The qualifications for becoming a nun differ based on the church’s order; in most situations, women are no longer required to be virgins. They must, however, meet a number of other standards.
Women must be single to become nuns in the Catholic and Benedictine orders. Widows are permitted as nuns as well, but divorced women are not. A divorced woman must first seek and acquire an annulment before becoming a nun. Nuns are only allowed to become nuns after their children have grown up. In each order, only Catholic or Roman Catholic women are accepted. Women from other religions must first convert.
Many ecclesiastical orders have different age criteria, with some barring acceptance to women between the ages of 18 and 25, while others admit women in their 40s and 50s. Most orders also need some type of verification of the candidate’s physical and mental health. Women must be debt-free before being admitted into a training programme. While some orders urge women to receive a college diploma before applying for a training programme, it is not obligatory. Women accepted into a nun preparation programme often undergo several years of instruction before being ordained.
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