Walking in the Footsteps of Christ
The historical origins of secular institutes go back to the end of the sixteenth century.  Christians consecrated to God in Secular Institutes follow Christ by undertaking to observe the three evangelical counsels by means of a sacred commitment, and they dedicate their life to Christ and to the Church, by devoting themselves to the sanctification of the world, particularly by working within the world.

The word "secular" is meant to underline the fact that the persons who make profession in this state of consecrated life do not change the status they have as in the world, and they continue to live and to work in the midst of the people of God in the normal conditions of their own social setting according to the secular style of life which is proper to them.  Members of secular institutes may be clerical or lay, male or female.

Consecrated life is already in itself an eloquent expression of the presence of the Holy Spirit, almost a kind of Gospel spread out through the centuries.  There is a particular bond of life and dynamism between the Holy Spirit and consecrated life.  Today's world is expecting to see in consecrated men and women the concrete reflection of Jesus' way of acting, of his love for every person without distinction or qualification.

For the holiness of the whole people of God, consecrated persons extend a persuasive invitation to reflect upon the primacy of grace and to respond to it through a generous spiritual commitment.

Knowing and Serving Christ

A life transformed by the evangelical counsels becomes a prophetic and silent witness and at the same time an eloquent protest against an inhuman world.  It calls for the promotion of the individual and for a new creativity of charity.  The first task which must be once again assumed with enthusiasm is the proclamation of Christ to all.  This task falls especially to consecrated men and women who bring the message to the growing number of those who ignore it.

Serving Life

Following a glorious tradition, a great number of consecrated persons exercise their apostolate in health care ministries continuing Christ's mission of mercy.  In the footsteps of the Divine Samaritan, they draw close to those who suffer, seeking to ease their pain.  Their professional competence--attentively seeking to make the practice of medicine more human--gives space to the Gospel which enlightens even the most difficult experiences of human life and death with goodness and confidence.

2005, New Catholic Communion

Compiled using materials prepared by The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Roman Curia, Vatican