What's the difference between Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, Benedictans, (other)

What’s the difference between Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, Benedictans, (other) …

And how many groups are there ?

There are lots of differences: history, founders, charism, work, lots of things. What specifically are you interested in?

There are only about 9 actual religious orders, all founded before 1250AD, with the exception of the Jesuits which came a couple of hundred years later.
They are: Benedictines, Carmelites, Franciscans, Servites, Premonstratensians, Trinitarians, Dominicans, Augustinians and lastly Jesuits. I hope I haven’t left anybody out–some of the really, really old ones are now very small. A couple of these groups have their own “rule” that they follow and the rest of them use the Augustinian rule. Some of these orders have divisions, such as the Carmelites, which have 2 branches within the order.

All the other religious groups are not really “orders” although people tend to call them that because it’s confusing. There are many, many of these other religious groups, probably thousands. They are congregations, societies of apostolic life, all kinds of different things, each with a different set of properties in canon law. It can get pretty complicated pretty fast.

Guess I’m interested in a starting place which will not confuse me ‘pretty fast’

Well, its a very large topic. It’s better if you can specify what you want to know.

CAF is actually a very good place for information about Franciscans, Carmelites and Benedictines. You can do a search and find threads especially dedicated to them. The others, not so much.

What is the purpose of religious order?

In a very general sense, to grow spiritually while doing the work of the Kingdom of God.

But it very rapidly turns to definitions of what it is “to grow spiritually” and what is “doing the work of the Kingdom of God.” Those definitions depend on which order a person is in, or whether they are a regular parish Catholic which is also a vocation.

Most people are not called to life in religious orders or congregations, but rather are supposed to live their lives of faith in the parish family atmosphere. This is a very, very important part of the Church, and a very vibrant need because this is where Catholics come from and where Catholics learn, practice and share their faith.

On the other hand, life in a religious order or congregation is a very specialized disciplined sort of life for a reason. These people are dedicated to being part of an ancient portrait of faith that has endured for centuries and will always endure. They are a witness to faith in a specific fashion. All the orders and congregations together form that giant portrait.

Do the orders work in harmony to serve the kingdom of God? Or are they blind to each others works? Does the Pope/Bishops have flow chart on these? Are they relevant to the Apostolic Sucession?

Btw, thank-you for being patient with my questions. :slight_smile:

Sometimes. They generally don’t work against each other. They tend to have different work and different schedules if that’s what you’re asking.

A religious order, congregation, society of apostolic life or other organization has to have approval to exist, if that’s what you’re asking. Some groups just getting started are seeking approval too.

Are you considering being an efficiency expert and whipping them into shape??? :smiley:

I have no idea what you’re getting at here. Some orders and congregations have ordained members, and some don’t.

So, are orders like a family that we are spiritually born into OR are orders like a club that we join?

A person has to have a particular kind of vocation to enter a religious order, congregation, society of apostolic life or some other similar religious group. It’s not a club a person joins–AT ALL. The call is actually very specific.

But most Catholics have a vocation to family life in the parish instead. That’s a vocation too.

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