Not by a long shot – despite what some revisionist scholars would have us believe. Indeed, in Scripture, women represent the soul in union with God. Beginning in Genesis, it's clear that women were vocal and active. We know their names – such as Miriam, Esther, Judith, Hannah, and Susanna – and their stories.
In 1964 there were 180,000 religious; today there are 67,000. The effects of this tragic loss on the Church can hardly be exaggerated, especially on hospitals and schools. How and why did it happen? Is the Vatican to blame? The Second Vatican Council? The American bishops? Feminism and the sexual revolution? The sisters' own leadership?
"There is one jewel for my poor soul, in a life which desires not sin; it is the beads... Suitable are these for a gift; bits of the tree of Him Who redeemed us."
~ Gitto'r Glyn, Welsh poet; opening lines from his "popish" Cywydd y paderau prennau (Ode to the Wooden Beads); secretly circulated among private Catholic homes in Wales during the English persecutions, when possession meant a death sentence.