Religious Life - Women

“Happy the soul to whom it is given to attain this life with Christ, to cleave with all one’s heart to him whose beauty all the heavenly hosts behold forever, whose love inflames our love.”

St. Clare of Assisi

Sisters / Nuns

For women, the most common choice is to join a religious congregation. This is a community of women who live and work together following a common charism. To understand what a charism is, read this article or watch this video.  

All religious sisters take the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience (called the Evangelical Counsels). In addition to these three basic vows, some congregations take a 4th vow depending on their charism e.g. The Little Sisters of the Poor take a 4th vow of hospitality, the Sisters of Life take a 4th vow to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life.

So, those who join a religious congregation follow a particular charism and take at least three basic vows.

Within religious life for women, there are primarily two types: Active and Contemplative / Cloistered.

Active Congregations (Sisters)

Active religious communities usually have an ‘active’ area of ministry in which they work e.g. education, healthcare, social work, pastoral care etc. This is also called a charism. Most of the sisters you know will likely be members of ‘active’ religious congregations. There are over 300 religious congregations in India, so choosing one is not very easy. However, since you are seeking, trust that God will lead you to the right place.

This is a list of religious congregations in India. However, it doesn’t have detailed information about each congregation. A good way to start discernment is to think of the congregations you know (sisters who were in your school, hospitals, parish) and see if any of them are a good fit. Another way to shortlist and figure out a correct fit is to complete this survey. The whole site Vision Vocation Network is an excellent resource for those discerning.

If you know a specific ministry/charism/congregation you are interested in, we can help connect you to the right person. Mail us at

To know more about the life of a nun, the site A Nun’s Life gives a lot of good information. It tells you about the daily life of nuns, how to discern, how to become a nun, etc. However, it is based on the life of sisters in the US, so all aspects will not be representative of life in India.


The vow of Chastity does not mean
remaining empty in love.
It means allowing oneself to become
overcome with Passion for God.

– Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Contemplative / Cloistered  Congregations (Nuns)

The primary mission of contemplative sisters is prayer. They usually remain within the monastery or cloister and only leave the cloister in exceptional circumstances. Their day is divided into times of prayer, work and community life. To know more about the contemplative religious life, you can visit Cloistered Life or this site. Some articles from mainstream media about contemplative convents in India are here and here.

Some contemplative congregations that have a presence in India are:

  • Carmelites
  • Poor Clare Colettines (Aluva, Kerala)

If you would like access to these congregations or more information, email us at