Do Nuns Represent Mary?

Question: If priests stand “in persona Christi” does this mean that nuns stand “in persona Maria”? Or in English…do Nuns represent Mary as Priests represent Christ?

Nuns wait for Pope Francis to lead mass in St. Peter’s Square. CNS photo/Allessandro Bianchi, Reuters

Not necessarily. Many women religious consider the imitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary an integral part of their spiritualty… but the same could be said of lay women and men, religious brothers, priests, bishops, and even our Holy Father, Pope
Francis. Because the vows consecrated women take at their profession describe them as “brides of Christ,” it might be most accurate to imagine them as representing the intimate relationship between Christ and the Church. Scripture and tradition overflow with images of Christ as the Bridegroom and the Church (which is you and me and all of the clergy and religious and faithful throughout all time) as the Bride. Women religious (which can refer to nuns—consecrated women living a monastic vocation—and sisters—consecrated women living a vocation that takes them outside cloistered walls) offer us a living example of what it means for the Church to be in loving, committed union with her Bridegroom, Christ. Interested in learning more about religious vocations in the Church? Check out VISION: Catholic Religious Vocation Network.

Caitlin Kennell Kim is a full-time baby wrangler, writer, and ponderer of all things theological. She earned her Masters of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry and Theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. She currently lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband and their four small children.