A definite sum of money, or its equivalent, the income of which is to be used to support a religious woman who, by her profession, has become a member of her community. The dowry is transferred to the community before the candidate receives the religious habit, and becomes the property of the community when the religious makes her profession, but with certain restrictions. It may not be disposed of, e.g., to put up a building or to payoff a debt, but it must be carefully invested, the income to be used for the support of the religious in question. Only after the death of the religious does it become the absolute property of the community, and then it may be disposed of in any manner whatever. Should a religious leave the order or congregation for any reason, the capital which constituted her dowry must be returned to her without interest. The term is also applied to the property which a wife brings to her husband in marriage.

MLA Citation

  • “dowry”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 15 March 2010. Web. 24 January 2017. <>