New US Nuns Young, IT Savvy

Many highly-educated and technology savvy young American women are relinquishing modern life for nunnery, searching for what today's way of life could not deliver.

New US Nuns Young, IT Savvy

"I was in the navy for a total of 10 years because I wanted to do something great with my life," Angela Karalekas, who left her bright career behind to become a cloistered nun, told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Sunday, February 4.

"But I realized I could never be passionate about it," added the 28-year-old.

Thought some might consider it a dying way of life, nunnery is attracting a large variety of highly educated women who shed their jobs and career ambitions for the nun's veil.

"It was basically apply to medical school or apply to a convent and the convent won out," said Bridget Heisler, 24.

She insists that she is finding a sense of wholeness by binding herself to faith.

"I knew there was a love in my life and it was the Lord."

Becoming a nun typically takes seven to nine years.

After the period of discernment, a woman enters a religious community as a postulant, and she reflects upon her vocation and helps with chores around the convent.

After an additional four to eight years, she makes her final vows and becomes a professed nun.

Something Deeper

Sister Agnes Mary, mother superior at the Sisters of Life community in New York, said more young women, almost all characterized with high college degrees and high-powered careers, are turning to nunnery.

"The inquiries in recent years have been coming from younger and younger women, most of them in their early to mid-20s," she said.

The growing numbers of career women entering sisterhood are believed to be aspiring for more meaning in their lives than that offered by secular society.

"I think young women are searching for something and culture is not giving it to them so they are turning to God," said Sister Mary Karen, 33, the superior at the Sisters of Life Formation House in the Bronx.

"These women are looking for something deeper," concurred Brother Paul Bednarczyk, executive director of the National Religious Vocation Conference.

He said women are coming to religious life in a quest for a moral direction that is driving a resurging interest in religion.

"Given our secular values in the United States where we promote sex, money and power, it is a very counter cultural thing to profess celibacy, poverty and obedience."

The burgeoning group of young women turning to Catholicism is suggesting a reversal of Catholicism's decades-long decline, not only in the US but worldwide.

According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), there are currently 66,608 Catholic nuns in the US compared to nearly 180,000 in 1965.

Worldwide, there are an estimated 776,260 nuns as opposed to some one million in 1970.

IT Savvy

The new generation of nuns is Internet savvy.

"One of the reasons I started the blog was to explain what it's like to be a nun and to address the stereotypes out there," said Julie Vieira, 35, who launched a blog entitled "A Nun's Life" last July.

Blogs written by sisters help give a more realistic picture of their lives, washing away the typical picture about them.

"I just wanted to tell people 'Hey I'm an ordinary person'," said Vieira whose blog gets about 600 hits a day and at least a half dozen e-mails from people inquiring about religious life.

Others credit the Internet with breathing new life into the nunnery, as most orders today have Websites and about 20 nuns run their own blogs.

Brother Bednarczyk says that women interested in religious life can even turn to a "match-making" Website which frames the choice much like a dating service, with Christ as the ultimate match.

"We took the concept of finding your love match, like when you're looking for a husband (...), and applied it to religious life," he said.

"We've gotten over 2,000 hits in two months."

Bednarzcyk asserted that religious orders must reach out again to young people in the language that they speak.

"The (Church) today needs to be on the Internet because that's where young people are going to go."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16