Difference Between Nun and Sister

Key Difference – Nun vs Sister
 

Nun and sister are commonly used terms to refer to ladies wearing veils and living in convents although there is a difference between a nun and a sister. Both nuns and sisters are seen working in religious orders and serving humanity. Many people use these terms interchangeably as if there is no difference between nuns and sisters. However, despite similarities, there are differences between nuns and sisters. The key difference is that while nuns live a more cloistered life inside a convent, sisters are seen serving people in the mainstream society. Through this article let us make an attempt to gain a clear understanding of the difference between a nun and a sister.

Who is a Nun?

Nun is a religious woman who has chosen to live a cloistered life full of prayer and contemplation. She is part of a religious order and lives a simple life in a convent or a monastery. A nun has to leave mainstream society as she chooses a life devoted to prayer and meditation. The community of nuns is a religious order and you are not wrong if you inadvertently refer to a nun as a sister as they are in fact all sisters.

Difference Between Nun and Sister

Who is a Sister?

A sister in Christian Catholicism is a female who chooses to live a life of prayer and service to humanity and god though she continues to live in the mainstream of the society. Sister is characterized by selfless service to the sick, the needy, and the poor. Sisters try to spread the gospel to those who are unaware, like ones who are uneducated. The workplace of a sister is within the mainstream of the society as they are seen working and providing service in churches, hospitals, schools, orphanages, old age homes, and so on.

Nun vs Sister

What is the difference between Nun and Sister?

Definitions of Nun and Sister:

Nun: Nuns live a more cloistered life inside a convent.

Sister: Sisters are seen serving people in the mainstream society.

Characteristics of Nun and Sister:

Life:

Nun: Nuns are religious females that choose to live a life of prayer and service.

Sister: Similar to nuns, sisters are also religious females that choose to live a life of prayer and service.

Community:

Nun: Nuns’ community is called a religious order.

Sister: The community of sisters is called a congregation.

Work:

Nun: Nuns are confined to churches and convents.Nuns live a more contemplative life full of prayers and meditation in a convent or a monastery.

Sister: Sisters are seen providing service in schools, hospitals, orphanages etc.

 

Image Courtesy:

1. “Armand Gautier – Three Nuns in the Portal of a Church – Walters 371383” by Armand Gautier – Walters Art Museum: Home page  Info about artwork. [Public Domain] via Commons

2. “Sisters (Daughters of Mary) Roman Catholic Singing” bySmith2006  [Public Domain] via Commons