You may be a nun if …

Blog Published: May 8, 2009
By Sister Julie

God works in so many ways and can call us to a vocation to become a Catholic sister or nun in sometimes the most unexpected ways. Here are a few of those unexpected clues that eventually helped me to come to my nun realization!

You may be a nun if …

  • have vocation/nun material hidden where no one can find it
  • you want nothing to do with the idea of being a nun, but yet you find it strangely compelling too
  • you know what it’s like to fall in love with a person or a lifework yet it feels like all the pieces aren’t quite together yet … something is missing
  • you regularly engage in “nun surveillance

How would you finish this sentence? “You may be a nun if …

Archived Comments

Another Sister Julie, CSSF May 8, 2009 at 6:45 am

-your clothing starts centering around one color, is plain and everything mixes and matches
-you go for a power walk and end up stopping to take in that beautiful sunrise, to admire a field of wildflowers, to listen to the birds
-your music mix has mostly Christian music and church hymns
-your reading list has mostly titles including the words God or Saint
-your hands are raised in prayer before your computer monitor or newspaper in response to all the bad news your read
-you de-clutter your life to the bare essentials, giving most of your belongings to the poor in preparation for that day you finally make the big move to the convent
-you find your heart is too big to give to one man or one family

Amparo May 8, 2009 at 7:27 am

-you feel butterflies in your stomach everytime you see a nun
-you ask every nun you see what congregation she belongs to and what is it that they do
-you start talking to your frinds about the love of God

There have to be many others but I can’t think more right now, I really liked some of the ones you both wrote: “you know what it’s like to fall in love with a person or a lifework yet it feels like all the pieces aren’t quite together yet … something is missing” and “you find your heart is too big to give to one man or one family” … “your music mix has mostly Christian music and church hymns” … “your clothing starts centering around one color, is plain and everything mixes and matches” They are like automatic! it’s so funny! LOL Thanks for sharing!

PaxChristi May 8, 2009 at 8:57 am

I love this! As someone who is not a nun, but is discerning religious life, I would add…

-you got unnecessarily excited about the electronic version of the Breviary you found online
-you are reading this blog…AND you have it bookmarked
-your bookmarks bar/favorites folder has a disproportionate number of Catholic/Christian/spiritual/nun-related sites
-you find yourself singing the songs from Mass all week, and you don’t care who hears you!
-you are both tickled pink and terrified by how well the items on this list describe you…

audrat May 8, 2009 at 9:38 am

-You agree to go to a “Come and See” retreat TWO days before the actual retreat instead of waiting another couple of monthes for the next one because you know you won’t get enough courage to go again
-You meet about a hundred nuns you’ve never meant in a place you’ve never been yet feel at home the entire time
-You make up TONS of excuses to why you can’t go to the “Come and See” but your teachers are magically cool with you skipping class, your choir director lets you skip a choir concert, a nun you’ve never meant offers to drive you to the motherhouse and she does
-You try to freak out about being in a motherhouse in Michigan but your mind won’t let you…it’s too much at peace
-You don’t get intimdated at all when the nuns put you on the spot at a party about your job at a NPR station
-You live in the same town on the same street as the motherhouse your visiting but in a different state…I believe one of the nuns called it the “misplaced zygote syndrome”
-You don’t mind giving up classes, the chance to do homework, your friend coming home from the Navy, the biggest party of the year at your college, a choir concert because you know it was totally worth giving up everything and you would gladly do it all again

Sister Julie May 8, 2009 at 8:22 am

“your clothing starts centering around one color, is plain and everything mixes and matches” … i like that one 

Sister Julie May 8, 2009 at 10:06 am

audrat … a very big 

Annie May 8, 2009 at 3:19 pm

-You think spending $20 constitutes a perfectly valid shopping spree.
-People are afraid to swear in front of you.
-You’ve often stood by while a priest gets all the credit for all the hard work you’ve done. Like, really often.
-The smell of wonder wax makes you feel at home.
-You know that the word “religious” is both an adjective and a noun.
-You keep tacking an “s” to the word “Constitution,” even when it doesn’t warrant it.
-You know the Chapter of Faults isn’t something you read.
-You can recognize religious orders by their habits.
-Upon hearing a rap song, you think “the sisters” refers to nuns, even though it probably refers to a gang.

My “you may want to be a nun if…” list has already been covered. I think TERROR pretty much sums it up. 

Discerninglife25 May 8, 2009 at 5:25 pm

-You were scared out of your wits to find that today’s post had to do with knowing whether or not you’d be a nun.
-You get called the “future nun” a lot, but you absolutely hate it.
-You’ve stuck a statue of Jesus in a nun’s shower
-You don’t even want to consider religious life, but it keeps on coming back…

Nathalie May 8, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Yeah, you gotta be careful with those Jesus statues in the shower, right, DL? Too funny!

-nothing else makes sense
-everything starts to make sense

Sister Lyngine Dominique-Marie, AIHM May 8, 2009 at 8:31 pm

-you watch you tube videos of nuns (vocation stories, profession, etc) over and over again
-you have multiple movies about nuns or religious on your Netflix cue (this still happens even after one becomes a nun )
-you will read just about any news article or story about a nun
-the idea of being a nun is terrifying but also breathtakingly fascinating
-you think that it’s perfectly normal to spend a large part of ones time in church
-you’ve ever said to God “You’ve got to be kidding. You want me to do what????”
-you don’t think twice about what the words breviary, liturgy of the hours, or divine office mean
-you think the idea of sanctifying the day with prayer is beautiful

Another Sister Julie, CSSF May 8, 2009 at 8:43 pm

“You’ve stuck a statue of Jesus in a nun’s shower” — Our chapel’s cross has a figure of the Risen Jesus on it. For Lent one year, the sisters took it down and draped the cross in purple. They put the 6 ft figure on a bed in a spare room. Well, I came in for a meeting during that time and stayed in the room across from the hall where Risen Jesus was “resting.” For some reason, someone left that room’s door ajar, so when I came out of my room the next morning (pre-coffee), I saw a “man” on the bed and nearly screamed!

You know you’re a nun when …
-you’re most comfortable when you are around other nuns
-if you purchase shoes for comfort and durability instead of style

Ray May 8, 2009 at 10:33 pm

You might be a nun (or know many nuns) if you throw initials like OSF, CSJ, CSsR like it’s your job and your friends have no idea what you’re talking about except to wonder if it’s that religious instant message slang for lol, brb, and ttyl.

Sister Julie May 9, 2009 at 4:03 am


Lucia May 9, 2009 at 7:13 am

-upon discovering you in the school chapel an hour after school has ended, your friends are bemused and ask if I was practicing the piano in there or something.

Dominique May 9, 2009 at 9:26 am

-You count down the days until you will be at the convent again.
-Just looking at the convent makes you think ” I am HOME!”
-You are so nervous everytime you are on your way to see the Sisters, but laugh at yourself for your butterflies.
-You kneel in the Chapel to Pray but as soon as you hear the door open you jump up hoping its not a Sister walking in.
-You realize: Life would be SO much easier to not become a nun, but at the same time: You wouldn’t have it ANY other way.
-Somehow, no matter where you are and what you are doing, your thoughts keep drifting back to God and when you will be entering formation.
-The Sisters crack you up like nobody else can, and even thinking about their crazy personalities months after you smile.

Susan May 9, 2009 at 9:40 am

-you can quote long passages from every book about nuns you have ever read.
-you engage in “nun stalking” (like nun surveillance, only creepier), concocting stupid questions that will give you an excuse to talk to a nun.
-your favorite book is a novel about nuns that you’ve read every year since you were 11
-your biggest regret in life is that you didn’t listen when God called you the first time.

Sister Julie May 9, 2009 at 11:44 am

-you hang out with a bunch of friars and feel at home because they remind you of your nuns
-your natural way of complimenting someone (anyone) is by saying “you are such a good nun”
-you know that when you don’t have the energy to persevere, your sisters are there to lift you up

Discerninglife25 May 9, 2009 at 11:56 am

-You are a member of your bishop’s fan club and you think he tops even the Beatles in awesomeness (which is pretty hard to do.)
-You think you see nuns and priests out of the corner of your eyes, but when you look, you find out that they really weren’t there.
-You founded a stalker’s club for your school nun. is your homepage and you check it every day.

Dominique May 9, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Man, DL i hate that! I get all excited!! Hey!!!! i see a sister and i turn to look only to see….its not a Sister. haha Maybe one day it will be When i was first thinking about becoming a nun i would go on long walks with him REALLY late at night, but i felt safe because he was right there next ot me.

Lucia May 9, 2009 at 1:07 pm

I see (non-)priests/nuns/sisters out of the corner of my eyes too. Really freaks me out. 

I feel like the only person on the planet who doesn’t have an attachment to a pet. (My parents, together, are allergic to everything that lives and breathes, LOL! Allergy shots are expensive enough to make us completely give up on having a pet.) I wouldn’t say that makes me better off or worse off than anyone else…I only say this because I find it interesting to see how much this affects people. Since I haven’t experienced it myself, I really have no idea what it’s like.

I have a lot of friends who are only children that have mentioned similar things to me — what is having siblings like? (I have two sisters, one of whom is practically my Siamese twin we’re so close!) So, again, it’s just interesting to see how people have different attachments that affect them. The whole pet thing never occurred to me, so I’d really like for Sr. Julie to put up a post on this…very eye-opening.

Another Sister Julie, CSSF May 9, 2009 at 5:51 pm

-You see nuns on TV or in movies and can compare them to actual nuns you know. (Just saw Sister Act II again. Did it. Again.)

P.S. for Susan: My book is “In This House of Brede.” I haven’t read it in a couple of years. I have to find it and read it again. What’s your book?

Susan May 9, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Sister Julie CSSF, Mine is “In This House of Brede,” too! It totally turned this little Methodist girl into a nun junkie. I’ve read all of Rumer Godden’s nun books–”Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy” and “Black Narcissus”–but none are as good as “Brede.” It is directly responsible for making me a Benedictine oblate and almost a Catholic (but I stopped at Lutheran–couldn’t quite get past the “women can’t be priests” thing). I find something new every time I read it (and, frighteningly, I can quote large sections of it verbatim!)

Sr. Julie V., there’s a terrific section in there on nuns and pets–I’ll look for it and e-mail it to you when I find it if you’d like to use it in your column on that topic next week.

Whitney May 9, 2009 at 6:40 pm

-your professor compliments the nun costume you wore for halloween when you didn’t dress up
-you convince yourself you don’t want to be a nun but think about applying for every church job that comes open
-you tell your friends you’re thinking about being a nun and they ask what took you so long
-the random bumps in the road suddenly appear to be preparing you for something
-you can put a big check next to almost all of the comments left here 

sarah May 10, 2009 at 5:09 am

-all your favorite movies have characters that are nuns
-you dress according to your favorite order
-you name your car after a saint
-if you see an attractive guy, your first response is God revealed his beauty very well in him and then move on
-your cell phone ring is the chimes of bells
-every time your at a convent, you are dying to sneak into the cloistered area
-you would rather hang out with nuns/sisters instead of your friends
-your birthday wish is to become Christ’s bride
-you find a way to relate everything to scripture
-you have a song picked out that is “our song” for Jesus
-you quote from Saints on a daily basis
-you make a cross in the dirt
-you panic when you are not wearing your scapular
-you pray at stop lights
-you would rather be in the Chapel than at a party
-you go nun hunting
-you try to picture your professors as nuns/ priests

Discerninglife25 May 10, 2009 at 8:00 am

-You pray the “Our Lady of the Highway” prayer before you start driving everyday–just to be more like the nuns that taught you
-When you wash your hands you say a Hail Mary–just like the nuns that taught you…
-You say “nunsense” instead of “nonsense”
-You think nuns are the best comedians in the world because they have God’s humor 

Catrin May 10, 2009 at 2:01 pm

-When you push the notion of religious life aside, you start to see nuns everywhere
-You are asked by four different nuns if you are interested in joining their order (and you’re still in high school)
-You “practice” being a nun by wearing veils made out of bath towels

eily246 May 10, 2009 at 6:54 pm

-When you already work for nuns and look forward to spending a weekend on retreat at the same convent you work at.
-When you refer to a congregation as “my nuns”

missjane May 10, 2009 at 10:33 pm

-you’re sitting in the sun in a Sydney park during WYD because it’s a freezing morning, and a group of American students walk past, say “good morning sister,” and you say “good morning” … and then it hits you a minute later that they thought you were a nun!

missjane May 10, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Someone else has pointed out subscribing to this blog as a sign… scary how many of these I have!! (not *all* of them, mind you 

Someone mentioned being part of a bishop’s fan club… a friend and I are huge fans of our bishop and archbishop, but we call ourselves Pope groupies (err, in a good way!) and are constantly buying each other things about JPII or Benedict!

Lucia May 11, 2009 at 1:17 pm

-when you look in the mirror you try to imagine only your face and hands being visible. Then you imagine your white school shirt as the top of your white habit.
-in your endeavors to hide your nun-info on the computer, your parents develop an idea that you have a secret crush and are emailing him all the time. (Their reaction if I told them my not-so-secret crush was Jesus would be fascinating.)

jill May 11, 2009 at 2:53 pm

-your sense of geography is tied to where the nuns you know live (ie, “oh, you live in [insert name of city/town/village/hamlet]…do you know Sister so-and-so ???”)
-you figure that, since you know one nun in a given community, you have a connection to all of them
-you travel via the ‘nun network,’ which means either 1) you visit all ‘your’ nuns on your way between points a & b; or 2) you have no qualms about asking sisters from other communities if you can stay with them when passing through town, because…
-your six degrees of separation in the nun network is actually two!

Marigold May 12, 2009 at 7:03 am

-you think two pairs of shoes is plenty.
-you casually mention to your priest that you’re considering religious life, and he says, “I know”

Melissan May 12, 2009 at 9:23 am

-When you go to the Motherhouse and like everybody knows your name even though you forgot the name tag. That’s creepy.

Another Sister Julie, CSSF May 12, 2009 at 12:01 pm

-You go to the movies or watch TV and relate the plot points to Bible verses or the lives of Saints. (Did that with the new Star Trek movie just this weekend!)

Discerninglife25 May 12, 2009 at 2:11 pm

-When you appear in your order’s vocational newsletter even though you haven’t even begun discerning with them at all….

claudine May 15, 2009 at 2:21 am

wow!!!!! everything in here that says “your a nun if” fits me … well four years that ive been running away from his call but i realized that i am just prolonging my agony..for HE is my one true love,my greatest love without JESUS i am june i will start my formation so please pray for me…i will be praying for you all….PAX ET BONUM

Sr. Liza May 15, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Hi Claudine! June is just around the corner. I will certainly keep you in my prayers as you go through the transition. Blessings, Sr. Liza

claudine May 15, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Sr. Liza, thank you for your prayers….the waiting time makes me feel a little bit nervous but most of all excited as well. but i know that life inside the convent is not easy many trials and hardships i will certainly face,and truth be told im afraid,but hey,JESUS did not promise us an earthly paradise right?HE even said that if you follow me you have to take up your cross.sister i am praying that all of us most specially religious and priest to follow HIM unto crucifixion…yes sister i pray that i will follow HIM forever…. PAX ET BONUM……

Dita May 17, 2009 at 2:32 pm

-a pop song comes on a love song and it is as if JEsus is singing,”Never found a love like this, all the guys try to take me your the ONE That saved me I feel like I owe you my life and as strange as it may seems I will go if you take me I am willing to sacrifice and that is why you keep on running in and out of mind…” Lyrics from Love Like This
-when you get dressed in the morning or can’t find clothes… if only I had a habit to put on…
-when you clean you pray while doing dishes with roomies
-when you pray for conversions of people that you pass at a 70,000 people uni.
-when you look up convents and orders at midnight as a exam study break
-when you ask a Sister what order she is in asap
-when you start booking nun runs instead of spending time with your friends during summer
-when you tell a boy that he would make a good monk that you find attractive, but pray for his vocation!
-when you make up songs with the Saints … “A little bit of St. Rita by my side, a little bit of Blessed Mary in the sun, A little bit of St. Margaret pray for us”

Katie June 5, 2009 at 6:53 am

Some are repeats but they are from personal experience…all of them
1. You hide religious literature under your bed/in your desk/in your dresser.
2. You immediately try to change the subject when the religious life is brought into conversation.
3. You automatically think that whenever anything related to the religious life is brought up-in normal conversation-that you think it’s directed at you and it’s a sign that the life is for you.
Ex. There was a retreat held at one of the convents-not discernment related-and it’s mentioned to you and you immediately think/say…I’ve already discerned that it’s not my calling.
4. You somehow find yourself in your car going to Adoration multiple times per week…just because. (It’s the car’s fault, you think.)
5. Almost all of your boyfriends were going to be priests or at least were thinking about it and thought it was super cool.
6. You find yourself always singing Christian songs and playing Gospel Hymns on the piano.
7. You frequently visit religious life websites on the internet and engage in conversations about God…a-lot.
8. You get super excited about religious holidays.
9. You find yourself unsatisfied in relationships with the opposite sex-feeling like there is something missing.
10. You live a very simplistic lifestyle-not really caring about fancy clothes, material items…etc.
11. Your life mainly revolves around church, adoration, and prayer.
12. You enjoy visiting convents and helping out others!
13. Your day is a long prayer-When you see others you automatically want to pray for them, esp. the ones that need it!
14. You get excited about going to confession and find yourself filled with joy and laugh in the confessional…and that becomes something regular.
15. You wish you had a uniform to wear because picking out clothes is just not fun at all.
16. Alot of your friends are priests/seminarians! You really enjoy their company.
17. You find that you have alot in common with the religious life and priests!
18. You love going to church and take it very hard if you have to miss mass.
19. You get offended when people make fun of nuns.
Ex. This co-worker said, “Can you believe that there are woman that claim their boyfriend is Jesus?” [in reference to another co-worker]
20. You find yourself reading alot of nun literature and then wonder why you are doing it ..because it’s definitely NOT for you.
21. You come to realize that God chooses you for the vocation. You can choose Him if you want to be happy or like Burger King-Have it YOUR way. I would rather choose His way.
22. You become super nervous that people think you are going to become a nun and be taken away to this horrible place where you are so deprived. You kind of chuckle because you know that it’s NOTHING like that.
23. You have intense urges to go back to the convent to ‘come and see’ the residents or wherever you maybe. They are intense…not like camping.
24. You try to hide the fact that you are even contemplating this lifestyle because the world thinks that people must have sex and etc to be happy.
25. You try to make up excuses why this life isn’t for you while the majority of you KNOWS it’s right.
26. You make tons of pros and cons lists of this life vs. married life-you find yourself with an extensive list for the religious life. You try to even it out…but you just can’t.
27. You get bored very easily talking about celebrities, make-up, any of that stuff.
28. People come up to you like you are a priest and say..I’m sorry. I haven’t been going to church and etc.
29. People don’t talk about their relationships in front of you and they don’t swear in front of you. (If you’re lucky, they won’t talk about sex in front of you.)
30. You don’t get invited to huge parties with alcohol which is super nice!
31. Many many people ask you when you are going to become a nun or say how nice of a nun you would make or that they thought of you as becoming one.
32. You wish you could meet Mother Angelica!
33. You find yourself spending more time watching EWTN when scanning through the channels.
34. You think it would be cool to be one of the nuns praying on EWTN.
35. You have a little voice inside of you that keeps directing you towards this way.
36. You go through the house looking for more religious videos because “Therese” was quite touching. It made you cry.
37. You spend so much time wondering why you were called this way and then you wonder why people aren’t running to join you.
38. You are jealous that you didn’t go to Catholic High while the majority of your friends DID.
39. You had always went around singing Church songs, even when you were little.
40. You go to a Christmas Lights festival at a church with a Nativity scene. You go up and try to get closer to the baby Jesus. You think you are touching Him but you hit the flood lamp. You just tried to get closer to Jesus
41. You don’t really want other religious to see you spending so much time in adoration because then you are kind of hooked because they have “found you out.”
42. You wish you wouldn’t have spent so much time denying that this was your true calling and just accepted it. That’s a biggie!
43. You def. enjoy seeing the bishop and look forward to seeing your fav. priests and nuns. Gives you another time to talk about God!
44. You love how your last relationship prepared you so much for this way of life.
45. You really can see yourself living their lifestyle and dream of when you are spending time with God and Jesus
46. You start making jokes about this life (not bad jokes) and they become habit-forming.
47. Your computer wall paper is the Shrine in Hanceville (So beautiful)
48. Visiting convents is a highlight to your weekends 

Sister Julie June 8, 2009 at 7:02 am

Wow, Katie! That’s impressive! I love #48.

Robyn tssf June 27, 2009 at 4:05 am

1. Your rosary is in your hand as you fall asleep (and in pocket during the day, and every time your hand goes into y0ur pocket, you pray again)
2. You sneak off to the church next door to work to pray the stations of the cross at lunchtime
3. Your extramural university study isn’t getting done because you’re spending all your time online researching religious life instead of what you’re supposed to be researching!
4. Your favourite book is “The Called and the Chosen” by Monica Baldwin (out of print) and when someone lost it for you, you scoured the internet for 10 years to find another copy!
5. You play “A Nun’s Life” whenever you’re alone in the house (but you hate the ending)
6. You are always looking for more intentional ways of living before God
7. The sites you visit daily are all religious
8. The only blogs you follow are written by other sisters!

emily July 5, 2009 at 8:24 pm

-people call you up to ask you to put them on your prayer list
-you have more then one friend that is a sister or a priest
-you get more phone call to hear other persons problems
-you enjoy those phone calls
-in your cell phone you got at less one priest personal cell phone number

paz December 19, 2009 at 11:28 am

You check “your” sisters website several times each day, looking forward to read the 2009-review-newsletter online as soon as it is available, although it will be in your mail 3 days later anyway 

JoyceElaine June 21, 2010 at 5:57 pm

-You read this list months later after it was mentioned in the chatroom, and wonder why you didn’t find this site sooner!

Sister Julie June 21, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Joyce Elaine!

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