What Are the Duties of a Nun?


Nuns play an integral role in the Catholic faith by providing assistance to the priest, community and convent. They also serve as a model of a devout believer by making a commitment to the church through sacred vows. Nuns complete duties that include maintaining their home, educating parishioners and completing acts of charity.

General Information

  • The duties of nuns are dictated by the diocese, church and the religious order they serve under. Each group of nuns follows an order from a bishop. Orders can consist of emphasizing service, missionary work, religious education or charity. Nuns complete daily duties, as well as duties specific to their order.


  • Nuns take vows of chastity, obedience and poverty. This means that nuns commit to living a chaste life devoid of romantic entanglement. They also agree to live without access to superficial or superfluous material items so that they can concentrate on God and God's plan for their lives. They agree to obey the orders of the church and to depend on the church for food and shelter.


  • Nuns are expected to maintain their home, which is a monastery or convent. They cook, clean, shop, garden, complete yard work and make repairs to the home. Each nun completes her daily set of chores, which can include washing the dishes, preparing food or mopping the floors.

Religious Duties

  • Nuns spend a large portion of their time tending to their spiritual journey. Hours are spent in prayer, reflection and meditation. Nuns also may participate in spiritual retreats and meet with nuns from other convents to discuss their religious beliefs and plan future religious and community events. Nuns also provide assistance to priests and bishops as requested. They also may help set up for Mass if requested by the priest.


  • Nuns can help with religious education. This can take place in Catholic schools, Bible study, Rights of Catholic Initiation for Adults classes, confirmation or Holy Communion classes. The level of involvement in the educational process will depend on the order of the nuns.


  • Orders for nuns include some type of charity work. This work can be in the form of charity for the poor, working in a hospital or convalescent home, working with the mentally ill, working in an orphanage or providing education for young girls. Another common form of charity involves spreading the word of God through missionary work, which nuns can complete in their immediate communities or in other countries.

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