The role of women within the Roman Catholic Church has always been limited, but those who wish to serve God through the church have the option of becoming a nun. These women are considered to be brides of Christ, and they wear a wedding gown when they are finally initiated into their order. Wedding rings are also worn when they take their vows, and they are allowed to wear them at all times as well as a cross.
The vows taken by nuns include obedience, chastity and poverty. Each of these vows has a significant role in how their future life will be conducted, and breaking these vows can be reason for expulsion from their order or being ex-communicated from the church. The seriousness of their vows is not undertaken lightly, and each nun must serve as a postulant for at least half a year before she is allowed to make her commitment.
Nuns have never been considered part of the clergy, but they do have their own roles within the church. Their convent must be able to support itself, so each sister has assigned tasks with this goal in mind. Some of them work in the garden, and others find part-time employment in the outside world. Teaching has long been a traditional field for nuns, and they are one reason the church has been able to offer private schooling to church members. Each one contributes her share to help all her sisters survive and continue their order.
The responsibilities of nuns are many, but their most important one is to pray to God for those within this world who need assistance and spiritual guidance. They do this by attending church services several times per day, and much of the rest of their time goes to serving those in need within their community.