Information on starting a new order/ New monastics


#1

Greetings and Blessings!

I am new to the site, but have read some of the other posts regarding this topic, but most have not been updated in a while, but I have a few questions. There seems to be a ton of great knowledge on this site, so any information or direction will be greatly appreciated. I’ve felt this calling for a long time, I have taken several shifts and turns in my life, and now am living in my own calling to faith. I’ve started a few local ministry groups, but want to take it a step further. My current work focuses on outreach and assistance for the homeless and those in need, contemplative prayer and study, and teaching. I have a pretty diverse background in spirituality and often times work with several of the Pauline groups in my hometown.

What is the process for starting and creating a new order? What are some of the documents/items necessary to get the ball rolling? There are so many “online” ordinations, organizations, churches and it is hard to discern at times what are “real” resources. I’ve seem some amazing comments and information on other posts, but many of the links provided were no longer active links.

Thank you for any help you can send my way.

Love and Light!


#2

You might start with a retreat....say at a Trappist or Benedictine monastery. Not an organized retreat, but call the monastery and ask for permission to stay to receive some spiritual guidance.

To see how an "order" works, you might become a member of the Secular Franciscans (used to be the "Third Order"), or check to see what lay orders may be available in your diocese.

If you really wish to start an organization, you must have people of a like mind who will work with you, under the premise that you establish. For experience, you might join your local St. Vincent dePaul Conference, and watch how it operates. In many ways, starting an organization is similar to starting a business, so you might want to start, yourself, with a plan.

If you want this organization to eventually become an order, you will need spiritual guidance. Find a priest who will act as your Spiritual Advisor and ask for direction and assistance.

If you succeed in all of the above, a new order must have a "rule" to live by. You may wish to study the Rule of St. Benedict, the premier founder of an order which still thrives today. Other Rules which may be available in part or whole are those for the Jesuits, Franciscans and Dominicans.

Godspeed!


#3

[quote="JamestheOlder, post:2, topic:238163"]
You might start with a retreat....say at a Trappist or Benedictine monastery. Not an organized retreat, but call the monastery and ask for permission to stay to receive some spiritual guidance.

To see how an "order" works, you might become a member of the Secular Franciscans (used to be the "Third Order"), or check to see what lay orders may be available in your diocese.

If you really wish to start an organization, you must have people of a like mind who will work with you, under the premise that you establish. For experience, you might join your local St. Vincent dePaul Conference, and watch how it operates. In many ways, starting an organization is similar to starting a business, so you might want to start, yourself, with a plan.

If you want this organization to eventually become an order, you will need spiritual guidance. Find a priest who will act as your Spiritual Advisor and ask for direction and assistance.

If you succeed in all of the above, a new order must have a "rule" to live by. You may wish to study the Rule of St. Benedict, the premier founder of an order which still thrives today. Other Rules which may be available in part or whole are those for the Jesuits, Franciscans and Dominicans.

Godspeed!

[/quote]

I'm NO expert, but I thought if you joined a lay order, you couldn't then "switch" except for grave reasons.


#4

Why? Priests do. That’s how some of the variations of the Franciscan (First) Order were introduced. Not to imply order-hopping is advisable.


#5

[quote="mbrazell, post:1, topic:238163"]
Greetings and Blessings!

I am new to the site, but have read some of the other posts regarding this topic, but most have not been updated in a while, but I have a few questions. There seems to be a ton of great knowledge on this site, so any information or direction will be greatly appreciated. I've felt this calling for a long time, I have taken several shifts and turns in my life, and now am living in my own calling to faith. I've started a few local ministry groups, but want to take it a step further. My current work focuses on outreach and assistance for the homeless and those in need, contemplative prayer and study, and teaching. I have a pretty diverse background in spirituality and often times work with several of the Pauline groups in my hometown.

What is the process for starting and creating a new order? What are some of the documents/items necessary to get the ball rolling? There are so many "online" ordinations, organizations, churches and it is hard to discern at times what are "real" resources. I've seem some amazing comments and information on other posts, but many of the links provided were no longer active links.

Thank you for any help you can send my way.

Love and Light!

[/quote]

interesting idea...perhaps you have a vocation already to the Dominicans


#6

[quote="JamestheOlder, post:4, topic:238163"]
Why? Priests do. That's how some of the variations of the Franciscan (First) Order were introduced. Not to imply order-hopping is advisable.

[/quote]

And that requires a special dispensation from the Bishop. More like annulment and divorce than like switching churches... is my undestanding which only comes from stories from priests which could have been misunderstood... Perhaps someone with *real *knowledge will pipe in. :)


#7

Thanks for all the replies and keep em coming. I’ve researched a lot of different vocations, and have connected into some of the “new monastic” communities. I love what they do, and what they inspire, but there is also not a lot of structure or support outside of their communities which they usually refer to as “houses”.

@ Jamestheolder I’ve actually done a lot of the things you’ve suggested, as well as a lot of praying. I just ordered a copy of St. Benedicts Rule, and have been doing a lot of studying on my own and with several priests here locally. I live in DC, and the Catholic University is right down the st. Tho, sometimes it is easier to get unbiased information on a site like this one, plus its great to connect in the interwebs with like minded people.

Thanks again everyone, and any and all information is welcomed.


#8

[quote="mbrazell, post:1, topic:238163"]
What is the process for starting and creating a new order?

[/quote]

The first thing to say is that no-one can establish a new 'order': there have been no new orders since medieval days. The correct generic term for a religious grouping is 'religious institute,' although many people mistakenly use 'order' as a generic term - including me, occasionally.:o

With that bit of shameless pedantry aside; the relevant canons from the 1983 Code of Canon Law regarding the creation of a new institute are:

*Can. 576 It is for the competent authority of the Church to interpret the evangelical counsels, to direct their practice by laws, and by canonical approbation to establish the stable forms of living deriving from them, and also, for its part, to take care that the institutes grow and flourish according to the spirit of the founders and sound traditions.

Can. 579 Diocesan bishops, each in his own territory, can erect institutes of consecrated life by formal decree, provided that the Apostolic See has been consulted.*

So you would need to answer several questions to your satisfaction and that of the bishop, who in terms of canon law is the authority whose permission is required to erect a religious house at the diocesan level; and he in turn will have to satisfy CICLSAL, the Vatican's Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

The questions would include:

Why? (What's the purpose of the institute?).

Where? (Which diocese, which town, which building?).

What? (Enclosed life, apostolic endeavour, eremitical solitude?).

How? (What are the arrangements for meeting costs, managing demands made on the local population or clergy, recruitment of new members?).

In addition, you will need a clear sense of the charism, statutes and constitutions of the new institute. You wouldn't be expected to have all of this information from day one, but it would difficult to proceed without knowing most of the answers to these questions in some form at least. The church is full of institutes that are receiving few if any vocations: you would have to justify why another is needed.

Often it is easier to begin by forming a private association of the faithful, with possible progression to a public association and later to an institute over time. But there is nothing inevitable about this, and the bishop may be disinclined to offer support for a number of reasons - the onus is on you to persuade him that your proposal offers something unique, valuable and viable.

The canon law regarding private and public associations can be read at:

vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P11.HTM

  • and on succeeding pages.

So really the first step is to pray and discern, hopefully with some like-minded people. You could also consider contacting the vicar for religious at your local diocese, but it is possible that they will be unable to offer you any real help until you have something concrete to offer - it's not their job to do the work for you - and there are no guarantees that your efforts will be received positively.

Hope this is helpful and not too discouraging. Prayers and best wishes.


#9

That’s great information and not discouraging at all. It helps with direction when you are able to work through the proper language. This site really helps since there is a lot of misinformation floating around the web. :slight_smile:


#10

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