, regardless of sex. The nuns reject the distractions of the external world, turning instead to a life of prayer, sacrifice, reflection, charity, and a strict dedication to silence.

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As you can imagine, a secluded and simple life can become more complex when interrupted by the ever-changing world. To earn a living, the silent nuns began selling traditional Spanish cookies. Their cookie business has given the world limited access to experience their lives. And I mean extremely limited. Not only can you not speak to the nuns, but you also won’t even see them.

The cookies started as something special for the neighborhood and the surrounding areas before becoming an unofficial treasure hunt for the greater Madrid area and beyond. So, if you happen to be in Madrid, how do you get your hand on these cookies?

The Hunt for the Secret Nun Cookies

Located in the Austrias barrio of Madrid, the convent and monastery are easy to travel to via public transportation. The closest metro stops are La Latina on Line 5 or Sol that’s accessible using Lines 1, 2, and 3. You can also travel on the local Cercanías train and get off at the Madrid-Sol station. If you’d like to take a more scenic route, the 31, 50, 65, and SE712 buses will get you there as well.

With the convenience of navigation apps, finding the Monasterio del Corpus Christi is easier than ever. Nevertheless, there are still some surprises along the way. The monastery is located where the Plaza del Conde de Miranda intersects with Calle del Codo. Look for a door with a sign that reads “Venta de Dulces,” which roughly translates to “Sale of Sweets.” Next, select the bell labeled “Monjas,” meaning “Nuns.” Politely ask if they are selling sweets today (in Spanish, of course).

INSIDER TIP Try using these Spanish phrases to ask if the nuns are selling cookies: “Hola, tiene dulces hoy?” or “Se vende dulces hoy?”

After you’re let in, follow the signs that read “Torno,” or “Turnstile” until you reach the end of a hallway.

How to Order and Pay for the Spanish Nun Cookies

In the purchasing area, you’ll find a bilingual menu detailing the selection. The cookies (or biscuits, if you speak the Queen’s English) are sold by either half (about 1.1 pounds) or a full kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) in weight. Once you’ve selected the sweets you’d like to order and the quantity, announce it and wait for the nuns to work their cookie magic.

When your order is ready, it will appear on a Lazy Susan turnstile (the aforementioned “Torno”). Again, you won’t see a single nun, so you can practice Spanish free of judgment, perplexed looks, and snickering—even if it’s only to order cookies. Just don’t expect to receive a verbal answer to your questions or comments. The nuns have taken a vow of silence, after all.

When it comes to paying, cash is still king in many European countries, and Spain is no exception. To make it easier for the nuns, try to have exact change. As previously mentioned, your order will appear on the Lazy Susan. Don’t rush to collect the bag; place your cash beside the bag. The torno will go around once more with both the cash and the cookies. The cookies and change (if you have any) will return on the next spin. The process is peculiar, but it ensures you have the correct order and that you won’t mistakenly walk away before paying.

INSIDER TIP At the time of publication, the price for half kilo orders was either 9 or 10 euros, and the price for a kilo of cookies cost 18 or 20 euros, but naturally, the prices are subject to change.

Assuming all goes well, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy these secret nun-made cookies with a story so unique that it’ll pique anyone’s interest. Take time to enjoy the beautiful neighborhood of La Latina and the other jewels of Madrid to tick off a few more boxes on your travel list.

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