General: nun

A 'nun' is a woman who has taken special vows committing her to a religious life. They must adopt a celibate life, refraining from marriage and sexual relationships, including masturbation and 'impure thoughts' (such as sexual visualization and fantasies).

They are recognized by their distinctive set of garments, called a habit, and cross or crucifix.

The term 'nun' is applicable to Catholics – both eastern and western traditions – Orthodox Christians, Anglicans, Lutherans, Jains, Buddhists, and Taoists.

While in common usage, the terms 'nun' and 'sister' are often used interchangeably, in some cases they are differentiated; a 'nun' being a religious female who lives a contemplative cloistered life of prayer and meditation, while a 'sister', in Christian denominations, lives an active vocation of prayer and service, often to the needy, sick, poor, and uneducated.

See also: miko (shrine maiden)

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