39 Nun Names From Fiction And Real Life To Inspire You

Martha Martins
May 03, 2024 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on May 03, 2024
Edited by Anusuya Mukherjee
Fact-checked by Joan Agie
A statue of Mother Mary holding her child, Jesus, in a catholic church setting.

Nun names are more than just labels; they represent a deep vow to God, the Church, and the communities they help. In fiction and reality, nun names often reflect significant religious milestones, serving as markers of spiritual dedication.

In stories and real life, these names often mark important religious events, showing a nun's commitment. Figures like Mother Teresa and Sister Margaret stand for values such as compassion, with many nuns leading lives full of kindness and unwavering commitment. Fictional nuns, like Sister Mary Clarence, bring stories of belief in various situations.

Understand the importance of baptismal names, learn about the roles of nuns within the sacred heart of the religious order, and discover names that carry a legacy of devotion. Think about the Catholic Church, from the reforms of Vatican II to the lasting traditions, and find nun names that have shaped history and inspired many.

Names Inspired By Historical Catholic Figures

The history of the Catholic Church is rich with esteemed women whose lives have served as examples of faithful service. Celebrated as among the most famous sisters globally, these people often adopted a religious name upon joining the order, marking a new identity and purpose, sometimes based on their parents' baptismal names.

1. Alice Callaghan: Alice is a name of German origin meaning 'noble' or 'exalted'. Alice Callaghan is an American Episcopal priest who used to be a nun.

2. Anna Vyrubova: Anna is a name of Hebrew origin meaning 'favor' or 'grace'. Born Anna Alexandrovna Taneyeva, Anna Vyrubova served as a lady-in-waiting in the late Russian Empire and became the closest friend and confidante of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna. Following the Russian Revolution and her subsequent flight to Finland, she became a Russian Orthodox nun.

3. Eugénie Blanchard: Eugénie is a name of Greek origin that means 'noble' or 'well-born'. Eugénie Blanchard was a supercentenarian from French Saint Barthélemy who spent 32 years as a Franciscan nun.

4. Gertrude Abbott: Gertrude is a name of German origin that means 'spear of strength'. Gertrude Abbott was an Australian midwife and ex-nun who established St. Margaret's Hospital.

5. Jeanne Deckers: Jeanne is a name of French origin, meaning 'God is gracious'. Jeanne Deckers was a musician and singer, famously known as 'The Singing Nun'.

6. Judith Ann Mayotte: Judith is a name of Hebrew origin, meaning 'woman from Judea'. Judith Ann Mayotte is an American academic, humanitarian, and former Sister Of Charity Of The Blessed Virgin Mary.

7. Karen Armstrong: Karen is a name of Danish origin that means 'pure'. Karen Armstrong is a British author and expert in comparative religion who shared her experiences as a nun in the book 'Through The Narrow Gate'.

8. Katharina von Bora: Katharina is a name of Greek and German origins and a variation of the name 'Katherine'. Katharina von Bora was a German nun before she became famously known as the wife of Martin Luther, the seminal figure of the Protestant Reformation.

9. Lavinia Byrne: Lavinia is a name of Latin origin that possibly means 'woman of Rome' or 'legendary mother' of the Roman people. Lavinia Byrne is a British ex-nun who left the Sisters Of Loreto after 35 years.

10. Miriam Byrne: Miriam is a name of Hebrew origin meaning 'wished-for child', 'drop of the sea', 'bitter', or 'beloved'. Miriam Byrne is a British priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church and a former nun.

A group of nuns in a conversation, laughing.

11. Monica Baldwin: Monica is a name of Latin origin that means 'advisor'. Monica Baldwin is a British author known for her writings on her re-entry into society after spending 28 years in a convent.

12. Mother Teresa (Saint Teresa of Calcutta): Teresa is a Greek name that means 'to harvest' or 'summer'. Born as Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, Mother Teresa adopted the name Teresa after Saint Teresa of Lisieux and devoted her life to caring for the sick and poor.

13. Sister Helen Prejean: Helen is a name of Greek origin that means 'shining', 'light', or 'bright'. American Catholic nun Sister Helen Prejean is renowned for her opposition to the death penalty.

14. Sister Joan Chittister: Joan is a name of Hebrew origin that means 'God is gracious'. Sister Joan Chittister, an American theologian, author, speaker, and Benedictine nun, has held several leadership positions in the Catholic Church, such as Benedictine Prioress and president of the Leadership Conference Of Women Religious.

15. Sister Margaret Sinclair: Margaret is a name of Greek origin that means 'pearl'. Pope Paul VI declared Margaret Anne Sinclair, a Scottish Catholic nun from the Colettine Poor Clares, venerable on February 6, 1978.

16. Sister Mary Louise: Mary is a name of Hebrew origin that means 'drop of the sea', 'bitter', 'wished-for child', or 'beloved'. Sister Mary Louise St. John, O.S.B., belonged to the Benedictine Nuns of Erie, Pennsylvania.

17. Sister Maura Clarke: Maura is a name of Irish, Latin, and Hebrew origins, meaning 'beloved', 'wished for child', or 'bitter'. Named Mary Elizabeth Clarke at birth, Sister Maura was a missionary who committed her life to service in Nicaragua before her death.

18. Sister Pia Jude: Pia is a name of Latin origin that means 'pious', 'devout', or 'honorable'. Sister Pia Jude is an American nun who belongs to the Sisters Of Life, a Roman Catholic religious community committed to safeguarding and promoting the sanctity of human life.

19. Sister Rosemarie Milazzo: Rosemarie is a name of Latin origin that means 'dew of the sea'. Sister Rosemarie Milazzo, an American nun, is affiliated with the Maryknoll Sisters Of St. Dominic. She has committed her life to missionary endeavors, working in diverse places globally.

20. Sister Wendy Beckett: Wendy is a name of English origin that means 'white ring', 'friend', or 'blessed ring'. Wendy Becket, a British ex-nun, TV presenter, and art historian, was a member of the Sisters of Notre Dame De Namur from 1946 to 1970. She left the order due to ill health, subsequently embracing life as a consecrated virgin and hermit.

21. St. Birgitta of Sweden: Birgitta is a name of Scandinavian origin that means 'exalted one', 'the high one', or 'strength'. St. Birgitta of Sweden, also known as Bridget of Sweden, was born Birgitta Birgersdotter in Sweden. She became renowned as a mystic and saint and founded the Bridgettine Order, also known as the Order Of The Most Holy Savior (Ordo Sanctissimi Salvatoris, O.Ss.S.).

22. St. Hildegard von Bingen: Hildegard is a name of German origin that means 'war', 'battle', 'glorious', or 'warfare'. Hildegard of Bingen, also recognized as St. Hildegard von Bingen, was a visionary mystic, composer, and nun from Germany.

Nun Names From Fiction

A group of nuns dressed in their habits walking with their backs turned.

The portrayal of nuns in literature and media shines a spotlight on the varied paths these women of faith tread in balancing their experiences with their spiritual responsibilities. Fictional nun names frequently have a double significance: they acknowledge the deep-rooted customs of religious existence while also highlighting the distinct stories propelling their characters.

23. Sister Aloysius Beauvier: Aloysius is a name of Old German and Latin origin, meaning 'famous warrior'. Sister Aloysius Beauvier is a character in the 2008 film 'Doubt'.

24. Sister Beatrice: Beatrice is a name of Latin origin that means 'she who brings happiness'. Sister Beatrice is a character from the TV series 'Warrior Nun'.

25. Sister Bertrille: Bertrille is a French name that means 'heroine' or 'bright maiden'. Sister Bertrille, a character in the 1967 TV show 'The Flying Nun', gained fame for her flying abilities due to her slight build and the oversized Cornette she wore.

26. Sister Camila: Camila is a name of Latin origin that means 'young ceremonial attendant'. Sister Camila is a character from the TV series 'Warrior Nun'.

27. Sister Evangelina: Evangelina is a name of Greek origin meaning 'bearer of good news' or 'good news'. Sister Evangelina is a character in the TV series 'Call The Midwife'.

28. Sister Ingalls: Ingalls is an English name rooted in Norse origin. Sister Ingalls is a character played by Beth Fowler in the TV series 'Orange Is the New Black'.

29. Sister Julienne: Julienne is a name of French origin that means 'youthful'. In the BBC series 'Call The Midwife', Sister Julienne is the name of a character.

30. Sister Laura: Laura is a name of Latin origin that means 'laurel tree'. Sister Laura is a character played by Vera Farmiga in the 2011 film 'Higher Ground'.

31. Sister Lilith: Lilith is a name of Hebrew origin that means 'of the night'. Sister Lilith is another character from the TV series 'Warrior Nun'.

32. Sister Margaretta: Margaretta is a name of Greek origin that means 'pearl'. Sister Margaretta is a character in the 1965 film 'Sound Of Music'.

33. Sister Michele: Michele is a Hebrew name that means 'who is like God' or 'who resembles God'. Sister Michele is a character in the 1966 film 'The Singing Nun'.

34. Sister Peggy: Peggy is a name of Greek and English origin that means 'pearl'. Alicia Witt portrays Sister Peggy in the 1994 film 'Fun'.

35. Sister Ruth: Ruth is a name of Hebrew origin that means 'friend'. Sister Ruth is a character from the 1947 film 'Black Narcissus'.

36. Sister Sara: Sara is a Hebrew name that means 'princess' or 'noble lady'. Sister Sara is a character in the 1970 film 'Two Mules For Sister Sara'.

37. Sister Shannon Masters: Shannon is a name of Irish origin that means 'old river'. Sister Shannon Masters is a character from the TV series 'Warrior Nun'.

38. Sister Sophia: Sophia is a name of Greek origin that means 'wisdom'. Sister Sophia is a character in the 1965 film 'Sound Of Music'.

39. Sister Winifred: Winifred is a name of Welsh origin that means 'blessed peacemaking'. Sister Winifred is a character in the TV series 'Call The Midwife'.


A statue of Mother Mary with arms outstretched and a halo of stars around its head.

How do I choose a nun's name?

Choosing a nun's name is a personal and spiritual decision. You may select a name based on a saint you feel particularly drawn to or a religious figure whose life resonates with your calling.

What are typical nun names?

Typical nun names often include the names of saints or religious figures such as Mary, Teresa, or Margaret. These names carry a religious or spiritual connotation and honor individuals known for their service within the church.

Who is the most famous nun?

One of the most famous nuns in recent history is Mother Teresa of Calcutta, known for her charitable work with the poorest of the poor and her founding of the Missionaries Of Charity. Her care for humanity and humble service earned her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

How do you address a nun?

A nun is typically a female member of a religious community who lives a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Depending on the individual's role within their religious community, some traditions also use the terms 'Sister' or 'Mother'.

From ancient times to date, nun names have shared stories of sacrifice, service, and holiness. The Roman Catholic Church has seen names like Saint Teresa and Sister Margaret move from reality to legend, bringing tales of charity, education, and devout worship with them.

Whether these honored names originate from the names of family members, are chosen upon taking sacred vows, or are inspired by famous cultural figures, each carries a part of the church's shared memory and the personal faith journey of the individual.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You















See All

Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

Joan Agie picture

Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

Read full bio >