Modern Vestal Virgins

An important part of ancient Roman religious and civil life was the temple of the goddess Vesta, deity of the hearth and protectress of Rome. Her priestesses were the Vestal Virgins. They were taken before puberty and had to live celibate lives for at least thirty years. They were afforded many privileges otherwise denied women, though the punishments for breaking their vows of chastity included scourging and burial alive. 
I wonder if the Roman Catholic practice of orders of nuns originates with the Vestals, with their distinctive dress, institutional holiness and celibacy. Nuns' traditional devotion to Mary and other female saints is not unlike the Vestals' deference to Vesta. 
Pictured above is a surviving statue of a Vestal, and the remains of their temple in the Roman forum, below, close by the Palatine Hill.