I have spent a lot of time researching religious orders out of curiosity and for vocation discernment. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge on some of the more well-known orders, such as the Franciscans, Dominicans, etc, but what about the “smaller” orders that no one seemed to talk about? Several of these orders have piqued my curiosity, but it’s difficult to find much information about them on the Internet:
Mercedarians, Passionists, Bridgettines, and Trinitarians
Generally speaking, what are their charisms? How do they serve God in today’s in today’s world? What are their views towards the liturgy and how is their community and prayer life structured? Where are they present in the USA?
Could someone who is more knowledgeable than I am or has had first-hand experience with these orders tell me about them?
Why don’t you ask them? They’d love to fill you in, you’d be getting the information from the horses mouth and the answers you’d get here, unless the poster happens to be a member of that order, will just be outsider conjecture and speculation.
Why don’t you just search on the web? I typed in Religious Order “passionists” and was led to several sites. Got the following off one of them
Passionist, member of Congregation of the Passion, formally Congregation of the Discalced Clerks of the Most Holy Cross and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ (C.P.), a religious order of men in the Roman Catholic church, founded by Paolo Francesco Danei (now known as St. Paul of the Cross) in Italy in 1720 to spread devotion to the sufferings and death on the Cross of Jesus Christ.
The Passionists fulfill their mission by preaching about Jesus Christ throughout the world. The members of the order follow an austere rule of life that calls for common recitation of the liturgical office, three days of fasting each week, and other penances. Their habit consists of a black tunic and mantle with a leather belt and rosary. The tunic and mantle have a heart-shaped badge, bearing a white cross and three nails with the inscription Jesu XPI Passio (Passion of Jesus Christ).
St. Paul also founded the Passionist Nuns (Nuns of the Cross and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ), approved by Pope Clement XIV in 1771. Passionist Sisters were established in 1852 in England.
This question is a breath of fresh air and very encouraging for those of us who work in vocations.
The Mercedarians, Brigittines, and Trinitarians all follow the Rule of St. Augustine.
The Passionist rule was drawn from many resources, including St. Augustine. Here is a clearninghouse site my organization put together for the US Passionist nuns: cloisters.tripod.com/us_cp/
The Mercedarians and Trinitarians are older than the Brigittines, and have the three traditional orders – friars (first order), cloistered nuns (second order), religious sisters and laity (third order regular and secular, respectively).
The Brigittines have always been cloistered, and were one of few who had double houses – men on one side of the complex, women on the other, and a shared chapel.
As of the last century, an active interpretation of the Brigittine charism arose, and it’s very ecumenical in its outreach. The foundress was a former Lutheran.
There are both Mercedarian and Trinitarian priests and sisters in the U.S, but no cloistered nuns of either order.
There are Brigittine monks and active sisters in the U.S.
I’ve already posted the Passionist nuns’ site we built. They do have friars and active sisters in the U.S.
The Servites also follow the Rule of St. Augustine, and are dedicated to the Sorrows of Mary. They’re very similar in charism to the Passionists. I know of a Servite sister who was a lay Passionist before she entered religious life.
We’re actually the oldest community of third order regular of St. Francis in continuous existence in the world.
Our founding statement might shed light on our charism: The ladies, who joined together in 1241 (who became the Franciscan Sisters of Dillingen were to “serve God our Creator peacefully, prayerfully, and zealously, praising and honoring Him to the consolation of all believing souls.”
For more on religious life and how it’s lived in our community, I invite you to visit our blog - Our Franciscan Fiat.