What is Consecrated Life?

A Response to a Call

God calls each of us into existence as a unique and unrepeatable creation. In His love, He desires to enter into communion with us and for this end He gives each of us a specific vocation.

A Call of Love

Your vocation is the particular way that God made you to love Him and those around you. Whether you are called to marriage or consecrated life, your vocation is an invitation to give of yourself in love and service. By faithfully responding to this call, we become the saints God wants us to become.

Joy and Fulfillment

Living your vocation in our fallen world is nothing less than heroic. By giving of ourselves daily, which often requires great sacrifice, we find true joy and fulfillment in this earthly life and eternal life with God in the next.

Religious Life

  • Poverty, Chastity, Obedience: Through a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience, a religious sister or nun is a witness of the life of heaven here on earth.
  • Spouse of Christ: A consecrated woman is completely and exclusively devoted to Christ, her Spouse, and points to the supremacy of Christ in our lives.
  • Community and Charisms: Living in community, women religious witness to a life of communion with Christ, the Church, and one another. Each religious institute is blessed with a charism, or the particular expression of the way they are called to follow Christ, represented in their mission, community life, and culture.
  • Apostolic Religious Life: Those in apostolic religious life devote themselves to the outward service of the Church by teaching, working in hospitals, performing parish ministry, and serving
    the poor.
  • Contemplative Life: Contemplative and cloistered women religious bear witness in a special way to the Church’s love for the Lord, contributing with hidden apostolic fruitfulness to the growth of the people of God through vows of enclosure or stability.

Eremitic Life: Hermits live a life of intercessory prayer in solitude and silence. Hermits can be with a religious order or under the bishop.


Consecrated Virgins

Spouse of Christ Living in the World: Consecrated Virgins embody the image of the heavenly Bride and the life that is to come. Consecrated to God by her diocesan bishop, a consecrated virgin is mystically betrothed to Christ and dedicated to the service of the Church in her diocese. She lives in the world in prayer, penance, service of her brethren, and apostolic activity, according to the spiritual gifts God has given her.

USACV United States Association of Consecrated Virgins

A voluntary association of consecrated virgins living in the world.  The purpose of the USACV is to provide support to its members in the faithful living out of their vocation to consecrated virginity and “…to assist one another in service to the Church as befits their state” (Canon 604, Code of Canon Law).   The USACV website is designed both to serve our members and to provide information about the vocation of consecrated virginity lived in the world. Visit the website to learn more


Secular Insititutes

Leaven in the World: Men and women in secular institutes live out their profession of poverty, chastity, and obedience in secular society. They strive to transfigure the world from within and help to ensure the presence of the Church in society. Most members of secular institutes live alone or with their families, though some have common houses.


Societies of Apostolic Life

Constitutions and Common Life: Also called societies of common life, these groups are distinguished by the specific nature of their consecration according to the constitutions of their community. They live in community and pursue a specific apostolic or missionary end.

Next: Life of a Religious