Contemplative, Cloistered, Semi-Cloistered, Apostolic, Nun, Sister…
These are all terms that I find myself talking about daily. They are also terms that many young Catholics cannot define or differentiate.
I am asked frequently, “What is the difference between a nun and a sister?”
Traditionally, there is a clear difference, but nowadays, the lines have become a bit blurry. Both nuns and sisters are women who have dedicated themselves to live vowed religious lives (of chastity, poverty and obedience) within the Catholic Church, following in the footsteps of Jesus in ministry. Both have dedicated themselves to God.
So, the difference, then, to put it simply, and traditionally, is that a nun lives her life within the walls of a monastery cloister, serving others through contemplative prayer, while a sister shares her gifts out in the world, directly impacting those in need.
Nuns live a cloistered life within their own community/monastery, rarely going outside of their monastery. That is where they live, pray, work and recreate.
Sisters, however, are never called “nuns”. They are vowed religious sisters and are considered apostolic, or active. Some sisters live, pray and work both within their own community and its … continue reading…