What are the Names of the Religious Orders?

Can someone name off the current religious orders in the church? I’m not interested in Societies of Apostolic Life but only in actual orders.


What about Servite, Trinitarian and Augustinian? Are these orders?

What about, for example, the Franciscans who have OFM, Poor Clares and SFO? Are these orders in their own right? Cistercians as well - O. Cist vs. OCSO. I know that these are autonomous branches. Are they the same order or different orders.

Again, not interesting in Societies of Apostolic Life for the purpose of this question. Any help would be appreciated.


There are way too many orders to list, that someone once told me that the Vatican was wary of approving new religious orders because there were already so many.

From catholiclinks.org/men.htm (go there for links to each order).

Augustinians of the Assumptions, ASSUMPTIONISTS
Barnabite Fathers and Brothers
Brigittine Monks, Amity, Oregon, USA
Brothers of Charity
Brothers of Mercy
Brothers of Mercy of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Brothers of The Holy Family
Brothers of the Sacred Heart
Camaldolese Benedictines
Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception
Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross, Crosiers
Canons Regular of Sant Jonh Cantius
Christians Brothers, DE LA SALLE
Columban Fathers
Columban's Mission Society, Australia
Columban Missionary Society, Ireland
Companions of the Cross
Community of Saint John
Congregation of Alexian Brothers
Congregation of Alexian Brothers, Immaculate Conception Province
Congregation of Jesus and Mary, EUDIST
Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament
Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, Philippines
Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, Australia
Congregation of the Brothers of the Immaculate Conception
Congregation of Christian Brothers
Congregation of Holy Cross (Brother of the Holy Cross)
Congregation of Jesus and Mary. The Eudists
Congregation of the Holy Ghost
Congregation of the Holy Spirit
Congregation of the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd
Congregation of the Mission (VICENTIANS)
Congregation of the Missionaries of Saint Charles- SCALABRINIANS
Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer - REDEMPTORIST
Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri
Congregation of the Passion, PASSIONIST
Congregation of the Sacred Heart
Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, (Picpus Fathers)
Congregation of Saint Basil
Congregation of the Servants of the Paraclete
Consolata Missionaries
De La Salle Christian Brothers
Diocesan Laborer Priest
Discalced Carmelite Order (Religious Order of The Friars)
Divine Word Missionaries
Fathers of Mercy
Franciscan Friars
Franciscan Friars of the Atonement
Franciscan Friars of The Immaculate, MA, USA
Franciscan Friars of the Renewal
Franciscan Missionaries of The Divine Motherhood
Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word
Franciscan Friars of The Immaculate, MA, USA
Glenmary Home Missioners
Holy Ghost Fathers
Hospitaller Brothers of Saint John of God
Institute of Charity, Ireland, ROSMINIANS.
Jesuits, Society of Jesus
Josephite Fathers and Brothers
Josephite Fathers and Brothers
Legionaries of Christ
Little Brothers of the Incarnation
Little Work of Divine Providence
Marist Brothers
Marist Fathers
Mill Hill Misionaries
Missionari Scalabriniani, Europa-Africa
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
Missionaries of God's love
Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, Oregon, USA
Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Cincinnati, USA
Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Pacific Province
Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Linwood, NJ
Missionaries Servants of the Most Holy Trinity
Missionary Society of Saint Paul of Nigeria
Missionary Society of Saint Paul the Apostle
Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary- CLARETIANS
Missioners of Christ
Monastic Fraternity of Peace
Montfortian Religious- The Company of Mary
Montfortian Religious Family
Norbertines, Order of Canons Regular of Prémontré
Oblates of Saint Francis of Sales
Oblates of Saint Joseph, Pennsylvania Province
Oblates of the Virgin Mary
Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance- TRAPPIST
Order of Friar Servants of Mary
Order of  Preachers- DOMINICANS
Order of the Blessed Virgin of Mary of Mercy, USA
Order of the Ministers of the Sick, CAMILLIANS
Order of the Most Holy Trinity, TRINITARIANS
Our Lady of La Salette Missionaries
Patrician Brothers
Paulist Fathers
Presentation Brothers
Priests of the Sacred Heart
Priests of the Sacred Heart, Hales Corners, Wisconsin, USA
Religious Institutes
Salesians of Don Bosco
Scalabriani Congregation
Scheutists, Missionhurst Missionaries USA
Scheutists, Missionaries of Scheut, Europe, Africa
Schoenstatt Order, South Africa
Society of African Missions
Society of Divine Vocations, Vocationist Father
Society of Mary, MARIANIST
Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, SOLT
Society of the Divine Word
Society of the Catholic Apostolate,(PALLOTINE)
Society of the Divine Savior - SALVATORIANS
Society of Saint Edmund
Society of Saint Paul
Society of Saint Vincent de Paul
Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (Sodalicio)
Sons of Divine Providence
Subiaco Congregation of the Order of Saint Benedict
The Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis
The Carmelites
The Community of Saint John
The Precious Blood Community
The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter
The Society of Mary
The Society of Saint Paul
Vocationist Fathers and Brothers
Xaverian Brothers
Xaverian Missionaries, USA

My favorite order seems to be missing from the beautiful list from the above post.

Missionaries of Charity - Mother Teresa’s Sisters, Brothers, and Priests

My understanting was that orders were the ones that had one of the four rules: Benedictians who follow the rule of st Benedict, dominicans who follow st dominic’s rule, franciscans following st francis’ rule and the Augustinians that follow st augustin’s rule. I was told that all others are congregations as the other congregations will follow one of these four rules: franciscan, benedictian, dominic or Augustine; or a mix of those four. However I am not sure as the accuracy of that, so if can someone shime in it would be great.

From what I remember, you are correct, except for the fact that you forgot the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits.

There are 5 “orders”, all other societies & congregations are based on the rule of one of the “big 5.”

OP, I am sure if you do a search of Br. Jay’s (JREducation) posts you will find more information.

With all the usual caveats about Wikipedia, they have a nice article here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_religious_order

They list far more orders than I knew about. (Hieronymites? Baladites? I never heard of them before.) They list only men’s orders but I assume the women’s branches would carry over as well – if you have Benedictine men than you also have Benedictine women, for example. I don’t know if there are cases where there is a women’s order that does not have a male equivalent. There’s no male branch of the Poor Clares, but there certainly are men in the Franciscan family.

There’s an interesting comment at the end of the article: The 2012 Annuario Pontificio, which devotes 19 pages to this information on Latin-Rite “orders” for men, gives 35 pages to Latin-Rite “congregations” for men, 7 to Eastern “orders, religious congregations and societies of apostolic life” for men, and 198 pages to more concise information on religious institutes for women.

The OFS (what the SFO is now called-and thank God, IMHO…got tired of being asked what I had to do with San Francisco International Airport :rolleyes::D) is the only “third order” that has its own Superior General. The other orders’ Superior General is a religious.

We used to be called Third Order (1st-brothers and priests; 2nd-nuns; 3rd-lay people and secular priests who are members):slight_smile:

The only proper orders in the Church are as follows:

Franciscan (OFM, OFM Conv, OFM Cap)
Minims (extent)

*And the OFS. It is a “full” order, with its own Constitution and governance. :slight_smile:

If the Wikipedia article I cited is correct (and it is Wikipedia, after all), then what differentiates religious orders from other groups is that they take solemn vows. I don’t understand how Secular Franciscans could take a solemn vow of poverty (or chastity or obedience). Just sign me confused.

I’m not trying to answer the question, but poverty, chastity, and obedience are not the only vows. The Benedictines have vows of conversion, stability, and obedience.

I won’t touch anything to do with Franciscans – let Br JR take of that – but in any case, what was quoted isn’t quite complete. The Carthusians (O.Cart) are formally an Order. So, too, are the Cistercians (O.Cist & OCSO both and separately). And the Norbertines (O.Praem). And the Carmelites are O.Carm & OCD, both and separately. One must also make a distinction about the Trinitarians: the so-called “White Trinitarians” (O.Ss,T,) are, the others, no. Could be that I may have missed one or two.

The OFS does indeed have its own governance (assisted, to be sure, by the other 2 orders). The OFS President is an OFS, in other words. This was not allowed even for Francis’ contemporary Dominic. (Incidentally, Francis was the last person to be able to write his own rule for his friars. Dominic was not allowed this: he had to use the Augustinian Rule [IIRC], adapted for the Domincans, to be sure.)Their Third Order President is a religious. I am not saying that this makes the OFS “better” than the others, BTW. :o

Soon, new families in the Church (the Passionists, for example) couldn’t have Third Orders at all. This lead to Confraternities and Archconfraternities.

OFS members do make promises of poverty, chastity and obedience in our state of life. Certainly not solemn vows, obviously. Strictly speaking, Wikipedia is correct, with only 1 exception amongst all the Church “families”. That exception is the OFS. Again, that doesn’t make the OFS “better”, but it is what it is.

You left out the Carthusians and the Cistercians (strict and common observance, though one could say they’re a species of Benedictines).

The big difference is that the Secular Franciscan Order is not a religious Order it’s a secular Order. As has been said it is a fully recognized Order of the Catholic Church and has a unique place that it is the only 3rd Order that is governed autonomously. The members make promises not vows, they are allowed to make vows if they want but it isn’t suggested. The 1st and 2nd Order (and TOR) are to provided spiritual assistance but not governance to the Secular Franciscan Order.

The light dawns! That explains it all. Thanks.

Fraternal correction, The Order of Franciscan Seculars is a religious order.

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