Hello Pilgrim, all,
This is worth reading in full:Abstract
"The present article critically reviews four theories regarding the foundation of the order of nuns: (I) the suggestion that the account of the foundation of the nuns' order was devised only after the division between the Sthavira and the Mahasamghika schools; (II) the assumption that an alternative account of this event can be found in the Maitrisimit; (III) the conjecture that nuns were in existence before Mahaprajapati Gautami went forth; and (IV) the hypothesis that the order of nuns came into being only after the Buddha had passed away."
NOTE 27 states:
Ps V 66,15 suggests that this offer happened during the first visit of the Buddha to his home town. A problem with this suggestion is the presence of Ananda during the offer of the cloth, who is explicitly introduced as a monk, cf. MN 142 at MN III 253,17: ayasma Anando, MA 180 at T I 722a5: 尊者阿難 , T 84 at T I 903c10: 尊者阿難 , and Q mngon pa, tu 289b6 (D ju 254a6): tshe dang ldan pa kun dga' bo. Though according to Vin II 182,25 Ananda ordained on the occasion of this visit by the Buddha to his home town, other canonical Pali texts give the impression as if he only went forth about twenty years after the Buddha had started to teach. According to Th 1039-1040, Ananda had been a sekha for twenty-five years. SN 22.83 at SN III 106,3 and Vin II 183,21 place his stream-entry shortly after his going forth, and Vin II 286,11 indicates that he became an arahant only after the Buddha's demise. From this it would follow that he only went forth some twentyfive years before the Buddha passed away, and thus about twenty years after the beginning of the Buddha's ministry. In this case, the events depicted in MN 142 and its parallels would have to be placed considerably later than suggested by the commentary.Theories on the Foundation of the Nuns' Order – A Critical Evaluation by Bhikkhu Analayohttp://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha356.htm