What happens to pregnant nuns? (Where do pregnant nuns go?)

As a theologian, I have always been curious to learn about various religions and doctrines. I took a special interest in the nuns’ way of life and their beliefs back in theology school and conducted extensive research in various Convents and Catholic Churches. A few months ago, I had the chance to conduct a weekly afternoon fellowship at a nunnery. I was able to interact with the nuns and made some solid friendships. During one of my lectures, one of my theology students asked me what happens when nuns get pregnant. From my research and numerous interactions with nuns, I had seen cases like these and the repercussions. So, what happens to pregnant nuns?

Pregnant nuns leave the order and earn a living outside the convent. Some nuns have resorted to abortion before the pregnancy is visible to avoid shame, but the Catholic Church is strongly against this.

Join me as I examine the questions about nuns getting pregnant. I will discuss the annual pregnancy rate among nuns, how sexually active they are today, the Catholic Church’s reaction to the increasing rate of pregnant nuns, and other related topics. Read on.

Is there a place where nuns go if they get pregnant?

No, there is no designated place where pregnant nuns go. Most of the time, they leave the convent and raise the child in their homes. In some cases, especially when the nun does not have a home to return to, they stay and raise their child there. Their vow of service, however, ceases functionality. It depends on the order the nun is in.

If a nun is sexually abused and gets pregnant, can she keep the baby?

Yes, she can. Part of being a nun is not having any dependent children. So, if she manages to get someone to adopt or raise the baby, she can. If she chooses to be released from her vows, nothing stops her from keeping and raising her child on her terms. In a few cases, pregnant nuns have continued their service after dedicating their child as a gift to God.

Can you be a nun after having a child?

Where do pregnant nuns go?
Can you be a nun after having a child? Image source: Freepik

Yes, you can, as long as the child is not dependent on you. Nuns devote their lives to serving God, which, in most cases, does not involve getting full-time jobs. So, without any mouths to feed, they can effectively perform their duties.

What is the annual rate of pregnant nuns?

Though nuns take a vow of chastity, there have been cases of them getting pregnant. The cases keep rising, and you’d think reliable statistics would be available by now. However, there aren’t any. Though you will occasionally spot a pregnant nun or hear stories about them, the rarity makes it impossible to determine an annual rate.

How sexually active are nuns today?

Nuns vow to be celibate, so their sexual activity should be nonexistent. They, however, do acknowledge that they have sexual urges and have methods of dealing with them. Cases of pregnant nuns that have gone viral in recent years show that the celibacy success rate isn’t perfect.

What is the Catholic Church’s reaction to the increasing pregnancy rate among nuns today?

What happens to pregnant nuns?
Catholic Church’s reaction to the increasing pregnancy rate among nuns. Image source: Freepik

There have been cases where the Catholic Church has had to speak out after nuns got pregnant. In a viral case where two nuns came back pregnant after a ministry in Africa, the Church ordered an investigation. There have also been rumored debates among the leaders on whether the celibacy requirement should remain or be done away with. Though the reactions haven’t been toward addressing the issue as a whole, it is clear that every case keeps stirring a response.

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