Men-only religious orders? Women only?

Are there any religious orders or congregations that consist only of men? Or only women? I tried and failed to find a definitive answer online…

Jesuits, for one.

So I believe that you are asking if there is religious order or congregation that will not have a counterpart on the opposite sex.

If this is what you are looking to find out about I would think that there is no such thing in Catholicity, you will find that each order or congregation has spun both the male and female sides quite efficatiously. Which confirms that the Holy Spirit calls both men and women to the religious life.

Of course this does not contradict the fact that priests can only be males in order to be able to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders.


Even when there are religious communities of men and women that trace back to the same founder, they are totally separate, consisting of only men, or only women. The situation may seem confusing when there are so many Franciscan communities, for instance. But they are separate, many founded hundreds of years apart from each other, with separate governance; certainly separate from the opposite sex.

But there are many religious communities that never had a corresponding male or female division, such as Jesuits, or Sisters of Mercy. Sometimes they have the same name as a
community of the opposite sex (such as “Mercy”) but no connection or common founder. When Mother Theresa or Mother Angelica set up communities of priests, those communities were established to be separate from the women’s community right from the outset.

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