LOL, Sorry folks. I had to do that play on you people. It's funny, because most people do not remember the rest of religious when they speak about them or pray for them.
I like this simple table. It helps. Red are consecrated men and women. Black are not consecrated men and women.
WOMEN RELIGIOUS: All live in sorority. Title of address is Sister in the Roman Church or Mother in the Orthodox Churches
Hermit: live alone, consecrated, may belong to an order or be a diocesan hermit
Nun: enclosed, makes solemn vows, belongs to a religious order (i.e. Poor Clares, Caremilite Nuns, Dominican Nuns, Benedictine Nuns, Trappistine Nuns, Augustinian Nuns). Note: Poor Clares are not connected with the Franciscan men. Francis founded them to be completely autonomous. They have their own rule of life written for them alone.. They are the only order of nuns who have the privilege of autonomy and their own rule. They answer only to the abbess and the local bishop. There is no superior general and Franciscan men may not have any affairs with them.
Sister: active, not enclose, makes simple vows, belongs to a congregation or society (i.e. Franciscan Sisters, Caremelite Sisters, Dominican Sisters, Benedictine Sisters, Augustinian Sisters, Sisters of St. Joseph, Sisters of Mercy, Missionaries of Charity, Daughters of Charity)
MALE RELIGIOUS: All live in brotherhoods. Title of address varies with each institute.
Hermit: live alone, consecrated, may belong to an order or be a diocesan hermit, may be ordained with the superior's permission, ordination not necessary (i.e. Carthusians). Proper title depends on their tradition.
Monk: enclosed, makes solemn vows, belongs to an order, may be ordained with the abbots permission, ordination not necessary (Benedictine family). Proper title depends on the monastery.
Friar: semi-enclosed, makes solemn vows and belongs to an order or makes simple vows and belongs to a congregation, may be ordained with the superior's permission, ordination not necessary (Franciscans, Carmelites, Augustinians, Dominicans, Trinitarians). Proper titles are one of the following: Friar, Brother, Frater, Fra.
Lay Brother: active, makes simple vows, belongs to a congregation (Christian Brothers, Xaverians, Marianists, Marians, Marists, Good Shepherd). May be ordained with the permission of the General Council. Proper title is Brother or Father if allowed by the congregation.
Clerk Regular: active, makes simple vows, belongs to a congregation of clerics, society of clerics, apostolic society of clerics (Salesians, Vincentians, SOLT, Redemptorists, Fathers of Mercy, Divine Word). Most are ordained. Proper title is Father unless they are not ordained, then they are Brother. Jesuits are Clerks Regular, but they are the only ones who are allowed to make solemn vows and are completely exempt of any form of Church government, except for the pope.
Secular Orders members of an actual order, not an association or a secular institute
*Francsican: * married, single, ordained (i.e. live separately, fucntion as a community, follow the same rule of life written just for them by St. Francis, have a superior general, answer only to the pope, not dependent or governed by the friars, nuns or sisters of the Franciscan family. In other words, Francis founded them to be completely autonomous.)
Carmelite: married, single, ordained (i.e. live separately, function as a community, follow the rule of the Carmelite Order, depend on the friars of the Carmelite order, do not have a superior general, but have their own form of government under the guidance of the Carmelite Friars)
*Dominican: * same as secular Carmelites
Third Orders: married or single, associate with a religious community, follow the rule and life of a religious community, less structured than a secular order, do not have a superior general, not a canonical order, do not make profession of vows
Societies of Apostolic Life usually made up of secular priests, are not consecrated, do not make vows, do not have a rule of life, governed by statutes that they can change democratically (i.e. SSPX, FSSP, Institute of Christ the King, Maryknoll, Sulpicians, Trinitarians (Fr. Corapi's)
Oblates: usually attached to one of the monasteries in the Benedictine family. Each monastery is autonomous. Married, single or ordained. Do not make vows. Live according to the Spirit of St. Benedict. Do not have a rule of their own. Do not have superiors general. Do not have canonical status as a group. Each oblate makes a gift of himself.
Our dear sisters fall into the group of Women Religious or Consecrated Life, but not into the group properly known as nuns. Even the vows have different obligations and rights from those of nuns. Most sisters were foiunded to be very active. To avoid having to succumb to the rules of nuns, the founders deliberately created them without a rule of life. That's why they do not use the title "order". Order means that one's life is ordained by a rule. They came to be called congregations, meaning to gather together. That's how they came to be free to live in apartments and other dwellings, if they choose to do so, as long as they form communities or congregate as a sisterhood. It's up to them to decide where and how they live. There is no universal rule for sisters. There are customs that have prevailed for centuries, but these were never legally binding. The same applies to congregations of lay brothers. Sisters and lay brothers are counterparts. These are not the same lay brothers that you find among the monks and friars. The lay brothers among the monks and friars are properly monks or friars.
Hope this helps.
Br. JR, OSF :)