How does a religious community start?

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Friday 23, October 2009 | Category:  
. . . And how do they decide what rules they'll live by?

Every religious community finds its origins in the Holy Spirit, who inspires a person or group to begin a new mission in the world. The community, like all religious communities, strives to live the gospel but does so in the particular way the Spirit is calling it. That unique or particular way might be expressed in a variety of ways:

  • How they live (e.g., in a monastery, in the inner city, in large groups or small),
  • How they prayer (e.g., using the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius or following the spirituality of Saint Teresa of Avila), or
  • How they minister (e.g., educating migrant workers, advocating for the dignity of all human life).
Every religious community must have a rule of life, that is, a defined way of life that articulates its charism (that original inspiration of the Holy Spirit) and is also congruent with the nature of religious life as outlined by the church. Within this rule of life, the members of the community, in consultation with other religious communities and with the church, describe their spirituality, community life, and ministry.
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