Questions on secular religious institutions

Are there any secular religious communities dedicated solely to prayer? Also, do they have the same requirements as communities of nuns/apostolic sisters?

What is a “secular religious community”?
If one is secular, one is not religious, right? I think these two components don’t go together…


~Not exactly…

Not going into the semantics of your question. If you are interested in a community that a lay person can join that emphasizes prayer, the Carmelities would be a good bet. They emphasize contemplative prayer. The requirements to be a secular/lay member of the Carmelite Order are different then those that become religious members. There are many lay Caremelites monitoring the board that can give you those requirements.

Are you talking:

  1. lay associations dedicated to prayer

  2. third orders

  3. secular institutes

Numbers one and three may or may not be associated with a religious community like the second one is.

What are you being attracted to doing? What kind of commitment are you being attracted to making? Are you single or married? If married, does your spouse consent to your doing this?

While Carmel means “interior garden” and the Church turns to her for instruction on interior prayer, they are not the only ones who have constant prayer for their charism.


I was thinking of secular institutes. I want to be formally married to Jesus. I am “single,” although I made a personal vow of chastity so consider myself to be a bride of Christ already. What is a third order?

well, i am a lay dominican. i’m married, but live according to an adaptation of the dominican life. should help. you’re looking for consecrated virginity while belonging to an institute. the link should help you then.

i love that quote from st joan of arc!


Thanks for the link. There wasn’t much about consecration though. From what I’ve just read (on a different link), people in secular institutes don’t make a vow of chastity in the same way as a nun or consecrated virgin so I don’t think I’m called to one.

The link has a directory, and each institute explains their purpose in life, and how they consecrate their members. Some institutes are just for married people, others are just for women.

If you are desirous of both religious vows and virginal consecration, Stanbrook Abbey in the UK is the only place I know who still consecrates their virgins.

Most religious institutes don’t consecrate virgins anymore because hedonism has taken such a toll. Fortunately, we are seeing some improvement where that is concerned.


Thank you.

“Cloisters” is not entirely correct in her response. According to Mother Delores Hart’s autobiography, Regina Laudis Monastery in Connecticut still offers the consecration of virgins to its nuns (when appropriate). There may be others, but Stanbrook is definitely not the only one.

that is helpful to know. thank you nunsuch. i never claimed to know all such information. that is what these forums are for – information sharing.


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