Why do nuns wear wedding rings? (What is the meaning of nuns’ wedding bands?)

As a long-time Christian and theologian, I have always had an interest in studying the practices and beliefs of different denominations. Back in a theology school, I found the nun vocation intriguing, which I frequently researched. One of my friend’s aunt is a nun; having this in mind, I approached her to get first-hand information about nuns. I came to learn they wear wedding rings which I find rather interesting. Yesterday, as we held our weekly online Christian forum discussions, one of the members raised a topic that resonated with my experience, interaction, and knowledge about nuns. She asked, why do nuns wear wedding rings?

Nuns wear wedding rings to embody their union with Christ and their status as brides of Christ. In this regard, they showcase their commitment to Christ and enter a marriage with him. It also depicts nuns’ commitment and loyalty to the church. The wedding rings may also represent the vows nuns take in line with their religious orders.

I invite you to join me in the article below as we delve into nuns’ wedding rings. I have highlighted the reason behind nuns wearing rings on their right hand. Also, learn when nuns started wearing wedding rings and when they received one. If you are unfamiliar with the Catholic wedding bands’ appearance, read the write-up to learn about that and much more.

Why do nuns wear a ring on their right hand?

Nuns wear wedding rings on the right hand to signify their marriage with Christ. Typically, people wear wedding rings on the left hand. Since this is a different type of union, nuns wear their rings on a different hand. If nuns wore wedding rings on the same hand, other people might perceive the rings to be the same as those worn by couples.

In many countries, wedding rings indicate a couple’s union and a symbol of belonging to one’s partner. On the other hand, it gives nuns a different identity from other people showcasing their commitment to the church.

People refer to nuns as brides of Christ as they ‘marry Christ.’ In addition to this belief, some people imply that nuns wear wedding rings as a pledge to obedience, chastity, and poverty. Other people presume that wedding rings protect them from temptation.

Man is to error, and nuns are no exception as they may fall back on their calling. However, a wedding ring may remind them of their pledge to serve God. Nuns wearing wedding rings on their right hand remind them of the reasons that fueled their desires to become nuns.

When did nuns start wearing wedding bands?

What is the meaning of nuns’ wedding bands?
When did nuns start wearing wedding bands? Image source: Pinterest

The nuns’ tradition of wearing wedding bands started at the end of the 12th Century. It is essential to know that not all nuns wear wedding bands, as it depends on the particular denomination. The practice of nuns wearing wedding bands is more common among Catholics.

Denominations that started the tradition of nuns wearing wedding bands had the intent of the nuns showcasing their devotion to Christ. Over time this practice has become a tradition in various denominations, some being ordinary people while others include those who are not nuns.

What do Catholic nuns’ wedding bands look like?

Catholic wedding bands are different from ordinary wedding rings. Catholic nuns’ wedding bands are simpler than regular wedding rings, with minimal engravings or drawings. They are available in silver or gold and have no gemstones.

The design may vary, but most Catholic nuns’ wedding bands have a cross engraved or other religious symbols and writing. These symbols on the Catholic nuns’ wedding bands separate these from ordinary wedding bands.

They symbolize aspects of religion, such as the cross, which illustrates Jesus Christ’s sacrifice of dying on the cross for our sins. Nuns believe they have the duty of serving Jesus Christ and His Church. They perceive celibacy as a form of complete devotion to Christ.

When does a nun receive her wedding band?

The time a nun receives her wedding band varies among the different denominations. In some denominations, nuns wear wedding bands when taking their vows. These include vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

The vow of poverty is a commitment of nuns to live a simple life and leave their personal possessions to serve God. When a nun wears a wedding band in this honor; it reminds her of this pledge. The vow of chastity represents nuns’ adherence to a life of celibacy and dedication of their lives to God. Hence, the wedding band symbolizes this commitment to Christ.

As for the vow of obedience, nuns take it to show commitment to following guidelines and teachings from their leaders and religious superiors. In this regard, the wedding ring represents the nun’s obedience dedication.

Apart from these occasions, nuns also where wedding bands when they enter a new phase of their religious life. It may be starting a new role in their denomination, making final vows, or getting a new assignment.

Do nuns ever take off their wedding bands?

Why do nuns wear wedding rings?
Do nuns ever take off their wedding bands? Image source: Pixabay

Yes, they take their wedding bands off to carry out other activities, such as those involving water handling. Just as ordinary people take off their wedding rings while cleaning dishes or having a shower, the same applies to nuns. Also, the severity of the nuns wearing the wedding bands varies with each denomination.

Some may not have strict rules guiding the nuns wearing wedding bands. Therefore, the nuns may take the wedding bands at any time. Since the wedding bands symbolize the union of nuns and Christ, the nuns may have them on throughout. It also shows their commitment to service to God.

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