Fewer Kerala women join convents

This trend coincides with a slowdown in the growth of Christian population in India and their improving prosperity, say social activists and Church representatives.

Kochi: 
The number of Kerala women joining convents is fast dwindling because of shrinking family sizes and expanding career opportunities, say Church people.

"There is a 70-75% drop in the number of women who were joining convents to be nuns," compared to the 1960s, says Sebastian Adayanthrath, Auxiliary Bishop of Ernakulum-Angamaly archdiocese.

Kerala once boasted of sending larger number of nuns to work in Catholic missions across India. But the trend is now reversing as numbers of nuns are increasing in northern states.

The bishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church said the peak was in the mid-1960s, when there were as many as two dozens of nuns were newly admitted every year in each province. 

It lasted for about a decade, and then, started to decline to about 20 by 1985 and 10 in the past decade, he says. Today, there are just three or four admissions per convent.?

This trend coincides with a slowdown in the growth of Christian population in India and their improving prosperity, say social activists and Church representatives. 

In the 1960s and 1970s, it was a practice among many families to send one or two children to the Church. That has mostly stopped as today's families have just one or two kids, who have many career options. Women from Kerala now travel across the globe to work in healthcare, IT and other industries. 

"Today's woman is aware of her needs, knows the job opportunities around her," says writer and social activist Sarah Joseph. 

"She has increasingly come to respect herself or her identity and believes in taking her own decision." And, the declining trend in women taking up monastic life is a global phenomenon, she says.

According to Bishop Adayanthrath, there was a 25 percent decline in the number of nuns globally between 1965 and 2010: from about 10 lakh to around 7.5 lakh.

Sister Jesme, who walked out of the convent where she lived 33 years as a nun, has a similar view about convent life: "There is no democracy there, only hierarchy."

Interestingly, there is no decline in the number of men who come forward to become priests. Church spokesmen say this may be because the priest's job is more visible. He has a social standing because of the functions that he has to do, they said.

However, many women in North India are attracted by the life of a nun as they are struck by the way a nuns from elsewhere works a strange land with unfamiliar culture and language, say Church people.

Source: economic times

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ten − ten =