Studies are showing a crisis in the Catholic sisterhood in the United States.
A survey by the Pew Research Center found the number of Catholics declined by 13% from 2009 to 2019, leaving fewer looking to become women religious.
A special report by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) found there are more sisters over the age of 90 than under the age of 60, and less than 1% of all women religious are under the age of 40.
According to CARA, the number of religious sisters in the US today has also declined by more than 75% since 1970.
At the rate, religious women in the US will all but disappear by the year 2035.
In spite of the numbers, nuns are keeping a positive outlook.
Sister Joanne Persch from Chicago, who just turned 88, said many of her friends who joined her in religious life in the early 1950s have died.
“Well, I think it’s a big mistake to say that religious life is dying. And I look around me in our community and I see such vibrant, such life. It’s changing and growing into something we can’t even imagine.”
Sister Kelly Williams, also from Chicago, is 34, and plans to take her final vows with the Sisters of Mercy in upcoming years.
“I think I’ve had people be surprised that I like to listen to music and not all of it is religious. I don’t go to bars like I would when I was in college.
We are still fighting that battle as younger, religious women to say this is what a typical American nun looks like in today’s world.
You have to want this. This is about God’s call and responding to that. God’s got big plans, and hopefully, we follow them.”
🙏 Pray for women in religious life!