The Religious (or consecrated) Life is about consecrating oneself to a particular understanding of the Christian journey (known as a charism) in service of the Church. Men and women dedicate their lives to serve in Orders or movements as priests, brothers, monks, nuns, sisters and consecrated virgins. Some commit to a life of prayer, others to education or health care. However they live out their charism, they bring Christ to those they minister to. Religious and consecrated life has many different expressions. There are many orders, communities and congregations of men and women who commit themselves to this state of life. Some live a contemplative lifestyle, focused on prayer; while others have a missionary focus.
While life differs for each consecrated brother and sister, the religious lifestyle can be best summed up in three vows, which most consecrated men and women vow to live by: poverty, obedience and chastity.
The vow of poverty is about living simply. Consecrated men and women have few possessions and what they do have they share in common with their community.
The vow of obedience is a profound “yes”: to God, to the People of God, to a religious community and to a specific way of life. This “yes” allows the Religious Brother or Sister to follow God’s call wherever and whatever it may lead them to.
Finally, the vow of chastity doesn’t mean that you can’t fall in love or can’t have sex; rather it is a promise to express love in a different way. The vow of chastity is the promise to love God and the people of God through the service of one’s life.
There are many orders, communities and congregations of men and women who commit themselves to religious life. Each order has their own particular process of discernment that is often unique to their charism. If you would like to find more information about a particular religious order please contact Catholic Religious Australia, Queensland (CRAqld) on (07) 3350 4091 or visit their website http://sao.clriq.org.au/clriq.html