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Young Women Get Themselves to a Nunnery

 by Bennett Gordon

Tags: spirituality, nuns, Catholic, Religion and Ethics Newsweekly,

Images of nuns in popular culture often involve austere older women, lording over classrooms of inattentive young children. That stereotype is not always undeserved, in a country where the average age of nuns is 70 years old. The Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia, however, are changing the face of convents in America, Betty Rollin reported in February for the Religion and Ethics Newsweekly show on PBS. The Nashville, Tennessee-based convent has an average age of 36, and their numbers are growing. Influenced by the former pope John Paul II, a new generation of young women are embracing the ultra-conservative lifestyle practiced by the convent, including days that start at 5 am, meals held in silence, and, of course, strict vows of celibacy.