Each religious community is a special blessing in our church, with its particular mission, spirituality, and flavor. Religious communities share much in common with each other, and yet, each one has its own unique spirit or ‘charism.’
Charism: Greek CHARISMA, gift, from CHARIS grace; akin to Greek CHAREIN to rejoice: an extraordinary power (as of healing) given a Christian by the Holy Spirit for the good of the church.
What is Religious Life?
Religious life is first and foremost a call to give one’s self as an unreserved gift to God in Jesus Christ. This complete giving of one’s self is symbolized in the living out of the evangelical vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, to the exclusion of all other primary life commitments. It is also a life that is usually lived out in communion (community) with others who have made the same life commitment.
While all religious communities share these same characteristics, each one is unique in terms of its charism or spirit, and the ways in which they are called to live out that spirit. Some examples include Monastic communities whose primary call is to minister through continual prayer for the people of God. Members of Apostolic communities, while certainly called to a life of prayer, are also called to minister to the needs of the people of God in more direct ways.
What do Religious Do?
The Archdiocese of Santa Fe is blessed in having a long history of Religious women and men serving both the people of the Archdiocese and the state of New Mexico in ministries such as education, health care, social services, as well as pastoral ministries. In addition, the very important ministry of continual prayer is carried out in the name of the people of the Archdiocese by the contemplative nuns, brothers and priests of the four monasteries within the Archdiocese.
Who Can Be a Religious?
Requirements vary according to specific orders or congregations; however, in general, adult, Catholic women and men who are not married, and are not responsible for minor children are eligible. Other requirements, such as being debt free and being in generally good physical and mental health as well as having some work or college experience may also apply, so it is always best to contact the vocation director directly in order to discuss these issues.
How Do I Know If I’m Being Called?
Most Religious women and men as well as Priests will tell you that the decision to enter Religious Life or Priesthood was made in response to a call from God heard deep within their hearts. Discerning whether or not God is calling you takes, a commitment to spending time in prayer. Having a Spiritual Director or a Spiritual Friend to talk these thoughts and feeling over with can be helpful as well. Sooner or later you will want to start investigating Religious Communities. A good place to start is by contacting the Vocation Director.
Where Can I Get More Information?
For more information click here for a list of all the Religious Communities that currently serve in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.