Common Definitions:

Religious Men

Priests: The religious priest is a man who:

  • Shares both the sacrament of Holy Orders and profession into a religious community.
  • Chooses to live and work in a religious community of other priests and brothers.
  • Vows poverty, chastity and obedience like those in consecrated life.

Brothers: The religious brother is a man who:

  • Commits himself to Christ and the Christian Community.
  • Lives the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience within a religious community.
  • Strives to meet the needs of the Church in ministries such as teaching, social work, technical occupations, etc.
  • Has a flexible lifestyle in order to meet current needs.

Lifestyle Definitions:

Prayer and work are part of the tradition of all religious communities, while their lifestyles vary. They may be:

  • Active (see definition)
  • Monastic (see definition)

Active Religious Lifestyle

Lived by men who:

  • Consecrate themselves to God through profession of the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience
  • Embrace their community’s charism (see definition below)
  • Live a life in common
  • May be sent to serve at different geographic locations
  • Seek to love God and neighbor through prayer in community, and personal prayer and meditation
  • Serve God’s people through different forms of active ministry

Monastic Religious Lifestyle

Lived by men who:

  • Leave behind life in the world in order to seek God in a stable form of life
  • Consecrate themselves to God through solemn profession of vows such as poverty, chastity, obedience, stability, conversion of life, etc.
  • Dedicate themselves to community life and a common rule
  • Strive to create a harmonious balance between the interior life and work
  • Live in persevering dedication to meditation and on God’s Word, prayer and contemplation, and the celebration of the Liturgy

Monasteries continue to be eloquent signs of communion as well as schools of faith and true places of study, dialogue, and culture for the building up of the life of the Church.


A religious community’s charism is a special gift of the Holy Spirit given to the members to effectively carry out a specific service within the Church.


Contemplation is a form of prayer in which one simply ponders God accompanied by very few, if any, words or mental images.