General Question

jca's avatar

In a convent, what's the difference between a Mother and a Sister?

Asked by jca (36043points) May 2nd, 2012

I just saw a documentary about nuns (“God is the Bigger Elvis”) and it made me wonder, what is the difference between a Mother and a Sister? In the credits, about half of the nuns were listed as “Mother” and half were listed as “Sister.”

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4 Answers

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

“Mother” is a “Sister” with seniority and supervisory and administrative responsibilities.

gailcalled's avatar

Can a convent have more than one mother? Isn’t the top gun the Mother Superior?

marinelife's avatar

In the Catholic Church, a nun is a woman who has taken solemn vows (the male equivalent is often called a monk or friar). The main distinction between a nun and a sister is that nuns have solemn vows and sisters have simple vows, which allows them to inherit property, unlike a nun. A nun who is elected to head her religious house is termed an abbess if the house is an abbey or more generically may be referred to as the Mother Superior and styled “Reverend Mother”. Wikipedia

It is different for nuns of different faiths such as Buddhism and Eastern Orthodox.

@gailcalled The mental image invoked by your use of the tern “top gun” sent me rofl.

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