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What Happens To Pregnant Nuns?

Being a nun is a high calling. When you decide to take on this path, you basically leave your civilian rules and freedoms to follow a new set of rules.

You abandon your money, family, wealth, and other life pleasures and surrender yourself to God.

You must take a poverty vow where you accept to live a simple life.

Your daily life will revolve around praying, carrying out activities in the church, and committing charitable acts.

Things like social media, smartphones, everyday wear, makeup, and more become inaccessible to you.

As if that’s not enough, nuns are required to take the vow of chastity. This simply means that they cannot have sexual/romantic relationships or get married.

Those that have been married before must divorce before joining the convent.

This begs the question of what happens if a nun gets pregnant.

If you are curious, we have a great guide for you.

First things first…

Can Nuns Get Pregnant?

Certainly! Nuns are women with functioning reproductive systems just like any other female.

They have menstrual cycles meaning they ovulate every month.

Their uteruses also work perfectly and can carry children if they engage in sexual activities with healthy men. This can happen voluntarily or involuntarily.

Throughout history, some nuns have found themselves with children.

One of the famous ones is Sister Virginia Maria – a 17th-century nun from Italy.

 She broke her vow of chastity and gave birth twice.

When one of the nuns threatened to tell on her, Maria’s boyfriend killed her.

 In 1960, European nuns got pregnant after being raped by soldiers. They secured abortions, which were allowed by the Catholic Church.

Then there is a 2011 case of a 40-year-old Congolese nun who gave birth in Italy’s Marche region after being raped by a priest.

The Outcome Of A Pregnant Nun Is Still Unclear

Despite taking chastity vows, some nuns fall pregnant.

 It has been happening over the years with most of the cases being swept under the carpet.

The most recent one is the story of two nuns that discovered they were pregnant during a missionary trip to Africa.

Both nuns were stationed in Sicily although under different orders.

One was from the town of Militello Rosmarino, Messina, and the other one was from Ispica, Ragusa.

According to the Gazzetta del Sud newspaper, one of the nuns worked with an institute that supported women and children as a mother superior.

The woman found out that she was 7 weeks pregnant during the trip.

She later went to her home in Madagascar to deliver the baby.

The second nun discovered the pregnancy after being hospitalized because of stomach pains. She, too, had to go home to Palermo to prepare to birth her child.

A church source told ANSA news agency that the nuns breached the chastity rules but the welfare of the children was more important.

The most probable outcome is the women leaving their religious duties behind. They would choose to raise their children and give up the monastery altogether.

It isn’t sufficiently clear what happens when a nun turns up pregnant.

The Catholic Church hasn’t been too upfront about the issue.

Most of the cases actually don’t make it to mainstream media.

The one about the two nuns hit the headlines against the will of the church and the communities the women served.

As such, it is pretty difficult to put a hand on what happens after.

All we know is that when pregnancies occur in the convent, the church often launches an investigation into the same.

Sometimes the nun would be moved to a different order.

Other times the woman would abandon the convent and start a life outside of the church.

There are also reports of the nuns aborting the fetuses in secret to avoid shame and expulsion from the convent.

Typically, issues to do with sex and pregnancies among nuns are rather complex.

While sometimes nuns engage in sexual activities out of their own will, most times they are abused by clergymen. These include bishops, priests, and monks.

Even Pope Francis himself once admitted that nuns are indeed repeatedly taken advantage of by clergymen and that they need more protection.

In such a case, punishing a nun for being pregnant would be rather unfair.

Again, there’s no idea what happens to the nun but there’s a chance that she will move to a different congregation and continue with service to her order.

Obviously, her child will be raised outside the convent by someone else.

Also check: Are Nuns Celibate?

Closing Thoughts

Convent life is pretty strict. No matter your sexual urges, your calling requires you to remain celibate.

Nuns are stripped of the right to have sex or get pregnant once they take their vows of chastity.

 The women are basically brides of Christ and sleeping with another man is committing adultery.

If they do get pregnant, there’s no telling how the church will treat their cases.

Nevertheless, if the pregnancy happened voluntarily, the chance of serving in the convent are very low.  

Kenyalogue Contributor

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