Catholic Vocations
Archdiocese of Melbourne
About the Religious Life

Who are Women Religious?

Called by a special grace, as brides of Christ, women religious follow Him in that form of life which He made His own when He came to redeem mankind. Entering into the mystery of the redemption of the world, their gift of self becomes a gift Christ can use for this mission. (cf VC #34)

Originally consecrated at baptism, they are consecrated in a new and definitive way, through the vows of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience.(cf CCCC #192) Nourished by the Prayer of the Church, and by receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, they look to Mary, Mother of Jesus, as their own mother and their true model, on the often arduous path to holiness.

What is the Religious Life for Women?

Through lives of contemplative prayer and sacrifice hidden in the cloister, or through lives of apostolic outreach in the most diverse situations of our modern world, these women religious manifest the radiance of a life totally given with Christ and in Christ. (cf CCCC #193)

“Holiness is the fruit of the encounter with him in the many presences in which we can discover his face as the Son of God, a suffering face and at the same time the face of the Risen One. Recognizing him requires a gaze of faith, which is acquired through the habitual reading of the Word of God, through prayer, and above all through the exercise of charity because the Mystery can only be fully known through love.” (SAfC #23)

Religious Life in the Third Millennium

“The path which consecrated life is called to follow, at the beginning of the new millennium, is guided by the contemplation of Christ…a gaze fixed, more than ever, on the face of the Lord.”

“Christ is truly present in His Word and in the Sacraments, especially in the Eucharist. Christ lives in the Church, He makes himself present in the community of those who are gathered in His name.” (SAfC #23) The Church and the world today need the shining witness of women religious, radiant with love of Christ, poured out in a life of total self-giving for the sake of the Kingdom.

References

  • Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church;
  • Vita Consecrata – Apostolic Exhortation of John Paul II;
  • Starting Afresh from Christ – A Renewed Commitment to Consecrated Life in the Third Millennium, Congregation for Institute for Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
Read the testimonies of some relgious sisters.
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