Women entering religious orders today are highly educated and active in parish ministries, according to a recent survey conducted by the Georgetown University-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. The 2010 profession class of women religious was more diverse by race and ethnicity than the U.S. population of women religious in general. Six in 10 identified themselves as white; one in five as Asian and one in 10 as Hispanic. Six percent were African-American or African. The average age of these new women religious was 43. Nearly six in 10 entered religious life with at least a bachelor’s degree, 25 percent with a graduate degree. Four in 10 participated in a youth group before entering religious life. Eighty-five percent had ministry experience before entering their religious institute, most commonly in liturgical ministry, faith formation or social service.
State of the Sisters