Is it possible to read the rules of a religious order?

Someone asked me if a lay person can find on internet the rules of religous orders, a timetable of how they spend the day, etc. or if this information is confidential and reserved only for the members of the order. I suppose this is the case, but I’m not sure.
Do you know?


These are frequently available online. The larger the order, the more info is usually available. If there’s an order your friend is interested in, your friend can write them directly to ask.

I think it depends on the order and what they have put online. For example, if you were interested in the Benedictines the Rule is available at

Many monasteries have their schedule online but it differs from one community to the next. You’d have to look at individual monasteries to see what exactly they do.

The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal have posted their rule and constitutions on their website for anyone wanting to read it:

Actually, the Church prohibits membership in ANY type of “secret society,” meaning any society in which the rules are not made known until the person becomes a member. The most well-known example is that no Catholic man may become a Mason, and no Catholic woman may become an Eastern Star (the female counterpart of Masonry).

The basis of this prohibition is obvious: how can a person make an oath to uphold rules that he has not yet been made aware of? What if he makes the oath, and discovers the rule is contrary to morals? Now he has made an oath to something immoral. BUZZZZ.

Therefore, the Constitutions of all Catholic Religious Orders must be submitted to the Holy See for approval, and these must be made publically known. In the pre-Internet age, finding these Constitutions might have been somewhat tedious, simply because of the limitations of information distribution, but it is trivial today. If you give me the name of any approved Catholic Religious Order, I think I could find their Constitutions in a matter of minutes.

However, there are “rules” that might apply only within specific provinces, or even within specific individual communities, or even to individual members of those communities. There is nothing in the Jesuit Constitution that says what time Jesuits must get up each morning. This would be something specific to each Jesuit community. The general schedule of their duties would largely depend upon their particular vocation. Jesuits, for example, are heavily involved in Catholic education, so their daily schedules would largely revolve around the class times of the educational institutions that they serve. If a Jesuit college offered night classes, a Jesuit instructor might be permitted to rise at Noon, or in the afternoon etc, which would differ from his counterparts who taught morning classes.

Sisters of St Joseph RSJ (Foundress, St Mary of The Cross MacKillop - Australian) I have never been able to find a copy of their rule, constitution etc.

Our site has all of the above:

I just read that the Carthusians don’t make their entire statutes known to the public.

Of those orders following the Rule of St. Augustine, their constitutions are usually online. Those of the Dominicans, Trinitarians, and I think the Servites are online.

Google “horarium” and many will come up.

Communities are supposed to let someone borrow their statutes for the sake of study, but many do not. They’re also supposed to help with habits, yet many do not.



Thank you all for your replies!

I asked her and she is interested in Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, and in the religious congregation founded by father Sopcko inspired by st Faustina Kowalska: the Sisters of Merciful Jesus, (I don’t know if this is exactly the name, it is something like that), they have most of their convents in Polland.


First is Augustinian. Second is Ignatian. Our site has them listed:



Do you know the basis of your claims about secret societies? Where can one read about that?

I was once in contact with a religious order and asking for that very same information, to determine things like rules, and expectations, and right relationships, and the vocation director went ape-sh** about that! Like, almost poo-flinging primitive behavior! All because of a well-intentioned, persistent inquiry for the sake of discernment!

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