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Boom: number of women becoming nuns in UK reaches 25-year high

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 04/23/15


The number of women becoming nuns in Britain has reached a 25-year high.

Some 45 took holy vows last year – tripled from just 15 in 2009 and the most in one year since the 1980s.

Just seven signed up in 2004 but that has now changed as more women are drawn to the spiritual life.


And Catholic Church figures reveal that many of these are young women, with 14 out of the 45 women who entered convents this year aged 30 or under.

Father Christopher Jamison, of the Vocations Office of the Catholic Church, said: “There is a gap in the market for meaning in our culture. One way women may find that is through religious life.”

Theodora Hawksley, 29, was until recently a postdoctoral researcher in theology at the University of Edinburgh.

But at the beginning of the year she decided to bid farewell to her friends and career,and begin her training to become a nun.

She joined the Congregation of Jesus in January and is now living in their house in Willesden, north London, while taking the first steps towards making vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

Ms Hawksley, originally from Hertfordshire, said: “In one sense it is a bit like trying to explain to somebody why you are marrying the person you are.

“You can list their qualities, but in the end it is a relationship of love.

“But on the other hand, I was drawn to it by wanting a greater freedom in being able to give myself to God and the world.

“I don’t have to worry now about practical things like making a career for myself. I’m free to go where I’m needed and meet people at the margins.”

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