I wanted to ask if a female Religious (ie, a nun or sister) who has become sick and had a hysterectomy, can she be expelled and sent home before her perpetual vows and under which grounds?

  • 1
    If this isn't actually a matter of universal canon law, it may depend on the rules of the order concerned. I suppose if it does then an answer could list a few to demonstrate that. – Andrew Leach Oct 23 '19 at 12:16
  • I've never seen the word "religious" as a noun. I find it a strange usage, when we already have words like nun and monk. I also find it suspect, as I'd expect to find it in a backhanded compliment on an atheist forum. Alas, wikipedia schooling me again, I see that it's more like an old term than a pejorative. – 3961 Oct 23 '19 at 19:22
  • @3961 because there can be religious brothers and sisters who are not nuns or monks. – Matt Gutting Oct 23 '19 at 22:22
  • @3961 "Religious" can be a noun; cf. "choir religious." – Geremia Oct 23 '19 at 22:23
  • @MattGutting Although "nun" can apply to all female religious, usually "nun" = cloistered, "sister" = non-cloistered. – Geremia Oct 23 '19 at 22:24

Can a Religious (a nun) be expelled from her order after a hysterectomy?

The short answer is no.

No religious would be expelled from their Religious Order simple because they got sick and doctors had to perform an hysterectomy. If she developed cancer and the hysterectomy was deemed necessary, there would be no sin in having an hysterectomy. The surgery could be necessary because cancer is a death sentence, if left untreated.

That said I have known religious to be sent home to their families in order to recuperate from surgery and illness, but returned after a time of convalescence and once their health had improved.

Not at all the same as a hysterectomy, but the amputation of a limb for example would not be a cause for expulsion from a Religious Order.

We see in the life of Brother Anthony Kowalczyk, OMI suffered a grievous accident that made it necessary for the doctor to amputate one of his hands while still a simply professed brother. He eventually went on to become a solemnly professed Oblate of Mary Immaculate.


Most Religious Orders ask that postulants, novices and simple vowed Religious must generally have good health in order to take perpetual vows. Having an hysterectomy in itself is not a reason for permission not to be granted the grace to pronounce solemn vows, but if the cause is of the hysterectomy was simply a bandaid in one’s health (terminal cancer) in order to prolong one’s life, the Religious in question could be asked to leave due to general poor health. Some communities, nevertheless, allow such persons to remain in the community as oblates or internal oblates.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.