Sister Chelsea Bethany Davis, 25, is a Daughter of Saint Paul. Beneath the order’s deep blue habit, her cheerful face belies her youth, as she jokes about the joys and challenges of religious life in this audio story.
The Pauline Bookstore is nestled between two skyscrapers in the midst of Chicago’s bustling Magnificent Mile. A cardboard cutout of Pope Francis smiles out at passersby, while four religious sisters inside help customers select prayer books, devotionals, and Catholic keepsakes.
This is where Sister Chelsea Bethany Davis, 25, lives and works, along with three other Daughters of Saint Paul. Beneath the order’s deep blue habit, her cheerful face belies her youth, as she jokes about the joys and challenges of religious life.
Davis is truly an outlier among her peers. Millennials have largely turned away from organized religion. Thirty-five percent of American Millennials are unaffiliated with a religion, compared with just 17 percent of Baby Boomers, according to the Pew Research Center.
Pursuing a religious vocation is also increasingly unusual. The number of religious sisters living in the United States dropped more than 72 percent between 1965 and 2014, Pew Research Center reported. It is more common to hear about Millennial “nones” than Millennial “nuns.”
In the face of these statistics, Davis has set out to make Catholic religious life less intimidating to young people. She uses social media to evangelize her faith and broadcast previously unseen moments of the experience of being a sister.
In this audio interview, she talks about her journey and her social media presence.