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Judging the swearer

The number of women becoming nuns in the UK has reached a 25-year high. Figures from the Catholic Church show the number of women taking their holy vows has trebled in the past five years. The Church says women are being drawn to religious life because of a 'gap in the market for meaning in our culture'. Sister Cathy Jones, from the National Office for Vocation, said: 'We are never going to be at the place we were at 50 years ago, Catholic culture was at a very different place. But the fact that more women are becoming nuns than there has been in the past 25 years shows that as a generation we have turned a corner.' In the 1980s around 80 women were becoming nuns each year but by 2004 only seven women joined a convent. Sister Cathy said nuns were now less visible in communities but they were now doing more hidden work with trafficked women or working as counsellors. She believes that some women may have been driven to the work after having seen more poverty in the UK during the economic downturn. 'It doesn't tend to be those who are coming from quite vulnerable places who become nuns, but there are people who want to be reaching out to