Maureen Dowd writing in the New York Times this past weekend about the Vatican-appointed commission to ensure doctrinal soundness among American nuns:
Even as Republicans try to wrestle women into chastity belts, the Vatican is trying to muzzle American nuns....While continuing to heal and educate, the community of sisters is aging and dying out because few younger women are willing to make such sacrifices for a church determined to bring women to heel.
Aging? Dying out? Consider the Sisters of Life, founded in 1991 with just eight women. The order, in which nuns spend four hours a day in prayer, devoting the rest of their waking hours to helping women with troubled pregnancies, has grown dramatically--as best I can tell from Googling around, they now number at least 100. And then there are the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, an order that has grown from four nuns upon its foundation in 1997 to more than 100 today--and in which the average age is just 28.
From the website of the Dominican Sisters of Mary (where I also found the photos):
At the dawn of the third millennium, Pope John Paul II called the Church to “take up her evangelizing mission with fresh enthusiasm,” to “put out into the deep” and to “open wide the doors to Christ!” This call was repeated by Pope Benedict XVI as he closed his Inaugural Homily....
The Sisters...look to expand their community’s presence geographically, since their Motherhouse, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is now filled to capacity. In order to provide housing and adequate formation to the young women seeking to give their lives to Christ, the Sisters hope to establish priories in California and Texas.
Yes, Maureen, certain orders of American nuns are indeed dying out--but not the ones that forthrightly insist upon lives of sacrifice, sanctity, fidelity to the teachings of the Church, and devotion to the successor of Peter.