What are nuns not allowed to do? (The rules nuns have to follow)

I have always been fascinated with how nuns carry out their lives. My fascination with nuns dates back to when my aunt joined the “nun-hood.” I was always on her neck, asking her different questions about being a nun. Fast-forward to my theology school, and even after, I always interact with nuns to learn more about their way of living. Recently, in one of my online interdenominational forums, a member asked about the rules nuns must follow. Since I am well-informed about the topic, I easily explained the do’s and don’ts of nuns to the members. So, what are nuns not allowed to do?

Nuns take chastity and poverty vows that bar them from owning property, marrying, or participating in sexual acts. Furthermore, some nuns, like Catholic nuns, are not allowed to use smartphones for online entertainment, should not disobey their superiors, and also not break the vows they take.

So, join me as I expound on the rules nuns have to follow. I will examine whether retired nuns have to follow these rules, what happens if a nun breaks these rules, and if nuns are allowed to leave the convent. Keep reading to learn more.

The rules nuns have to follow

Nuns have several rules they must follow, including the basic vows they must strictly adhere to. The first vow that the nuns take is the vow of chastity. By taking this vow, nuns are prohibited from getting married, having any romantic relationships, or engaging in any sexual acts. Nuns have to strictly follow this chastity rule and dedicate their time to the church.

Other rules that nuns have to follow are entailed in the vow of poverty. This vow requires nuns to live a simple basic life and only have what they are using. Therefore, they are not supposed to own or benefit from their property. They are expected to embrace communal living.

Furthermore, the vow of obedience entails other rules that nuns have to adhere to. This means that nuns have to obey their superiors and follow the rules and regulations put in place. This vow is based on John 14:23 and reflects Jesus’ obedience to God and His teachings on obedience.

Other than the vows, some basic rules that nuns must follow but vary in different denominations include; nuns are limited to using smartphones for their entertainment. Furthermore, some denominations require their nuns to take a vow of silence, where nuns will not talk for a period of time to nurture their spirituality.

Furthermore, most denominations require nuns to always have their habits on when it comes to dressing. Most nuns also have to live in the monastery or convent to allow them easily serve the church. As a nun, you should not have someone dependent on you, as taking the vows means committing yourself fully and wholly to God’s service.

What happens if a nun breaks her vows?

The rules nuns have to follow
What happens if a nun breaks her vows? Image source: Pixabay

The most extreme penalty for breaking nun vows is essentially being expelled from the convent or monastery. That means you lose your right to be a nun. Other than nuns being expelled from the convent and losing their titles as a nun, they are also encouraged to leave their community. Therefore, when they take the vows, they are expected to observe them religiously. Breaking any of them will require a nun to give up her religious duty and go to another community to start a new life.

Are nuns allowed to leave the convent?

Nuns are essentially not allowed to live outside convents. Being in a convent separates them from the contemporary world and society, enabling them to serve the Lord with minimal to no destruction. However, leaving the convent depends on the nun and the order involved. Leaving could be easier if the nun has not yet taken perpetual vows, but that means she cannot return. You can also request permission to leave the convent, but you will have to go through lots of paperwork. And if you just leave with no permission, then you will have to also leave the church completely.

Do retired nuns still follow the nun rules?

What are nuns not allowed to do?
Do retired nuns still follow the nun rules? Image source: Pixabay

Yes, retired nuns are expected to follow nun rules. This is because nuns take solemn vows, meaning they commit to follow these rules until death. Solemn vows are taken publicly and are perpetual; therefore, even when nuns retire, they cannot renounce the vows. They are still expected to have a basic and simple lifestyle, not own property, and not engage in any sexual acts after retirement.

The only exemption given to nuns after retirement is that they can choose to live in a retirement home or continue staying at the convent. Some churches have retirement orders for the nuns that have retired, and they can still engage in activities like prayers.

Leave a Comment