Facebook: Nun banished over habit for social networking

Here at OSM we constantly report stories about Facebook, either about the social networking site itself, where we recently looked at how over-use can make people miserable, to stories about people using the site, often getting into trouble for saying the wrong things.

In this instance it is over-use of Facebook that has led to a nun being banished from her religious order. The nun concerned, Maria Jesus Galan, was part of the Santo Domingo el Real convent in Spain, according to Fiona Govan on The Telegraph. It seems that 10 years ago after reassurances to the Mother Superior that it would reduce the need for contact with the world outside, a computer was allowed into the convent.

Sister Maria, 54, first began using it for banking for the convent, and then later to digitize the convent archives, even winning a local government prize for her hard work making the archives accessible to those outside the convent. This drew people’s attention to “Sister Internet,” as the other nuns in the convent called her, and soon she had nearly 600 ‘friends’ on her Facebook page.

However it seems the other nuns in her order made it known that they did not approve of her online activities and Sister Galen said she was driven from the convent because the nuns “made life impossible,” although she stressed her devotion to the order was still as strong. Neither the order or the Archbishop of Toledo would comment on this matter but many thousands of people are now campaigning on fan pages to have her let back into the order.

Chris Matyszczyk of Cnet also reports on Sister Galen’s plight and reports on supporters posting messages such as “They don’t deserve you and you don’t need them!” Sister Galen is currently living with her mother and although she has lost her home and vocation her Facebook ‘friends’ have grown to over 6,000.

We agree with Cnet that it does seem rather a shame in the modern age, when there is even a chuch-approved iPhone confession app, that a nun has had to leave her order because of the use of a social networking site. We’d like to hear your thoughts on this so please do send us your comments.

  • S. Bufkins

    This convent is of the Dominican order. Dominican nuns are contemplatives who live a cloistered life of prayer and meditation in a small, isolated community. Contact with the outside world is to be kept very minimal in order to focus on their life of work and prayer. Doing banking business online would not be a problem, but it sounds like Sister had a Facebook addiction that interfered with her work and life of prayer. If her online activities were distracting to the other nuns, and if she was not performing her duties, then the order was correct in asking her to leave.