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Religious Life

Bicycles parked in front of a canal with the sunset in the background

Four-way traffic on the spiritual path

🕔16. Jul 2019

Take our spirituality quiz and discover the four basic spiritual pathways and see how they apply to your own spiritual development—and vocation discernment.

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Sister Mary Pellegrino, C.S.J. with other sisters attending the International Union of Superiors General Plenary in 2013 in Rome.

Who you gonna love?

🕔15. Jul 2019

I don’t know why I’m fulfilled in this life of vowed chastity, and that alone is Mystery to me. 

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Men who live in a Dominican studium, or house of studies, in St. Louis.

Living the good life in community

🕔15. Jul 2019

Communal life is an essential part of the Christian witness of religious communities, and it takes constant effort.

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Hand holding question marks

17 questions about church vocations

🕔16. Jul 2019

VISION provides answers to your questions about priests, sisters, brothers, vows, sexuality, community life, and more.

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Ursuline associate Amy Olson visits with a class at Sacred Heart Academy in Louisville, Kentucky.

Vocations take many forms

🕔16. Jul 2019

Catholics have many ways to vibrantly live their faith commitment. Whether you are single or married, older or younger, you may find one of these paths suits you.

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Sister Maria Victoria Cutaia, O.S.B., on the far right, prays with her sisters.

The basics of Benedictine spirituality

🕔16. Jul 2019

Benedictines emphasize a balance of work and prayer. And they are firm believers in rolling out the welcome mat to one and all.

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Bicycles parked in front of a canal with the sunset in the background

Find your spirituality type

🕔22. Jun 2008

Take a short quiz to find out your spirituality type.

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collage of saints and religious figures

Consecrated life through the ages (Religious Life Timeline)

🕔23. Jul 2014

From ancient desert monasticism to contemporary forms of religious life, a small band of Christian men and women in every generation choose to consecrate their lives to God with unique vows of love and service that give radical witness to the gospel. 

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Who is considering a vocation to consecrated life? How old are they? Where do they live? What kind of community interests them? Find out here...

Infographic: Who is answering the call to religious life?

🕔21. Jul 2014

Who is considering a vocation to consecrated life? How old are they? Where do they live? What kind of community interests them? Find out here.

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Year of Consecrated Life | SURVEY: Among the lights and shadows: The mood of Catholics around consecrated life

🕔22. Jul 2014

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Does chastity matter?

🕔10. Jul 2008

Our values assist us in making responsible choices, including how to use and not misuse the sexual energy that makes us the vital people we are.

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Community: We're on your side and at your side

🕔22. Jun 2008

Saying your solemn "Yes!" in monastic vows means being welcomed into a community of believers who commit themselves to rooting for you and encouraging you all along your way.

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Chastity is for everyone

🕔22. Jun 2008

Chastity is more than a list of don'ts. It's a way of harnessing our sexual energy for good, whatever our state of life: single, married, ordained, or vowed.

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Follow your passion

🕔22. Jun 2008

At the time I wrote this poem, I had been a social worker in Newark, New Jersey for many years, working with families whose stories could keep you up at night. Then in the 1980s, in addition to poverty and addiction, these same families confronted a new struggle: HIV and AIDS.

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Celibate chastity: One way to be a sexual person

🕔22. Jun 2008

Why did I choose a life and continue to choose a life that includes celibate chastity? Because of the deep sense of happiness I’ve found in this way of living.

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Family matters

🕔22. Jun 2008

It’s good to get the support of your family when you choose a church vocation, but it doesn’t always happen—at least not at first.

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young couple

Relaciones y vida religiosa: Respuestas a tus preguntas

🕔28. Jun 2018

The article you requested does not exist in the current language. It is available in: Español

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image of open book

Vocation terms defined

🕔27. Jun 2018

It can seem like religious life has a language all its own. Here’s a guide to understanding terms you might hear while exploring the possibility of life in a religious community.

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Sister Renée Daigle, M.S.C. visits with four of her six godchildren.

Vows set you free

🕔27. Jun 2018

The promises of poverty, celibacy, and obedience are less about giving things up than about living a full life.

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Joseph Anthony Kress files into his ordination Mass along with several other men who are about to become Dominican priests.

11 myths about religious life

🕔27. Jun 2018

Don’t let common misunderstandings about sisters, brothers, and priests trip you up on your discernment journey. Here is the hard data on what’s really happening
in religious life today.

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Sister Cecilia Corcoran, F.S.P.A. presents Sister Julia Walsh, F.S.P.A. with a ring during her final vows ceremony.

What are religious vows?

🕔19. Jun 2017

A young sister reveals how the age-old vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience give shape and meaning to her life.

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Sister Ann Petrus, C.D.P., superior general of the Congregation of Divine Providence (left), welcomes Sister Christina Chavez, C.D.P. as a member in July 2016.

Grants remove obstacle of student debt for religious life candidates

🕔29. Jun 2017

National Fund for Catholic Religious Vocations helps orders of priests, brothers, and sisters accept new members.

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El Hermano Jesús Alonso, C.S.C. con su familia.

La familia es importante

🕔20. Jun 2017

The article you requested does not exist in the current language. It is available in: Español

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Friar Matthew Gummess, O.Carm. (left) shares a moment with fellow friar, Father Quinn Connors, O.Carm.

The passion of youth meets the wisdom of age

🕔20. Jun 2017

Young and even middle-aged people who enter a religious community often have fewer peers these days. The age gap can have challenges but not as many as most think.

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Sister Therese DelGenio, S.S.N.D. expresses her community’s charism through her work at Cincinnati’s Our Daily Bread.”

What is charism?

🕔19. Jun 2017

Charism is the inspirational purpose that starts communities and keeps them going. It is community mission and spirit. It gives communities distinctive personalities and imbues their daily practice with meaning.

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Image from the documentary film Bro: Men with Hope to Bring

Religious life captured on film

🕔13. Jul 2016

Few people outside of religious communities see what life is like inside, compelling documentary filmmakers to explore this rich subject. Here are some must-sees.

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Theology students at Catholic Theological Union.

NFCRV helps women become sisters

🕔14. Jul 2016

A new fund—aimed at tackling the problem of educational debt—is helping 10 young women to pursue their dream of becoming Catholic sisters.

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Sister Shannon Fox, S.S.J.-T.O.S.F. is joined by Sister Kimberly Mulhearn, S.S.J.-T.O.S.F. and a fellow sister from Giving Voice during Pope Francis

9 things religious life has to offer

🕔13. Jul 2016

Sometimes people think religious life is mostly about giving things up. But there is much to be gained when your true vocation is to be a sister, brother, or priest.

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Middle-aged people celebrating

I’m over 40. Can I still join religious life?

🕔13. Jul 2016

Not all religious communities accept candidates over the age of 40, but some do. Here are answers to questions that mature candidates often have.

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Sister Julia Walsh, F.S.P.A. chaperones students on a field trip.

Celibacy leads me to limitless love

🕔13. Jul 2016

Being boy-crazy as a teenager actually helped this Franciscan sister experience the call to Catholic sisterhood.

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Brother Michelangelo Best, C.F.R. spins a ball

The creative spirit finds expression in religious ministries

🕔13. Jul 2016

Sometimes when religious see a need that fits their charism and speaks to their passions, it can lead to meaningful—albeit unconventional—work.

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woman with wow sound bubble

Five things that surprised me about religious life

🕔22. Jul 2015

One young Catholic learns that it takes more than a few viewings of Sister Act and The Trouble with Angels to gain a healthy understanding of what it means to be a religious sister, brother, or priest.

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Brother Joseph Kirk, F.S.C. in the classroom with students

Instruments of God for the sake of the poor

🕔22. Jul 2015

The Daughters of Charity and De La Salle Christian Brothers bring hope and opportunity to a new generation through their commitment to education for all.

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two young women talking on bench

8 secrets to healthy celibacy

🕔20. Jul 2015

How good are you at setting limits and sticking to them or balancing quiet time with an active social life? These are just some of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself if you are seriously considering religious life.

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Younger and older sister smiling together

¡Viva la diferencia! The colorful future of religious life

🕔15. Jul 2015

As religious communities become more culturally diverse, newer members share their thoughts on what individuals and communities can do to guide the process.

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The community sings as they process out of church

A Dominican’s day—timeless and timely

🕔15. Jul 2015

What is daily life like inside the church, office, and home of a religious order priest?

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Ursuline Sister Ruth Gehres with Sister Anh Tran, left, and Sister Huyen Vu

A long-time religious looks forward

🕔15. Jul 2015

A religious sister witnesses first-hand that the "call of the gospel remains large" in her community and throughout the country.

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Sister Susan Rose Francois, C.S.J.P. at the 2014 NRVC convocation.

Stay tuned for the young and the religious

🕔14. Jul 2015

Religious life is a lot different today than it used to be, and there’s much more transformation in store. But change isn’t the only constant—so is commitment to community and charism.

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Obstacles and options for older discerners

🕔22. Jul 2013

While some communities are willing and able to welcome candidates beyond the age of 40, others can’t. What are the reasons for age-limits and what choices for vowed life do older discerners have?

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Can your career fit into religious life?

🕔18. Jul 2014

Becoming a sister, brother, or priest doesn’t have to mean giving up your professional path. Not only that, a religious vocation can reshape your career in surprising ways.

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Breathing life into sacred stones

🕔19. Jul 2014

A community of Trappist monks in California have a unique relationship with a monastery that is an ocean of water—and time—away.

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Meeting God in the city

🕔18. Jul 2014

A young man discovered his vocation by immersing himself in the pillars of Franciscan spirituality—starting with a sense of place in a beloved city.

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Silent preachers amid nature’s song

🕔22. Jul 2013

A small group of Dominican nuns hope that the monastery they built in mountains of Western Canada will become the voice of Jesus to anyone who stops to listen.

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Chastity in real life

🕔20. Jul 2013

Those vowed to celibacy can be true to their call, even when it gets, well, complicated.

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There's no gap when it comes to these generations

🕔12. Jul 2013

Older and younger members of religious communities living together has its challenges, but the benefits are much greater.

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How I satisfied my hunger to make a difference

🕔30. Jul 2012

Questions, decisions, and dreams fill young adulthood. Many of us have developed a social conscience and are looking for ways to live it out in the fullness of our lives.

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Taking on new habits

🕔29. Jul 2012

In a long-established ritual, three men from different walks of life enter a monastery to live for a year among the monks and see if it is right for them and for the community.

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An insider view of community

🕔19. Jul 2012

Someone once said that community is like shaking a jar of rough stones until they become smooth and beautiful. It’s easy to say “I love everyone” when you live alone. In community, you have a chance to prove it.

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Love calls me to celibacy

🕔11. Jul 2012

A conversion experience led me to God. My promise of chastity as a religious sister, in turn, leads me to foster life and love in others

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What does it mean to be a Carmelite?

🕔11. Jul 2012

Carmelite spirituality enables God-seekers to discover new heights and depths in their own hearts and in the God who calls and loves them.

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Stay on the right path

🕔20. Jun 2012

Practicing the vows of poverty and obedience—not perfectly but faithfully over time—keeps this brother from losing his way.

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Sacred places: Where beauty and grace meet

🕔25. Jan 2013

A look at the spaces religious communities have renovated and adapted for modern worship and prayer.

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SACRED HEART CHAPEL

More sacred places: Where beauty and grace meet

🕔02. Jun 2009

VISION 2010 featured a photo story on the spaces religious communities have renovated or built for worship and prayer (click to view the original story in either the online or digital edition version). Due to space constraints we could not feature in print all of the submissions we received. Here are some additional photos of the truly spectacular worship spaces religious communities enjoy.

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Community is the key

🕔14. Jun 2012

In her first years as a Franciscan, Sister Gayle discovered that community is not only a lively and joyful way to live but also the means to many spiritual ends

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But what if you fall in love?

🕔12. Jun 2012

I learned very early in my discernment process that just because you are a nun doesn’t mean that you are never going to fall in love.

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Six myths (and some truth) about the gift of celibate chastity

🕔12. Jun 2012

Celibate chastity is not well understood in most societies. Everyone who has ever chosen life within a Catholic religious community has taken a vow of celibate chastity. So what exactly is it?

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Nun gazing out window

How is your family taking it?

🕔11. Jun 2012

“For my parents, being happy meant getting married, having good jobs, and a nice house,” she says. “I think my mother thought that the longer I waited, the more chance Mr. Right might come along!”

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Trust God and hit the road

🕔21. Jul 2010

A 300-mile journey in the spirit of Saint Francis became a pilgrimage of trust—in God, one another, and the people encountered along the way.

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Five reasons we need religious communities

🕔22. Jun 2008

Knowing and working with a number of men and women in religious communities, I have found that they enrich our world with five qualities that clearly demonstrate why we need them.

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Thriving among the generations

🕔11. Jul 2009

Younger members of religious communities talk about living out their call in multigenerational settings.

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