Religious Brotherhood


I’m currently discerning if God may be calling me to religious life, but one of the issues I’ve run into is that there isn’t a whole lot out there on brothers. There’s all sorts of resources on the priesthood: who a priest is, what a priest does, etc, etc. However, there seems very little on who a brother is, what he does, etc.

I’ve read Vita Consecrata as well as Identity and Mission of the Religious Brother in the Church but even these seem sparse. The top hits on google (,,, etc) also don’t contain a whole lot of information either. Is anyone aware of some solid and fairly detailed resources that speak on this vocation?

Thank you


Here is something from Religious Brothers Day, which was celebrated last May 1st. If you know the particular order of religious brotherhood you are interested in, be it Franciscan, Benedictine, Carmelite, Christian Brother, etc., they would likely have more information for you at their website or vocations contact. God bless you in your discernment!


This is something where you will be much better off and get a much better understanding going and talking to the Brothers at a Monastery, rather than searching for information online.


I think it may be helpful to discern to which order you are feeling called to and then look at the religious brother aspect of that order.

Because some orders are so different from others, the answer that you are seeking is difficult to provide. I would suggest finding orders you are interested in and then see which opportunity would best suite you and where you are called.

God bless.


Dominican Cooperator Brothers:

Southern Province of St. Martin de Porres:

Eastern Province of St. Joseph:

Western Province of the Holy Name of Jesus:

Central Province of St. Albert the Great doesn’t have a dedicated cooperator brother page, but here is their vocations page:

The Brotherhood of Hope was recently featured on a Polish-language vocations blog:

Any religious order that has priests will have unordained brothers, as well. The Holy Ghost works on attraction. And don’t be discouraged if they chase you off. St. Benedict says to chase off potential vocations to test their resolve. Other orders do that too. Sometimes, but not always.

Mrs Cloisters, OP
Lay Dominican



St. Paul of the Cross Province:

Holy Cross Province:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales:

Mrs. Cloisters. OP
Lay Dominican


Brothers of the Christian Schools (De La Salle Brothers):

Then the opposite end of the (vocational) spectrum:

Carthusian Donate Brothers:

Mrs Cloisters, OP
Lay Dominican


Excellent! Here’s one more, the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God, an order that only accepts brothers (with some exceptions - see Frequently Asked Questions link)


Thanks for the links everyone. I have visited the Dominicans and will be visiting them again. I actually learned quite a bit and which has given me a desire to learn more. The reason I reached out is because I was curious if there was anything about brotherhood in general and what one’s identity as a brother looks like with how we relate to one another and the church. I’ll look through what everyone shared and go over the stuff I already have again for some opportunities for reflection. Thanks again!


I’ve not much to add beyond what has already been said, except to indicate that I share your frustration with trying to find general information on brotherhood on the Internet, “brother” being, of course, a very common word with a more general meaning. One really must be much more specific, as concerning communities and such, when trying to get information from such a blind search. Writing to the vocations directors of these communities themselves is, of course, far better – and sometimes even asking him for the address of a non-ordained brother to write him to get a sense of how his life differs from that of a priest of the same community.


Yeah, I’ve actually visited the order I’m interested in in two of their locations. I had some really great conversations there and learned a lot about the brothers.

The question I’m wondering about though really has to do with brotherhood in general and not about a specific community (although that is certainly relevant and important to know). I’m specifically wondering about what makes someone a brother, who a brother is in relation to the church as a whole and other vocations. I have found a good amount of information about what brothers do, but not so much about what a brother is.

There are many books about who a priest is. From what I can tell there are also a number of books about what a sister is. There’s numerous books on marriage. But what about the theology of a brother? I read Pope Benedict XVI’s book The Meaning of Christian Brotherhood which was really good and fairly helpful, but it is perhaps a bit too general for what I was looking for - something on the vocation of brother.


Therein is the dilemma, bpm. There seems to be little that I can find, whether online or in print, concerning this beyond the generalities of religious or consecrated life. There is some on cloistered monastic life, but not much that I can find at all concerning friars or active brothers. I read once that there are more saints who were lay brothers, though, than in any other state of life; if this is true, then I am surprised that there isn’t more written, unless the mystery of the religious brother is supposed to be more an experiential than a written matter.


There’s not a lot out there that I am familiar with either. I think your best bet is to try and find a religious brother or two and talk to them about their vocation. It will vary order to order, in what they do, how they are formed, whether they take on primary ministries or are more “supportive” to the Order or to the priests in the order.

This article was published recently about a friend of mine, you might find interesting:


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