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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Vatican issues new rules for communities of contemplative nuns

The Vatican released an instruction with new norms for contemplative orders of nuns, encouraging co-operation among their monasteries and outlining procedures for communities left with only a few members.

The document, Cor Orans (Praying Heart) is a follow-up instruction on implementing Pope Francis’ 2016 document Vultum Dei Quaerere (Seeking the Face of God), which issued new rulings and mandates for monasteries of women around the world. The aim of both, the Vatican said, is to safeguard the identity and mission of contemplative women religious.

The pope charged the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life with creating the new instruction, which seeks to fill the legislative gaps left since Pope Pius XII’s apostolic constitution Sponsa Christi, from 1950, and facilitate carrying out the mandates in Vultum Dei Quaerere.

The instruction was released by the Vatican on 15th May and went into effect immediately.

Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, secretary of the congregation, told reporters one of the most significant changes is requiring a monastery or contemplative community of women religious to have at least eight professed religious women in order to maintain their autonomy.

Picture: A nun holds a copy of Cor Orans, a new instruction for contemplative women religious, during a news conference for its release at the Vatican on 15th May. The instruction concerns the life, autonomy, supervision and formation of contemplative women religious. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).