Are Nuns Catholic? (Are There Any Nuns Who Aren’t Catholic?)

I remember learning about Protestant Churches that had nuns in theology school. This sparked my curiosity, and I visited the churches in my area to learn more. I was pleasantly surprised to find a thriving Anglican Convent near our college, where I spoke to one of the nuns who worked in the child protection office. She explained how their order worked and suggested additional resources for my research. This information came in handy last week when one of my theology students working on a term paper wanted to know if all nuns were Catholic. I took the opportunity to share what I learned through research and experience. I bet you’re also wondering, are nuns Catholic?

Not all nuns are Catholic. Some Protestant churches, like the Anglicans, Methodists, and Lutherans, have orders of nuns. Furthermore, we see nuns in the Buddhist religion. Remember, nuns are women who vowed to dedicate their lives to God. As such, it’s not uncommon to see them across the Christian faith and other religions.

Join me in this article as I explore the statistics around Catholic and non-Catholic nuns and learn more about this group of believers.

Are there any nuns who aren’t Catholic?

Yes. Some nuns aren’t Catholics. Some Protestant churches have nuns as part of their religious orders. The most well-known are Anglican, Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox, and Methodism. Furthermore, we have nuns in other religions, particularly Buddhists, where they’re called Bhikkhunī. Nuns from these groups take vows, usually of chastity, obedience, and poverty. However, they differ in how they live out these vows, with some living a monastic life and others integrating and serving their communities.

How many catholic nuns are there?

As of 2021, there were 608,958 nuns. It’s worth noting the data includes monastic nuns and religious sisters since data collected rarely distinguishes them. Mostly, they take similar vows, live in a community, and dedicate themselves to God.

Are there any other Christian denominations with nuns?

 Are There Any Nuns Who Aren’t Catholic?
Other Christian denominations with nuns. Image source: Pinterest

Yes. As mentioned, there are nuns among the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and Lutheran denominations.

Anglican nuns

Anglican religious orders were revived in the mid-19th century. Women who joined the convents took the same vows as their Catholic counterparts. However, today, we see members live out their vows with a modern twist. As such, there are both married and celibate members. Anglican nuns dedicate their lives to serving the communities around them.

Lutheran nuns.

Lutheran nuns are mainly active in Europe. You’ll find them as part of religious orders, such as the Order of Lutheran Franciscans, Daughters of Mary, and Evangelical Sisters of Mary. Like their counterparts, they live out modern interpretations of their vows. Both single and married members are accepted into the orders.

Eastern Orthodox nuns.

The Eastern Orthodox are the closest relatives to the Catholics, and their monastic orders are similar. Nuns in the Eastern Orthodox live secluded lives with little to no contact with the outside world led by an Abbess. However, some religious sisters interact and work within their communities.

How many non-Catholic nuns are there?

Are Nuns Catholic?
How many non-Catholic nuns are there? Image source: Pinterest

There aren’t fixed statistics on how many non-Catholic nuns there are. Conservative numbers place this population upwards of 60,000 when you factor in non-Christian nuns, religious convents, and Sisters devoted to public service.

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