As a theologian, I am interested in various denominations and their religious practices. Recently, the Anglican Church sparked my interest, and I was fascinated by the Anglican Nuns. Growing up, I only knew about Catholic Nuns since we lived in a Catholic community. I decided to conduct more research and learn all about them. I visited different Anglican Churches and booked appointments with their leaders to learn every detail of the topic. Recently, I was teaching my college theology students about the Anglican Church, and one student was curious about whether the church has nuns. This question brought up a lot of other questions, like whether Anglican nuns are different from Catholic nuns. Having studied every detail about this topic, I had all the answers they wanted. So, are there Anglican nuns?
Yes, there are Anglican nuns. The Anglican Church has a community of men and women who live under a common rule of life in the Anglican Communion, called the Anglican religious Order. Some religious Order members are Anglican nuns who have taken a vow of stability. Today, there are about 2,400 monks and nuns in the Anglican Communion, of which about 55% of the number are nuns. The Anglican nuns are mostly in the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania, South Africa, and Vanuatu.
Join me in this article, where we will learn about Anglican Nuns. I have answered all questions about this topic, so read till the end.
How many orders of the Anglican Church are there?
The Anglican Catholic Church has three orders, each having separate roles and spiritualities within the church. They include;
The Order of St. Benedict
The Anglican Catholic Church Order of St. Benedict (OSB) is represented by Brother Botolphas. This Order embraces the Evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience in the spiritual rule of Saint Benedict. There are different communities in this Order which are independent of each other. They make vows to a local incarnation of the Order; hence, the communities are free to develop their charism and character, but they are all under a common rule of the precepts of St. Benedict. Some of the OSB Anglican Benedictine communities include;
- St Mark’s Abbey. It’s an Australian Male and female order that was founded in 1975.
- Alton Abbey: England’s male Order that was founded in 1884
- Edgware Abbey: England female order of St. Mary at the Cross. It was founded in 1866 to stand with Mary, the mother of Jesus
- St. Gregory’s Abbey: United States’ male Order founded in 1939.
- Order of the Holy Cross: Canadian male Order founded in 1884.
- Benedictine Sisters of Bethany: Cameroon’s Female Order.
- Order of the Holy Paraclete: Ghanaian female Order founded in 1915.
The Franciscan Order of the Divine Compassion (with the representative)
Anglican Catholic Church Franciscan order of divine compassion is represented by Reverend Richard Bugyi-Sutteras. The Society of St. Francis is the largest, and they follow the rule of St Francis of Assisi. This rule focuses on identifying the poor, caring for the environment, and respecting God’s creation. This Order is divided into different communities within the Anglican Communion, including:
- The Community of St. Francis: women’s Order founded in 1905.
- The Poor Clares of Reparation.
- The Society of Saint Francis: men’s Order founded in 1934.
- The Community of St. Clare: women’s Order.
The Congregation of the Good Samaritan
The Anglican Catholic Congregation of the Good Samaritan order is represented by the Right Reverend Presley Hutchens. It was officially established as an order within the Anglican Catholic Church in 2009 by the decree of D. Pressley Hutchens, Bishop of the Diocese of New Orleans. This Order has few members and has opened its community to any member of the religious Order in the Anglican Communion who have no communities to join them.
How are Anglican nuns different from Catholic nuns?
One difference between Anglican nuns and Catholic nuns is they have different denominational associations. The Anglican nuns are affiliated with the Anglican Communion and its religious orders, while the catholic nuns are associated with the Roman Catholic Church and its religious Order.
Another difference is the two denominations have different ordination views of their nuns. Some Anglican provinces in the Anglican Communion allow the nuns to be ordained as priests or Bishops to lead the congregation. They have no rules to deny any woman from being a church leader. On the other hand, In the Roman Catholic Church, nuns cannot be ordained as priests to lead a mass. Women in the Catholic Church cannot be ordained in the clergy.
Additionally, Catholic nuns and Anglican nuns are under different leaderships. Anglican nuns are under the leadership of Bishops within the Anglican Church they serve. They don’t have a certain supreme leader that they are supposed to submit to. Their degree of domination varies depending on their religious communities and the governance in their Anglican province. On the order hand, Catholic nuns are under the leadership of the Pope, who is the supreme leader of the Roman Catholic Church. The nuns are also subject to their local superiors and Bishops in their local churches.
The two denominations have different acceptance terms for their nuns. In the Anglican Communion, some provinces accept widowed or even married women into their religious Order. The conditions for joining the Anglican religious Order vary depending on the church’s theological perspectives and local practices. The married or widowed nuns are given specific rules and customs to follow depending on the province. On the other hand, to be a catholic nun, you have to be unmarried. The Catholic religious Order does not accept married or windowed women to become nuns.
Lastly, their canonical structures are different. Anglican nuns’ canonical structure is under the Anglican Canon law. These laws and regulations are only set for the Anglican Communion, which is made up of autonomous provinces and dioceses. They have a decentralized system where they have independent governance in each region. On the other hand, Catholic nuns’ canonical structure is under Catholic Canon law. These laws and regulations are set for the Roman Catholic Church, but each congregation has its canonical status that operates within a hierarchical structure and is approved by the Roman Catholic Church.
Is the Anglican nuns’ lifestyle the same as the Catholic nuns’ lifestyle?
Anglican nuns and catholic nuns are nuns from churches with the same ancient roots. Therefore, their lifestyles are a little bit similar, though the similarities are very few. Some of the similarities include;
Roles in the church
Both Anglican and Catholic nuns serve the church through prayers and contemplation. They have been trained on how to serve the church and have even taken vows to serve the church. They also engage in spiritual retreats where they get opportunities to engage in deeper meditation and prayers for the church and the congregation.
Both Anglican and catholic nuns share a common role in society where they provide their support and help to the helpless. They engage in diverse tasks such as charitable works and spiritual direction through prayers and guidance for the people and even encourage campaigns that promote human dignity in society.
Celebration of seasons
Both Anglican and Catholic nuns participate in various religious celebrations in their churches, such as Christmas, Easter, Advent, and Lent. They engage in some of these seasonal celebrations at the same time throughout the annual cycle.
Religious symbol of faith
Both Anglican and Catholic nuns’ religious symbol of faith is the Cross. In the Catholic Church, their symbol is called the crucifix because of the figure of the Body of Christ on it. It represents the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ since he died on the Cross for the sins of the world. In the Anglican Church, the nuns’ religious symbol is the Cross, through some churches have the crucified Christ on it; hence their symbol is the crucifix. The Cross without the figure of Christ shows that Jesus was resurrected after he was sacrificed for the forgiveness of human sin.
Can Protestant nuns marry?
Whether a protestant nun can marry depends on her particular rules and beliefs in her church denomination because Protestantism comprises various churches, movements, and theologies. That would depend on the particular church and sometimes even the individual abbey since Protestantism is a vague umbrella term for various churches, theologies, and movements. Though most nuns in different church denominations take chastity vows, some churches allow their nuns to marry whether they engage in romantic or sexual acts.
Generally, traditional and moderate Protestants churches such as the Orthodox Church do not allow their nuns to get married. As an Orthodox nun, you take monastic vows which revolve around traditional rules of poverty, obedience, and chastity. These vows prohibit you from engaging in romantic relationships while in your service as a nun. However, divorced and widowers can be orthodox nuns under certain rules.
However, some protestant denominations, such as the Lutheran Church and the Anglican Church, don’t follow the traditional vows of celibacy. Unlike the traditional protestant churches, they allow their nuns to marry as they serve the church. The nuns can even be ordained to lead the church as Bishops, Pastors, or deacons while still married. The nuns do not have to live a monastic lifestyle of celibacy with no romantic relationships. In some protestant churches, the nuns can choose whether to take the vows of celibacy. Though it is not common in most churches.
Which other protestant Christian churches have nuns?
Other protestant Christian churches with nuns include; Oriental Orthodox Churches and Lutheran churches. Here is more information about other Protestant Christian Church nuns.
- Lutheran Churches are mainly located in Europe. Lutheranism has two religious orders; the Order of Lutheran Franciscans and the Daughters of Mary. The religious Order. Daughters of Mary has an order of Lutheran nuns called the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary. The nuns operate a guesthouse of Holocaust survivors and are also committed to prayers.
- Orthodox Churches have nuns who are restricted to monasteries. Orthodox monastic calling of meditation and prayers is considered a different calling from that of a pastor or teacher in the church; hence, Orthodox nuns do not participate in the active ministry of the church. Usually, the calling requires the monastery to have one or two priests to care for in the sacramental life of the church.
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.