Why Do Nuns Wear Wedding Bands?

by Dianne Laguerta

Wedding bands are popular symbols among married couples but their use and symbolism goes beyond a typical marriage. For nuns, specifically from the Catholic Church, wedding bands have served as an important symbol of their relationship to God. Since the end of the 12th century, various Roman Catholic nuns have worn rings.

History of the Rings

Traditionally, a nun wears a wedding band to symbolize her "marriage" or fidelity to the Church. Nuns and religious sisters commit to vows of "poverty, service, charity and obedience" to the superiors of their religious order, as well as to God. In essence, they become "brides of Christ," committing their lives fully to God and their religious calling. The ring reminds her and others of their convictions and lifetime service in God. Not every nun wears a wedding ring; it depends on the customs of her own community.

About the Author

Dianne Laguerta is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College with a bachelor's degree in history and Middle Eastern studies. She studied and conducted research in Cairo, Egypt during the 2012 Egyptian elections, and has traveled throughout the Middle East.

Photo Credits

  • Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images News/Getty Images