This post will hit closer to home for Catholics and those who grew up around or in Catholic communities. I spent my teen years in a very Hispanic community and of course married into a VERY Catholic clan. One of my sister in laws is a Sister. She is 17 years my senior and took her vows at a time when I was still trying to figure out why girls were supposed to wear dresses. (I still do not know the answer) Over 40 years later, she is still one of the newer members of her order.
Despite liberalization (she has not worn a Habit since 1971), over the last few decades the interest of women in pursuing a religious life has fallen dramatically. Many orders are now in real danger of disappearing along with the work they did in the community. The average age of Nuns in her order is 78. This is raising real issues for the church (which they are ignoring) regarding the long term support of these women as their orders fade away.
I am not bewailing the dissolution of a centuries long institution. Even though change is inevitable, I think we should mark and reflect on the passing of a worthy vocation.
This picture of nuns represents the view expressed by my parochial school peers