• Skipping the habit: More non-virgins, fewer nuns

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    FOR every 100 girls who want to become nuns, only one or two qualify. This is because a majority of the applicants are no longer virgins.

    Virginity is a big issue for those who want to enter a monastery. Sister Rica, a senior member of the Daughters of Saint Paul, said only virgins who apply for postulancy are accepted.

    But how do monasteries determine if an applicant is still a virgin?

    “We have a series of standard questions. We will know even if the young girl does not admit at first,” Sister Rica told The Manila Times.

    The Paulinian sister looks after a stall at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) lobby that sells religious items, including prayer books.

    But Sister Rica said the vocation in the Philippines is better than in any country, particularly in Europe where some religious houses were forced to close after the last nun died.

    “Our elders will call to send one or two sisters to Europe, Africa or America. We have to oblige. However, we still have nuns in our houses here composed of four to as many as 10 sisters or more,” she said.

    She said provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao are good sources of vocations.

    Just recently, the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) published its findings that 6.2 million Filipino youths engaged in sexual intercourse before marriage.

    The National Capital Region (NCR) and Central Luzon have the highest prevalence of premarital sex among the youth with 40.9 percent and 39.1 percent, respectively. The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has the lowest prevalence: 7.7 percent.

    The Institute said 1.4 million Filipinos, 15 to 19 years old, end up as young mothers.

    Sister Rica said they have yet to come out with a study why so many young girls engage in sexual intercourse.

    The UPPI study showed that youths in the NCR and Region 4-A (Southern Tagalog) are more exposed to pornography through the Internet.

    Four in every 100 young girls (15 to 19 years old) met their sexual partners through social media like Facebook and through text messaging.

    Sister Rica said good family upbringing helps young girls acquire the spiritual strength to fight temptations.

    “Prayer is our sole source of strength. Internet is a tool for communication. Prayer is exactly communication,” she said.

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