O Lord Jesus Christ, you humbled yourself for our sake, that we might be made holy through your humility: Guide and sanctify, we pray, those whom you call to follow you under a rule of life, that by their prayer and service they may enrich your Church, and by their life and worship may glorify your Name; for you reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Adapted from “For Montastic Orders and Vocations,” Book of Common Prayer: p. 819
Religious Orders and Christian Communities in the Diocese of California and the wider Episcopal Church offer a way of following after Jesus through following a Rule of Life and living under vows alongside similarly committed Christians. By following this path in the Gospel, these communities offer spiritual support, witness, conscience, and service to the wider Church and world, and include a wide diversity of expressions.
In the Diocese of California, the following communities work in and alongside our congregations and ministries:
The Brotherhood of Saint Gregory has members living throughout the world who live a common Rule which requires the Daily Office, regular attendance at the Eucharist, and the offering of all work as an oblation to God, whether it is in the Church or world. Flexibility is crucial in the ministry of apostolic communities like the Brotherhood, as each member seeks to develop his or her talents in service to God and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
While maintaining a presence in the Diocese of California, The Community of Solitude also has an international presence with monks and nuns across the United States, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, united as a world-wide ecumenical community of Benedictine – Camaldolese solitaries. They take the Benedictine vows of obedience (to the will of God), stability (to a life of prayer) and conversion of life, embracing the dual mottos of St. Benedict and St. Romuald: Pray and work (Ora et Labora) and The Privilege of Love.
The Order of Saint Francis (OSF) is one of many active Apostolic Christian Orders of the Anglican/Episcopal Church. Rather than a communal monastic order, OSF members live independently in different parts of the world, with ministries based on the needs of their local community. Members are baptized men who have been confirmed within the Anglican Communion who voluntarily commit to live by a set of professed vows for a term of years or for life.
The Society of Saint Francis and the Community of Saint Francis
The Society of Saint Francis (SSF) and the Community Saint Francis (CSF) are religious orders offering a vital witness to religious life. Living under the vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience, these covenanted residential communities seek to:
- bear witness to God within and beyond all things and to the coming of God’s reign;
- be signs of the total commitment to which God calls us all;
- show forth the true value of human relationships by a commitment to love their sisters and brothers and their neighbor;
- be communities of worship;
- give themselves to the loving service of God within a disciplined common life;
- stand alongside the powerless, the poor, and the marginalized in prayer and through ministry.
Third Order Franciscans have a robust presence in the Diocese. The Third Order consists of men and women, single or in committed relationships, who, through following ordinary professions, are called to a dedicated life of service to our Lord through prayer, study, and work. Like the First Order, members of the Third Order make a lifetime commitment to live a Rule of Life in company with sisters and brothers in their Order.
More Religious Orders and Communities of The Episcopal Church can be found here.