Maybe all Catholics know this, but I’m not Catholic and I was surprised to learn that the groups of women you see at airports in habits are not nuns, nor were the women who traditionally wielded rulers in parochial schools. It seems all nuns are sisters, but not all sisters are nuns: nuns are cloistered, sisters need not be. “[S]isters working outside their convent cannot possibly be cloistered, and therefore those working in … school are definitely not nuns.”
All this and more in Canon Law Made Easy, What’s the Difference Between Sisters and Nuns?, spotted via the definitely Protestant Slacktivist.
Sisters, Nuns, Cloistered, Free to walk about, … all I know is Sister “Armadillo” (Armella) would pull my ears and thump me on the head with her knuckles in the 7th grade. Convinced my parents I would NOT go back and went to public school after that year.
Anyone of the thousands passing through Grand Central Station in the 60s and early 70s knew about fake nuns. There was one collecting money for some scam or another blocking the way during rush hour.
In the 80s, there were the fake nuns and nurses working the airports. I suppose we can thank Osama bin Laden and the TSA for getting rid of them.
I haven’t seen any fake nuns in ages. I assume they’ve all gone to work as models at Yandy.com (home of the “sexy” Frankenstein and mummy outfits).
It’s not about real and fake. It’s about 2 wholly different callings, and the Church has outlined the differences very well.
The link above in your article handles the distinctions nicely.