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Its official: Nuns are staging a comeback and it's not because another sequel to "Sister Act" is in the works.
Instead, the numbers of women entering convents in England and Wales has hit a 25-year high, according to figures released on Thursday by the Catholic Church in England and Wales that showed a decade-long reversal in the downturn in numbers.
Forty-five women in England and Wales became either enclosed nuns or other religious sisters in 2014, up from only 19 in 2010 and 7 in 2004.
This is the highest since 1990, when 54 women entered convents, and marks a reversal of a downward in numbers between 1984 and 2004.
So why the increase in interest over the last decade? Sister Cathy Jones, religious life vocations promoter at the National Office for Vocation, said that the convent lifestyle attracted women.
"Young Catholics are asking themselves 'What is God's plan for my life?' and they are availing themselves of opportunities to meet with experienced guides to consider their future in the context of prayer, discussion and scripture," Jones said on the Catholic Church in England and Wales' website on Thursday.
"It is also significant that in recent years many religious congregations have grown in confidence in proposing their way of life, from taster weekends to youth festivals."
In addition, the number of migrants in the U.K. from predominately Catholic countries has increased since the expansion of the European Union in 2004.
Since that year, citizens of countries with sizeable Catholic populations like the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia have been allowed to work in European Union countries including Britain.
The National Office for Vocation figures show that for both men and women, the average age for entering the Catholic church was 26 years old.
"There is a gap in the market for meaning in our culture and one of the ways in which women may find that meaning is through religious life," said Friar Christopher Jamison, director of the vocations office, on the website.
The data was provided ahead of Vocations Sunday on April 26, a day when Christians are supposed to reflect on God's call to them.