Nun is an Egyptian (Coptic?) word.
Per my Orthodox spirituality class instructor last summer, being a monastic held a great appeal to women, even until relatively recently. In a society where women married young and dying in childbirth was a real risk, the monastic life was a very real option to them. They might actually get educated somewhat, and they might have more power (authority) than they would have in a household headed by their husband. It was often a relief to parents of a large family.
Some women were hermits, rarely seeing anyone else. St. Mary of Egypt is a type of this. Others lived in a very small community with others, while the later norm was a larger monastery. In the Orthodox tradition, monastery refers to a monastic community, whether male or female. Convent is a Western Christian usage.
Sorry, I don't have the time to dig out anything - have to get to work.
There were early communities of Christian virgins or widows who dedicated themselves to prayer and good works, but more organized monasticism is a later development. St. Anthony went into the desert in the late 3rd Century.
A more modern example of an Orthodox female monastic is St. Elizabeth the New Martyr, Grand Duchess of Russia, murdered by Bolsheviks in 1918, or Nun Gavrilia, who worked with lepers in India (died 1992).
The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it. We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.
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