Is God calling you to serve Him in a religious community?
Roman Catholic orders and religious communities are associations of men and women within the Roman Catholic Church who are dedicated to lives of prayer, service, and devotion. Many of these members commit themselves to specific communities in which they live a common life, following a specific religious rule (a collection of guiding rules ordering community life and devotion) and under the direction of religious leaders. Religious orders can include both clergy and laity. Most members of religious orders also make public vows of poverty, obedience, and chastity as acts of devotion and in imitation of Jesus. Some Roman Catholic orders are monastic, but others are not. The Roman Catholic Church recognizes three different types of religious orders:
- Mendicant (Friars),
- Canons Regular (priests living in a community and active in a particular parish).
The largest Monastic Order is the Benedictines. Two of the most common Mendicant Orders include Dominicans and Franciscans. Female orders usually have fewer numbers in their communities than their male counterparts, but more female communities exist. Many of the female orders are dedicated to teaching and service. Even though many Roman Catholic orders trace their origins to the Middle Ages, some go as far back as the 6th Century AD (the Benedictine Order). Religious orders all follow a particular religious rule. The most common include the rules of St. Benedict, St. Augustine, or St. Basil, each of which stresses different aspects of religious life.
For a fun way to learn about different religious ways of life, click here.
In the Diocese of Rochester we are blessed with many religious communities.
- For Women:
- For Men:
Becoming a priest or a man or woman religious is not primarily our own decision…. Rather it is the response to a call and to a call of love.—Pope Francis, Address to Seminarians and Novices, July 6, 2013
- Click here for more information about vocations in our diocese.