Members of female monastic orders are called nuns, and their vocation is to be the praying, beating heart of the Church at its centre. Unlike apostolic sisters, they do not serve manually within their communities, but their vocation is praying for the world from within the walls of their convent/monastery enclosure. Monastic communities support themselves through manual work such as producing altar breads, liturgical garments, and religious artwork, amongst other trades.

Nuns are usually cloistered, meaning that they do not leave their convent/monastery apart from on rare occasions, for example for visits to the doctor. This frees them from worldly attachments and allows them to give themselves entirely to Christ, and this allows for a much deeper self-conversion than if they were to remain 'in the world'. For more information, head to cloisteredlife.com.

Monastic communities follow, and are defined by, a specific Rule, such as the Benedictines, who follow the Rule of Saint Benedict. Unlike apostolic orders, which can be much more varied and have broken off into many new sub-orders over time, many monastic orders still follow ways of life that have remained unchanged for hundreds of years. 

At the bottom of this page you will find links to some female monastic communities in the UK.

The video below, produced by the Benedictine nuns of Sainte Marie des Deux-Montagnes (Canada) gives a beautiful insight to the contemplative life.

Rule of St Benedict

Followed by Benedictines, Cistercians and Trappists

Click here to view

Rule of St



Followed by Poor Clares


Click here to view

Rule of St



Followed by Carmelites


Click here to view

Rule of St


Followed by Franciscans

Click here to view

Vocation story
Sr Elizabeth  (Benedictine nun)
Click here
Vocation story
Sr Olivia
(Carmelite nun)
Click here
Vocation story
Sr Mary Theresa
(Poor Clare nun)
Click here

Some numbers...

Over 700 Carmelite nuns in 70 nations.

900 Benedictine nuns in 11 monasteries worldwide

1,592 Trappistine nuns worldwide

Nuns in the UK

Click on the title of an monastic Order to go to their website.


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