How can I start a Community that welcomes older women in my diocese


Please can someone advise me as to what is involved in staring a Religious Community in my diocese. I would like to start a community where there is no Age limit. I really dont know what is involved in starting a Community . I do have a scriptural basis for the commnity I wish to form and have in mind what will be its basic tenents no of which I take any personal credit for as these I beleive to be given by God. Anyone with advice or questions please reply. I am a woman of 50 yrs and I am simply looking for the best way to answer Gods Call. And as it has recently occured to me that all exsisting orders started by one individuals Call to do His will , I am posing this question to you all my brothers and sisters. Thank You And the peace of our Lord Jesus be with you always . Your Sister in Christ


A secular institute is a modern concept. It was conceived at Vatican II in response to men and women who wanted to live in community, make vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, but remain part of the secular world. They go out to work at the local bank, teach school, run the bakery, etc. These communities existed, but had no canonical place in the Church. The Church created a new category of conscrated life called the Secular Institute.

An association, public or private, is any group that is recognized by the Church, has a canonical place in the Church, either at the diocesan level or the pontifical level. For example, the Franciscan Friars of the Eternal Word are a public association of the faithful. They are not a congregation, nor an order.

Associations date back to the time of St.Benedict. The first Benedictine abbeys were associations of the faithful. It simply means a group of the faithful that comes together for a particular purpose. This can be to live the religious life, to do a certain ministry or to sanctify its members, as is the case of the SFO.

What brings a person into consecrate life is not the canonical status of association, congregation, order, society or institute.

Consecrated life is achieved by the profession of the Evangelical Counsels to be lived in the celibate state. Everyone can vow to live chastity, poverty and obedience, but not be celibate. Married people are called to chastity as well.

To be a consecrated person you must profess to live the counsels as a celibate man or woman. It can be in community or individually, such as a hermit.

Again, association, order, congregation, institute, simple describes your rights and obligations in the church as a group.

Consecration is achieved by professing the counsels in celibacy.



I’m not sure of the original link, 'cos this was quoted elsewhere, but it looks possible to start some sort of community in your local diocese.

You will need the support of the diocese, and in order to get that will probably need the backing and support of your parish priest/confessor/spiritual director.

If I were you I would spend some time in prayer and then write a vision of what you would like the community to look like, what form of life you will lead in this community, what its charism/mission is, (contemplation, apostolic work (preaching and evangelizing), or working with the poor, or unwed mothers etc, or living in the world and pursuing normal careers while not being of the world for example), what its aims are, what kind of people it is to attract (“older women in my diocese”) and why.

Maybe, if you are able, spend some time with different communities observing their life and work.

So talk to your priest and maybe do some research into various styles of community life.

Get your arguments together, and be strong!

Peace and all good!


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit