What percent of nuns leave the convent? (can nuns leave the convent?)

As a devoted Christian and theologian, I take an interest in the rules of different religious groups. I was especially intrigued by the nuns after finding out that some choose to leave the convent after taking their vows. I decided to visit a Catholic Church to conduct more research on why some nuns leave and find out whether this was a common occurrence. While there, I got the chance to interact with many nuns. Last week, in my online Christian forum, one of my colleagues asked whether many nuns leave the convent. Another was curious to know whether some nuns regret the decision to be nuns. Having interacted with nuns from the church, I had all the right answers at my fingertips. So, what percent of nuns leave the convent?

Theologians speculate that 3% of nuns choose to leave the convent. Most nuns are happy with their decision to live a religious life and do not have regrets. They, therefore, choose to serve the Lord and do not leave. On the other hand, some leave for health reasons while some struggle to adjust to the religious life.

In this article, I invite you to join me as we delve into the topic of nuns leaving the convent. Keep reading to find out whether nuns regret becoming nuns if they are permitted to leave the convent, whether the church kicks nuns out, and much more!

Do many nuns regret becoming nuns?

Though not all nuns regret becoming nuns, a few have regrets. This is because some nuns find it challenging to adapt to religious life after joining the convent. Those who regret choosing this life reveal that they struggle with challenges such as abstaining from sex after taking the vow of chastity.

Additionally, those who regret reveal that they miss the outside world and their old lives after choosing to leave behind worldly pleasures. However, the most significant percentage of nuns reveal that if they were given a chance to choose religious life again, they would still choose it. This means that most nuns do not have regrets. Those who do not regret reveal that they love their new life and the missions they are part of.

Is a nun ever permitted to leave the convent?

What percent of nuns leave the convent?
Is a nun ever permitted to leave the convent? Image source: Freepik

Though nuns choose to be married to Christ, they are not prisoners of the convent. Therefore, a nun is free to leave the convent if they wish. A nun can also break the vows of obedience, poverty, and chastity and be dismissed from the community.

Some nuns also choose to drop out of becoming nuns after taking the temporary vows in their earlier stages. For a nun to leave, she must give valid reasons for her decision. If a nun chooses to leave but does not follow the right procedure, the church views it as a betrayal of faith or sin.

Why would a nun leave the convent?

The reasons for nuns leaving vary. Some nuns leave the convent due to health issues, and some return after recovering from illness. Problems such as poor eyesight interfere with some nuns’ abilities to work.

Some nuns also leave because they cannot adjust to the convent life. Others leave since they object to some of the restrictions and traditions of the church, like the law of celibacy (1st Timothy 4:1-3). Some nuns also reveal that they leave because they find the convents unfriendly.

Other nuns are withdrawn by their family members, who are uncomfortable with their decision to follow a religious life. Others withdraw after being unable to pay the dowry that a convent requires. Others leave to secure the convent dowry after paying it.

Can the church kick nuns out?

Yes. Sometimes the church may kick nuns out due to breaking the vows or committing an excommunicable offense. For instance, in a particular case, the church excommunicated a nun for allowing abortion.

Nuns belong to specific orders. Every religious order has its constitution, which contains the process of expelling a member who breaks the rules. If a nun goes against the rules set, they may be ordered to leave the order. Before a religious order asks the nun to leave, they may try to discuss the issue or look for a compromise. Being excommunicated from the church is usually the last resort.

What is the process of officially leaving the convent?

can nuns leave the convent?
What is the process of officially leaving the convent? Image source: Pinterest

For a nun to leave the convent, they must talk to their spiritual director or religious superior about it. Most nuns apply for a dispensation of vows and fill out a lot of paperwork. Most convents give such a nun some time to think it over. Some also advise them to speak to psychologists to be sure of their decision.

Once someone has already made up their mind and gone through this procedure, they are allowed to leave. If a nun chooses to leave, they are not punished but are prayed for. However, note that before a nun takes their final vows, they are given a chance to leave in case one has doubts to avoid changing their minds in the future. A religious superior also has the power to prevent you from progressing to the final stages if they feel that you cannot cope with the religious life.

What Happens When a Nun Leaves the Church?

When a nun leaves the church, they reconnect with their families and the secular world. The nun lives a normal life. Some become married and have children. They are not shut out from the church since they can still attend the church without necessarily being nuns.

However, some ex-nuns choose to leave the community and relocate to other regions. This mostly happens if a nun is excommunicated for a serious offense. Most ex-nuns reveal that getting back to the secular world is not easy. Some face culture shock and have a hard time adjusting.

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