Some, mostly of enclosed communities, have undertaken the work of Perpetual Adoration, while others devote themselves to ecclesiastical embroidery and the making of church vestments.This particular kind of work has always been characteristic of English nuns, whose embroidery, known as the opus anglicanum , was famous in medieval times (Matthew Paris, Rolls, ed., IV, an. The ordinary routine of life in a nunnery has always corresponded approximately with that of a monastery.
Physical fitness on the part of a candidate is in most orders an indispensable condition, thought there are some which admit women of delicate health; but, once admitted and professed, the tract becomes reciprocal, and while the nun undertakes to keep her vows, the convent, on its side, is bound to provide her with lodging, food, and clothing, and to maintain her in sickness or in health (see NOVITIATE; VOW).
The latter are usually employed in the household duties and other manual work.
They take the usual vows and are as truly religious as the choir nuns, but they are not bound to the choir Office, though they often attend the choir at the time of Office and recite certain prayers in the vernacular.
undertaking educational, parochial, hospital, or other work), and others unite the contemplative with the active life, without, however, being strictly enclosed.
As a general deduction it may be stated that the contemplative life, in which women are actuated by a desire to save their own souls and the souls of other by their lives of prayer, seclusion, and mortification, was the idea of the older orders, while the distinctive note of the more modern congregations is that of active work amongst others and the relief of their bodily wants.