CARA report: Religious communities show varied, nuanced trends

Nuns pose outside St. Mary of Perpetual Help School in Chicago in 1922. (CNS/Courtesy Leadership Conference of Women Religious)

For the last 50 years, the prevailing narrative in the United States has been that the number of Catholic sisters is steadily declining. However, in a special report released Monday, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate says maybe we should reconsider that blunt storyline.

"Past studies that have presented the overall population of Catholic sisters in the United States have focused on the rapid decline that the total numbers revealed," the new report states, "but such studies did not provide the more nuanced narrative of what decline meant for the individual institute."

So instead of tracking the total number of women religious in the United States, in the spring, CARA looked at data for each individual institute of women religious as reported to the Official Catholic Directory since 1970.

Read the full story at Global Sisters Report.

Join the Conversation

Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Learn more here