As a devout Christian, I take an interest in the rules that people in religious life follow. I was especially intrigued by the nuns after I heard that they have minimal physical interaction with their families. This made me wonder whether nuns ever visit their families, so I conducted more research. I visited a Catholic Church to learn more about this and interacted with many nuns. About two weeks ago, in an online Christian forum that I participate in, we talked about the sacrifices that nuns make when someone asked if nuns ever visit family. Another member also asked whether family members could come to convents to visit nuns. Since I had done in-depth research on this, I had all the correct answers at my fingertips. So, are nuns allowed to visit family?
Yes. Most religious orders allow nuns to visit their families. Some religious orders allow their nuns to visit their family once a year, while others allow them to visit twice a year, especially if the family lives far away.
In this article, I invite you to join me as we look at whether nuns are allowed to visit family. Keep reading to find out if nuns leave the convent, how often they are allowed to visit their families, whether family members can come into the convent to visit them, and much more!
Can nuns leave the convent?
It depends on which religious order a nun is in. Nuns live either a semi-cloistered or cloistered life. They live, work, and pray within the convent. Every religious order has certain rules of enclosure.
The religious orders with more relaxed rules allow nuns to leave the convent occasionally. On the other hand, orders with very strict rules only allow nuns to leave the convent on rare occasions. For instance, cloistered nuns are rarely seen in public since they are confined within the convent. Even in religious orders that allow nuns to leave, one must first get proper permission.
How often are nuns allowed to visit their families?
The visiting policies vary from one monastery to the other, depending on factors like the type of enclosure and the decisions of every community. In most monasteries, nuns are allowed to visit their families at least once a year. In some monasteries, if a nun is from a foreign country, they are allowed to visit their family once every three years. In other monasteries, if the family lives far away, the nun may be allowed to visit twice a year.
How long are nuns allowed to stay out of the convent while visiting family?
Most religious orders recognize the sacrifice that nuns make when they choose the religious life and, therefore, give them some time to stay out of the convent to visit family. The duration they are allowed to stay out varies based on the religious order. For instance, some nuns with family far away are allowed to visit them for two days twice a year. Others allow their nuns to stay out of the convent for two weeks every year while visiting family. This is enough time to bond with the family.
Can family members come into the convent to visit a nun?
Yes. Most orders allow family members to come into the convent to visit a nun. For instance, in St Louis County Convent, family members are only allowed to come into the convent to visit nuns once a year. The convents have visiting rooms where these meetings take place, and interaction is limited. This is because the nuns must remain on their side of the wall when family members visit. In some convents, nuns are allowed to interact with family members for a few hours in the afternoon within the convent.
Can cloistered nuns leave to visit family?
We mentioned that the rules of enclosure vary. While some cloistered orders do not expect nuns to totally give up on seeing their families, others only allow cloistered nuns to leave the enclosure on rare occasions and for serious reasons like going for a doctor’s appointment.
Most cloistered nuns spend their entire time working in the convent and praying. They have very minimal contact with the outside world. They sacrifice almost everything worldly, including too much interaction with family, to avoid getting distracted and focus entirely on praying.
Can nuns keep in contact with their families while at the convent?
Yes. Nuns are allowed to keep in contact with their families. For instance, in some orders, nuns are allowed to make monthly calls to their family members to catch up. This makes them feel closer to home and reduces the pain of being physically separated from their loved ones. In some orders, one must ask permission from the superior before making a phone call to the family. Additionally, nuns also keep in contact with families by writing letters regularly to them.
Can nuns have friends outside their convent?
The concept of friendship in religious life has been changing over the years. In the past, when a nun chose this life, they were not allowed to maintain friends outside the convent. However, things have changed since most communities now allow nuns to have friends outside their convent. Every community has certain rules regarding how much interaction a nun can have with friends. For instance, if a nun enters a cloistered family, they may not have lots of interaction with friends. In other communities with less strict rules, relationships with friends are more open.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.