Are there any traditional Catholic communities for lay people similar to the Amish?

Or should we start one? All we need is a Priest and a church.


Why do you want one?


Going off the grid?

Dunno what you mean about a “traditional Catholic community like the Amish”. While good people, the Amish are Protestants, and they are known for shunning people they don’t like. What do you see in them you want your Traditional Catholic community to be like? The “plain” lifestyle?

Organizationally speaking - founding an apostolate is not so hard these days under the New Evangelization. Under the New Evangelization, lay people are encouraged to take part in apostolic work, but it wasn’t so prior to V2, when the TLM was in common use.

Not sure how it works, but I’m pretty sure any order (even today) is going to have to work hard to get the Vatican to approve any Rule for an Order - even a “copy” of old one. And, if the order you seek is already in existence, you’d have to get that order to back you to be recognized as legitimately affiliated with them.

The other problem is - who would join? What do you want to do? How would you live? And why would it be relevant to loving thy neighbor?

One can do something to fulfill the first commandment, but, unless it fulfills the second commandment too, I think even Jesus would probably wonder what you were asking of Him…

There are some. I’m aware of one in England and one in the US in the New England area.

As someone else said, why do you want one? Catholics who are not members of some cloistered religious order generally live in the world, not separate from it.

Also, it’s not a case of just needing “a priest and a church”. The local Bishop would need to approve of what you were doing. Communities that operate separately from the general population of Catholics have sometimes had issues with teaching error or with accusations of coercion and abuse.


I think there are many people who have a hard time living “in the world but not of the world.” It can be very lonely.

Many people long for aspects of the past. Consider the surge of interest in the last few years in all things vintage! People are building “farmhouses” and decorating them with old corbels and windows that they buy from country antique stores. I’ve started using antique dishes! And my husband has a collection of over 70 typewriters, and uses a typewriter and a fountain pen.

I think that this interest in a nostalgic past is one reaction to the many stresses and the violence in the world today.

Also, I think a desire for a “community” is a response to the loneliness that many of us feel. So much of communication nowadays is all online, and many of us who aren’t comfortable with this feel left out and have no one to talk to anymore. I am fortunate to have a loving husband of 40 years who is still my favorite buddy! But many people aren’t as blessed, and I’m aware that at any time, I may find myself alone and lonely.

A community of fellow believers sounds LOVELY to me! I remember years ago spending a few days at a place called “Bethany Beach” by Lake Michigan. EVERYONE in Bethany Beach was a Christian, and it was wonderful! The church (Protestant) was the center of activity in the community. No alsohol allowed. No immodest dress allowed. It was very very nice. Not sure if it’s still around. I’m guessing not, and if it is, I’m guessing that wine is now not only allowed, but probably there’s some kind of Wine Fest. And I’m guessing that what was considered “immodest” years ago is probably consider puritanical now compared to what is considered immodest!

Maximus_Power, would it help you to attend a “traditional” Catholic retreat? There are Catholic retreat centers all over the U.S. Look for one that appeals to your desire for more traditional Catholicism, and spend the time renewing your commitment to Jesus and His Church.

I’m not sure if any of the retreats offer Latin Masses (if that’s what you mean by “traditional”), but there are retreats in or near cities and towns where a Latin Mass is offered. Perhaps you can spend some time before or after the retreat attending Mass at these parishes, again, to help you renew your commitment to Jesus and Holy Mother Church.

Obviously a retreat is not permanent, but attending one a few times a year might help you. I know many people who regularly make a retreat. There is a retreat center not too far away from my town in Northern Illinois, and it offers regular “silent” retreats, with private cabins for each attendee (and couples cabins for married couples who are making the retreat together).


Is the Ave Maria community in Naples FL (founded by the Domino’s Pizza guy) still around?

Would love for those kinds of separated Catholic communities to be more available and possible for lay people along with religious.

The Little Portion Community in Arkansas was founded by John Michael Talbot

They’re a contemplative community and allow both single people and married couples to be members.



It already exists. It is called a “monastery”.

It does work much better with celibacy though.


Here’s the problem with intentional communities like this one.

You get together a few likeminded couples, maybe some have kids, in a few years some more kids come along, everything seems pretty good. Maybe it is pretty good. You can rock along okay for a while.

What’s your contingency plan for when sin rears it’s ugly head? For when one of your families goes off the rails? When those sweet little kids get angsty and start rebelling? And maybe even openly flouts your values?

What then?

I would think there would be preestablished community rules to deal with these kinds of issues.

Most “run for the hills” conservative Christians have a strong libertarian streak that precludes their forming a highly structured intentional community. That’s why Ave Maria and the Benedict Option failed to take off.

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Im in a position to move my family and my kids are toddlers. I’d like to live in a community with like minded individuals. I know that Catholics are suppose to live in the world, but I’d like my kids to live among like minded individuals for as long as possible.

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This information is helpful. Thank you

Check out the Brothers and Sisters of Charity, Berryville, AR.

But what happens if your like minded individuals stop being like minded? Or their kids do?
Or your kids do?
Are you forced to leave your home at that point? Are they?

See, you can make agreements with individuals, but it doesn’t work out so well with families.

Even the early Christian communal living model broke down eventually, as lovely as it is to read about it.


No one set of rules can cover every permutation or combination of human screw-ups, except maybe shunning, which IMHO is antithetical to Christian values. At least the flavour I belong to.

Even monasteries struggle, and they try to remove sex from the equation, with variable results. One reason the Rule of St Benedict withstood the test of time is built-in flexibility and forgiveness, and a great and deep understanding of human nature. So much so that it is a foundational tradition.

It also is a life-long training issue.

The Benedict option didn’t even acknowledge the existence of oblates (at least in the book). We would tell you that evangelization in the gentle Benedictine way actually requires living in the world. Cloistering is for monastics. Oblates are Benedictines, but not monastics.

Really? Do you by any chance have any more information?

I too would like to live with a stronger sense of belonging and community. And I would also love to feel less isolated and a one-off as a Christian. I get it.

But to live like the Amish? I mean there are many great things about these communities, but crumbs, it’s far from perfect. Some of the case reports indicates it’s not great when an individual doesn’t abide with everything in the community. And seriously, I like the 21st century - electricity, t’Internet, my car, my education in an internationally recognised and respected institution.

I think the answer is for us to work on community and belonging in our own neighbourhoods. Work on creating this vital sense of belonging in our own communities.

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