.mw-parser-output .hidden-begin{box-sizing:border-box;width:100%;padding:5px;border:none;font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .hidden-title{font-weight:bold;line-height:1.6;text-align:left}.mw-parser-output .hidden-content{text-align:left}@media all and (max-width:500px){.mw-parser-output .hidden-begin{width:auto!important;clear:none!important;float:none!important))You can help expand this article with text translated from the corresponding article in French. (May 2019) Click [show] for important translation instructions. View a machine-translated version of the French article. Machine translation, like DeepL or Google Translate, is a useful starting point for translations, but translators must revise errors as necessary and confirm that the translation is accurate, rather than simply copy-pasting machine-translated text into the English Wikipedia. Consider adding a topic to this template: there are already 1,462 articles in the main category, and specifying|topic= will aid in categorization. Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low-quality. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article. You must provide copyright attribution in the edit summary accompanying your translation by providing an interlanguage link to the source of your translation. A model attribution edit summary is Content in this edit is translated from the existing French Wikipedia article at [[:fr:Couvent]]; see its history for attribution. You may also add the template ((Translated|fr|Couvent)) to the talk page. For more guidance, see Wikipedia:Translation.
Convent of the Conceptionists in Ágreda.

A convent is a community of monks, nuns, friars or religious sisters. Alternatively, convent means the building used by the community. The word is particularly used in the Catholic Church, Lutheran churches, and the Anglican Communion.[1]

Etymology and usage

The term convent derives via Old French from Latin conventus, perfect participle of the verb convenio, meaning "to convene, to come together". It was first used in this sense when the eremitical life began to be combined with the cenobitical. The original reference was to the gathering of mendicants who spent much of their time travelling. Technically, a monastery is a secluded community of monastics, whereas a friary or convent is a community of mendicants (which, by contrast, might be located in a city), and a canonry is a community of canons regular. The terms abbey and priory can be applied to both monasteries and canonries; an abbey is headed by an abbot, and a priory is a lesser dependent house headed by a prior. In the Middle Ages, convents often provided to women a way to excel, as they were considered inferior to men.[2] In convents, women were educated and were able to write books and publish works on gardening or musicology.[2] or on religion and philosophy. The Abbess of a convent was often also involved in decisions of secular life and interacted with politicians and businessmen.[2] Unlike an abbey, a convent is not placed under the responsibility of an abbot or an abbess, but of a superior or prior.

In modern English usage, since about the 19th century, the term convent almost invariably refers to a community of women,[3] while monastery and friary are used for communities of men. In historical usage they are often interchangeable, with convent especially likely to be used for a friary. When applied to religious houses in Eastern Orthodoxy and Buddhism, English refers to all houses of male religious as monasteries and of female religious as convents.


The mendicant orders appeared at the beginning of the 13th century with the growth of cities; they include in particular the Dominicans, the Franciscans, the Carmelites, and the Augustinians. While the Benedictine monks and their various variants devoted themselves to their agricultural properties, the mendicant friars settled from the start in the cities, or in the suburbs thereof, preferably in the poorer and more densely populated districts. They therefore had to adapt their buildings to these new constraints.

See also


  1. ^ Evangelisti, Silvia (2008). Nuns: A History of Convent Life, 1450–1700. Oxford University Press. pp. 38–39. ISBN 9780199532056. Finally, irrespective of religious beliefs, convents remained a possible model for women—Catholic as well as Protestant—to pursue. In Protestant Germany, forms of female religious associative life did not die out, but instead survived in the shape of Protestant convents. These could be governed by a Lutheran abbess, and inhabited by Lutheran nuns in religious habits who claimed membership of a monastic order, paradoxical though this may seem.
  2. ^ a b c Hunt, Julie. "Nuns: powerful women of the Middle Ages". Swissinfo. Retrieved 2022-09-26.
  3. ^ See Etym on line