UK Religious Life


Consecrated men & women in the media

Year of Consecrated Life: News items about consecrated men & women

 Eddie Mair interviews Fr Bruno Healy, a hermit in North Wales on BBC Radio 4's iPM (29th November 2014)

I have been a hermit now for eight years. Eddie Mair from the BBC's PM programme goes to a windswept place in North Wales to visit a listener in his hermitage to find out about his life and what he's searching for. 

Fr Bruno Healey said he always had a yearning and a longing for God. He tried to be a hermit at the age of 20 but says he didn't have enough life experience in his rucksack at that time - so he left and went on to became a priest. Fr Bruno worked for the diocese for Westminster for 20 years before he asked permission to live as a hermit again.

Listen to the interview on iplayer:

The programme will be available for 29 days.




An article by Joanna Moorhead in the Observer about Sr Ancy, an Adoratrice sister, and Rahab, the charity she founded to care for women who are victims of trafficking (30th November 2014)

“The fact is that we’re all paid to do this – it’s our job,” said one of the police officers involved in the London raid. “But for trafficked women and other sex workers it’s their whole lives – and having someone like Sister Ancy, who is dedicating her whole life to it and isn’t doing it merely because it’s her job, means the world to the women they help.”

Read the article here: 


New DVD about consecrated life in the UK

To mark the opening of the Year of Consecrated Life, the National Office for Vocation has produced a new film entitled ‘Consecrated Life: Men and Women Religious Tell Their Stories’ which is available via Vimeo and YouTube.

The CaFE film explores what it is like living in an apostolic community, life in an enclosed convent, the vows religious men and women take and why somebody might choose this way of life.

Prayers for the Year of Consecrated Life

Prayer for discerners

LORD of the Harvest, 

BLESS young people with the gift of courage to respond to your call. Open their hearts to great ideals, to great things.

INSPIRE all of your disciples to mutual love and giving - for vocations blossom in the good soil of faithful people.

INSTILL those in religious life, parish ministries, and families with the confidence and grace to invite others to embrace the bold and noble path of a life consecrated to you.

UNITE us to Jesus through prayer and sacrament, so that we may cooperate with you in building your reign of mercy and truth, of justice and peace. Amen.
Pope Francis - Adapted from the Message on the 51st World Day of Prayer for Vocations

(Source: Vision Vocation Network)

Prayer for the Year of Consecrated Life (CoR - England & Wales)

Jesus Our Saviour,
Incarnate Word,
as you have entrusted
your own way of life
to those whom you have called,
continue to draw to yourself
men and women who will be,
for the people of our time,
dispensers of mercy,
heralds of your return,
living signs of the Resurrection
and of its treasures of virginity,
poverty and obedience.

Prayer for the Year of Consecrated Life (US Conference of Catholic Bishops)

O God, throughout the ages you have called women and men to pursue lives of perfect charity through the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
During this Year of Consecrated Life, we give you thanks for these courageous witnesses of Faith and models of inspiration. Their pursuit of holy lives teaches us to make a more perfect offering of ourselves to you.
Continue to enrich your Church by calling forth sons and daughters who, having found the pearl of great price, treasure the Kingdom of Heaven above all things.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(Source: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)

Pope Francis' letters for the Year of Consecrated Life

Rejoice! A letter to consecrated men and women in preparation for the year dedicated to consecrated life

 Order a copy from CTS 


Keep Watch! A letter to consecrated men and women journeying in the footsteps of God

 Order a copy from CTS


Letter to all Consecrated People: Pope Francis' Apostolic Letter on the Occasion of the Year of Consecrated Life 

 Order a copy from CTS

Click to read online

Celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life in England and Wales

 Events for the Year of Consecrated Life in England and Wales

Please note that more events will be added in due course

    The Opening of the Year for Consecrated Life in Brentwood Diocese took place on 21st November 2014 from 10.30 am - 3.30 pm in Brentwood Cathedral Centre

    The mass to mark the opening of the Year of Consecrated Life for religious in Cardiff diocese took place on 22nd November 2014 at 11am in Llantarnam Abbey

    On Sunday 1st February 2015 the Vigil Mass of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord will take place at Clifton Cathedral. At 4.15pm there will be Vespers in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of the Cathedral followed by refreshments in the Apostles’ Room and Mass celebrated by Bishop Declan at 6pm. 

    On Wednesday 17th June 2015 there will be a meeting of the Religious of the Diocese led by Sr Jane Livesy C.J (Superior General of the Congregation of Jesus) at Downside Abbey.

    A day entitled 'Keep Watch! Consecrated Life Matters' will be led by the Right Reverand Malcom McMahon, Archbishop of Liverpool, on Saturday 31st January 2015 at the Niland Conference Centre, Bushey Heath. It is possible to book for either the morning or the afternoon session. Click here for more information

    Celebrating The Year of Consecrated Life in the Diocese of Lancaster: A special Mass with Bishop Michael Campbell for the Year of Consecrated Life on Tuesday 29th September 2015 at 7:00pm

    Leeds Diocese has a series of events planned for discerners, from October 2013 to June 2015. Click here for more information.

    On Sunday November 23rd 2014 the official launch of the Year for Consecrated Life took place in Liverpool Cathedral, with evening prayer with Archbishop Malcolm. Click for more details. 
    On Friday February 6th and Saturday February 7th 2015 there will be events in Liverpool Cathedral to celebrate consecrated life. Click for more details.
    The diocese of Westminster is marking the Year of Consecrated Life by dedicating all the monthly Vocations Discernment Group meetings for young adults to reflections and discussions with members of different religious congregations. Click here for more details. 
    The opening mass for the Year of Consecrated Life in Westminster Diocese took place in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 29th November 2014.

    Bishop Seamus celebrated mass in St Mary's Cathedral, Newcastle, on November 21st 2014 to open the Year of Consecrated Life. This was be the beginning of a series of events to be arranged during the course of the year.
    On Monday 8 December at 7pm the Diocesan Feast Day Mass and the launch of the Year of Consecrated Life took place in the Cathedral (Barrack Road, Northampton) with Bishop Peter.

Click here for more information about events for discerners for the Year of Consecrated Life

Announcement of the Year of Consecrated Life

Video of the announcement of the Year of Consecrated Life


Logos for the Year of Consecrated Life

Logo for England and Wales (English)

The National Office for Vocations has released this logo for the Year of Consecrated Life, which can be downloaded here.

The logo is also available in greyscale and black - if you would like either of these versions please email


Logo for England and Wales (Welsh)

We are pleased to announce that the National Office for Vocation's logo for the Year of Consecrated Life is now available in Welsh. It can be downloaded here.

The logo is also available in greyscale and black - if you would like either of these versions please email

Vatican logo

The Vatican's Congregation for Institutes of consecrated life and Societies of apostolic life has produced this image for the Year of Consecrated Life.

A dove supports on one wing a polyhedral globe, and while resting on the water, it safeguards with the other wing three stars that arise from the water.

Click for information about the logo and the artist


Vatican Plans for the Year of Consecrated Life

The Year of Consecrated Life will officially begin on 30th November 2014, the first Sunday of Advent, having been preceded by a prayer vigil on Saturday 29th November. The Year will finish on February 2nd 2016, the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life. During these 14 months celebrations and diverse meetings will take place with the objective of highlighting the various dimensions of consecrated life. 

- Watch the prayer-vigil for the start of the Year of Consecrated Life on You-Tube

From 22nd - 24th January 2015, during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an ecumenical meeting will welcome consecrated people from other Churches and ecclesiastical communities. 

From 8th - 11th April 2015 there will be a meeting for those responsible for formation for consecrated life, to deepen understanding of the criteria which lead to a spirituality of communion.

From 23rd - 26th September there will be special events for young consecrated people. 

Finally, from 24th January to 2nd February, there will be a World Week of Consecrated Life in Unity. This will include a theological symposium on consecrated life and specific meetings on monastic life, secular institutes and the Order of Consecrated Virgins.

Information taken from Vatican Radio 

Year of Consecrated Life: Events for discerners

More events will be added to this page in due course


To download a booking form click here.  


For more info contact Mgr Paul Grogan:



The Diocese of Westminster is marking the Year of Consecrated Life by dedicating all of their monthly Vocations Discernment Group meetings for young adults to reflections and discussions with members of different religious congregations.
It promises to be an inspiring journey across the diverse and rich landscape of consecrated life, celebrating its continuing relevance and fertility for the world.

For more information click here

NUN-RUN / MONASTERY MARATHON for young adults aged 18-38 (London)

COMMUNITY CRAWLS for young adults (Oxford)

Two tours of religious houses in and just outside Oxford will take place on Sunday 1st Feb 2-6PM and Saturday 7th Feb 10am-4pm, both departing from Oxford University Catholic chaplaincy. 

For more information contact
Sr Silvana: 
or Fr Dushan:




Click for the Facebook Event page 

Pathways and Possibilities: Exploring Our Christ Calling (Liverpool)
As part of this Year of Consecrated Life in the Church we invite you to explore with us different possibilities of finding our Christian vocation by discovering the 'founding energies' and 'ongoing flow of life' at the heart of some religious congregations.

Five Monday Evenings in 2015: 11th May, 1st June, 15th June, 29th June & July 6th.
Location: 25 Newsham Drive, Liverpool L6 7UG
6pm - Light supper (soup & rolls); 7pm - 8.15pm : Sharing of founding Grace and ongoing life of 5 congregations.
Places are limited to 8 applicants. Details of guest speakers will be confirmed nearer the date.

Monday 11th May: Learning from St Benedict: Prayer, peace, hospitality and integrating life
Monday 1st June: Sisters of St Mary: Exploring our charism: past, present and future
Monday 15th June: St Dominic Today: Listening, sharing and proclaiming God's living Word
Monday 29th June: Carmelite saints and their spirituality today in consecrated and lay life
Monday 6th July: St Ignatius and the Jesuits: Discerning our faith journey. 

Year of Consecrated Life

Pope Francis announced that 2015 will be a year dedicated to the promotion of consecrated life, and is asking the church's religious sisters, brothers and priests to "wake up the world" with their testimony of faith, holiness and hope.

Click on the links below for information

World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life

In 1997 Blessed Pope John Paul II instituted a ‘World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life’ on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

Each year since then on February 2nd the Church has thanked God for the gift of the different forms of consecrated life, and prayed that our Church will continue to be enriched by the life and witness of consecrated men and women. 

Below are some suggestions of how to mark February 2nd 2015 in this Year of Consecrated Life

Parishes and student chaplaincies could:

* Include a notice about the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life in the Sunday newsletter; the particular charism of any religious communities or consecrated people in the parish could also be highlighted

* Include a prayer for consecrated men and women and for more vocations to all forms of consecrated life in the prayers of intercession at mass

* Hold a holy hour for vocations to the consecrated life

* Student chaplaincies could invite local consecrated men and women to meet with students or organise a visit to a convent or monastery

Teachers could:

* Invite a local consecrated person to speak to a class or an assembly

* Join in the Church's celebrations by enjoying a film about inspiring religious

* Set a homework project where each student researches a religious community or a form of consecrated life of their choice

* Include prayers for consecrated men and women in the morning prayers or assembly

Consecrated people could:

* Invite people to refreshments and a talk about their life and particular charism

* Contact a local Catholic school and volunteer to speak to a class

* Ask their parish priest to put a notice about the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life in the newsletter

* Pray for discerners



* Blessed Pope John Paul II's message for the 1st World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life

* Photocopiable PDFs of an order of service for a Holy Hour for Vocations to the Consecrated Life and an additional page giving a variety of hymns and prayers

* Link to teaching resources about religious life and to some recommended films: Molokia (PG); Of Gods and Men (15); Dead Man Walking (15)

* Link to information about the variety of forms of consecrated life

* Link to a Religious Life timeline, explaining the emergence of diverse religious institutes from the early Church up to present times

* Possible newsletter insert:

Monday February 2nd, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, is the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life. On this day the Church thanks God for the gift of the different forms of consecrated life, and prays for an increase in vocations to the consecrated life, so that the life and witness of monks and nuns, religious brothers and sisters, members of secular institutes, hermits and consecrated virgins will continue to enrich our Church.
For more information:

* Possible prayers of intercession

We pray for those who are consecrated to God by the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. 
May they always reveal the love of Christ to those they encounter and continue to enrich our world by their dedicated lives of prayer. Lord hear us....

We pray for all those who are discerning their vocation in life, particularly those whom the Lord is calling to consecrated life. May they be given the wisdom to hear God's call and the courage to respond generously. Lord hear us...  


Read about the 'Six convents/monasteries in a day' which took place in London on Feb 1st 2014

Read about events which took place in 2013 for the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life here

A day in the life of a Daughter of Charity

The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul are an International Society of Apostolic Life.  St Vincent said “The Daughters of Charity are not nuns, but Sisters who come and go like seculars” their life is:

Given to God...   In Community...  For the service of Christ in persons who are poor...

The Company was founded in seventeenth century France by St Vincent de Paul and St Louise de Marillac.  The spirit of the Daughters of Charity consists of three virtues:  Humility...Simplicity...Charity.  Faithful to this spirit, we make every effort to be available and ready to respond creatively and courageously to the call of the Church and the urgent needs of people living in poverty.

A day in the life of a Daughter of Charity living in the local community of St Vincent’s Centre, Central London is inspired by love.  Every day the God of surprises guides us towards people who are carrying the hardships and poverties of our times. 

Our day begins with personal prayer, reflection and contemplation, seeking to know His will and presenting to Him the life and needs of those who are living in poverty.  Morning and evening Liturgy of the Hours brings us together for the prayer of the people of God and celebration of the Eucharist, which is the centre of our life and mission and an indispensable meeting each day with Christ.  We are fortunate to be within close proximity of Westminster Cathedral parish, and on special Feast Days celebrate the Eucharist in our Chapel.

Community is our primary place of belonging we live together, supporting each other in our common mission of service.

Our service of Christ to those who live in poverty is our fundamental call to live in community; the services provided from St Vincent’s Centre since 1863 have changed through the years, in response to the signs of the times.  The local community are involved in various ministries in the wider community, Vincentian Care Plus began its service 6 years ago from this house, responding to the needs of older people living in their own homes in Westminster.  The sisters support the work of The Passage, a Day Centre for people who are homeless and often out of hours and weekends receive many requests from individuals and families seeking refuge who are estranged from their families and their homelands for one reason or another and have found themselves alone and on the streets.  We listen to their needs and assist if we can or we guide them towards other agencies that can support them further.      

Hospitality has always been a feature of this house and deals on a daily basis with a variety of enquiries

  • People in need of accommodation...
  • Advice...both practical and emotional
  • A listening ear...
  • People in desperate need of prayers for themselves and/or friends and family...
  • Deliveries of food and clothing for the homeless...

Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you” and where they are we, The Daughters of Charity also will be.

Videos about religious orders

The aim of this page is to show a variety of professional short videos about contemporary religious life in the UK which could be used in schools and catechesis.
They are particularly appropriate for pupils in Key Stage 3 and older. 

Poor Clares - Enclosed Franciscan Sisters (Nuns) in Arundel

Cistercian monks (Mount St Bernard's Abbey, Leicestershire)


A Carmelite nun describes vocation


Friar Maximilian describes vocation (Franciscan Conventual Friar)



 Sr Cathy describes active religious life

This video is part of the Life in Christ series produced by the Southwark Catholic Youth Service. Please contact for information on how to order the full DVD.

Brothers of the Sacred Heart describe their life of prayer


Mother Dolores Hart OSB (Enclosed Benedictine nun)
The following 1/2 hour documentary about Mother Dolores Hart OSB has been very popular with Key Stage 4 pupils.

Click to see a lesson plan (with worksheet) about Mother Dolores and why people enter enclosed convents (using a 1/4hour video clip)

To view more videos visit our You-Tube channel
Press subscribe on the You-Tube channel page to be notified when a new video is uploaded.



How to be a Nun

A Quick Guide for Intrepid Explorers, Scared Survivors and Those Who Don't Know
by the Colletine Poor Clare community at Ty Mam Duw, North Wales


Please bring:
- the willingness to learn
- to hope
- to trust
- and to live on God's promises

Good will is more essential than ability.

Please do not wait until you are a Saint before you try. Canonisation is a life-project. If you are willing to be open to the Lord, his power will work in you.

The Lord makes his choice in his time. It makes no difference whether you are 17 or 70. When he calls; jump!

Do not let well-meaning people put you off. Very likely, when they fell in love they did not ask your advice. When the Lord looked lovingly at the rich young man, that look lingered on his face. Those who have met God's invitation will be able recognise its reflection in you. Religious life is not a career, it is an adventure in love.

Please do not bring:
- six suitcases of anything

- your entire wardrobe
- every letter you have ever received
- a year's supply of household goods
- your mobile phone, iPod or laptop
- an absolute resentment of any authority but your own
- a 2 metre statue of Buddha or a 4 metre statue of the Sacred Heart
- an intolerable prejudice against any other race, nation or culture
- invincible self-regard
- or your scuba diving suit! 

It is easier to fly travelling light.

You cannot help bringing your past.

If we say we have no sin we are lying. 1 John 1:5-10

The Lord is tenderness and compassion, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Exodus 34:6-9

It does not matter what you might have had to repent of, your community, who happen to be human, is willing to forgive your past - and your future. If your community cannot forgive, it is a fundamentally unsound investment.

Remember: every Saint has a past and every sinner has a future!

You are my witnesses. Luke 24: 44-49

Be prepared to stand up and be counted.
Ask and it shall be given you; information, direction, discernment, survival kit, support, encouragement and challenges.
Be prepared to change and change often.
Be prepared be called by a new name.
Be prepared to wear things that mark you out conspicuously as God's property. 

You might be content with, or at least accustomed to yourself as an egg, but if you hatch there will be an uncomfortable era of uglyducklingness before you make the front line of Swan Lake. Be open to the gift of loving appreciation.

It is not that we love God, but that he loves us. 1 John 4:10

He wants to give himself to us, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing. But before that takes place, his seed has to fall into our ground and die; then it can bear fruit - a hundredfold. 

Pray at all times. Luke 11:1-13, 22:39-46. 

Prayer is learning to listen, to respond and to perceive the actions of the one who loves you. 

Come, if you want prayer with your whole heart.

It does not matter if you think you do not know how to start. It can be taught and it can be learned. 

Looking and listening is the beginning of prayer, but you won't see anything if you don't open your eyes, and you won't hear if you don't take your fingers out of your ears.

Prayer is the highest relationship with God and others. Sharing a life of prayer is the ultimate gift. It is becoming part of the instrument of peace in the hand of God.

Prayer can make you the best friend of someone you have never met. It can make a life spent doing time-consuming and not immediately successful things, pass like a gracious dream. It can make even struggling with your own and other people's sinful humanness like living in the antechamber of heaven.

This is the biggest thing that happens to anyone.

I have called you friends. John 15:15

You are going to live in a community. You are going to live in a family of people with whom you have nothing in common but God and the nose in the centre of your face. Do not try to love all people as your brothers and sisters; if you had any, your relationship may well have been atrocious: Love one another, the Lord says, as I have loved you. John 15:12. In this way you will heal the sins of a shattered and broken world. 

Loving those whom God has selected for you as your religious family is the first prayer.

In this world people make relationships and destroy them. They move on, they get another job, another partner, another divorce. Now, if your relationships break down you will learn how to repair them instead of running away from them.

Do not lay up treasures on earth. Matthew 6:16

Sell what you have and give it to the poor. Mark 10:17-19

Take nothing for your journey. Eat what is set before you and proclaim the Good News. Luke 10:5-9

You are the salt of the earth:
salt prevents good things from rotting,
it makes bland things taste interesting,
bleaches out stains,
dissolves easily,
imparts buoyancy,
appropriately applied, it filters smoke out of the atmosphere
- and you can be all these things!  

You will not make heaven on less than the ten commandments. This life is not for minimalists who just want to do enough to be saved; it is for lovers who want to do as much as they possibly can.

You made need a whole new set of manners and you will at least need what you've got tuned to a new frequency. Nicely veiled malice and covert vindictiveness are unacceptable. Ridicule, contempt and all the other little techniques for cutting your neighbour down to size are out. You have to want to weave your life on forgiveness; your friends need it and you absolutely demand it. This is not optional.

No community will let you get away with part-time religious life. Live for others. Go out and meet trouble half way. Go the extra mile.

Calculated revenge is the most destructive of all reactions. Leave it outside the door.

Seek the kingdom first, and every thing you need and hope for will be given to you.

Build your life on the rock of God's Word; read him, pray him, sing him, stand on him, eat him, adore him, wrap your heart around him and nothing will knock you down.

This is what poverty, obedience and chastity work out as. If this sounds like the Sermon on the Mount - it is. Read Matthew 5:1-7:29 and look up the other references in this handbook, too. 

The Lord is with you. Luke 1:28-35

Religious life, married life and the single secular state are vocations. Shoemaking, bookmaking, matchmaking, teaching and professional boxing are jobs.

The things required to make a good wife, single person and nun are exactly the same. Choosing to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly is just as necessary in religious life as in married and single life. 

The same qualities of generosity, courtesy, chaste-mindedness, self-forgetfulness and creative energy come off equally well in all three, just as selfishness, greed, manipulation and arrogance are equally trying.

There are no special extras that nuns need and mums don't. What mums and nuns both need is a specific directive from God. A vocation. A call. An invitation to that line of action with which he wishes to privilege them. The choice is his. Many are called but few are chosen.

This does not mean that the Lord hauls in the old fishing net and, after inspecting the catch, arbitrarily throws the majority back into the sea.

He gives his vocation to the many, just as he gives his Body and Blood for the many. All but the incorrigibly bone-hearted get called - of those called a few get chosen for something else. The called are no worse off than the chosen. The many are called to the Good News. The chosen are selected from them for the purpose the Lord has in mind. Potential nuns frequently look and sound like everyone else. But they have been endowed - a fact possibly hidden even from themselves - with a heart big enough to take on God's plan for them.

The door is open.

By reading this you have conceded that God has something to say to you.

The next step is walking - on water.

When the two disciples asked our Lord where he lived he said: 

Come and seeJohn 1:35-43.

Practically speaking -
you have to be free to act,
and you must be doing so from good motives.
This is your bit. 

The third step does not depend on you: it is finding a community that will discern the Lord's call and his choice in your life and is willing to accept you and give you a try.





Some footnotes - always read the footnotes!

On getting nipped in the bud

You may find Priests, Religious and even Bishops who will advise you that religious life, or the style of it to which you feel called, is a waste of time. Respect such people and thank them, but do not take their advice.

For scared survivors

You may have tried religious life and it has not worked. Look first at yourself and the human social and personal luggage you took with you. Discern what you have learned from the experience. You can make resounding failure a state-of-the-art learning tool.

We are grateful to the Colletine Poor Clare community at Ty Mam Duw, North Wales for their permission to use text and images from their booklet  'How to be a Nun'.
Click here to view their website

Religious Vows

Religious make vows which help them to be free to follow Christ with an undivided heart

Just as Jesus remained celibate, open to loving all whom he encountered, religious do not get married or have sexual or exclusive relationships. This helps them to be available to others and to grow in freedom of heart. It also witnesses to the all-sustaining love of God; Pope Benedict XVI describes how celibacy cannot mean “remaining empty in love, but rather must mean allowing oneself to be overcome by a passion for God.”

By their vow of poverty religious promise to share their time, talents and resources, both within their community, and with those who are in need. Like the early Christians who “placed all things in common” (Acts 2:44), any money earned or gift given to a religious belongs to their religious community, which provides them with all that they need to live a simple and modest life-style.

The Gospels frequently describe Jesus seeking solitude to be alone with his heavenly Father. In prayer he received knowledge of the Father’s will and the strength to follow it. By their vow of obedience religious imitate Jesus’ obedience to his Father, believing that God’s will is manifested through their religious superiors. This includes decisions about what ministry or service they will be entrusted with. However, religious obedience is not a one-way relationship of submission but one where each one is called to pray about decisions that need to be made and to share the fruit of this prayer with those who will make the final decisions. Religious obedience requires availability and detachment from purely personal desires.

Other vows
While all forms of religious life are marked by the public profession of vows which will include poverty, celibacy and obedience (which are named differently in some monastic congregations), some religious also take other vows. These include stability, to remain in the same monastery and vows which mark the particular charism of the religious congregation, such as the Jesuit vow to undertake any mission the Pope requests of them.

The process of entering religious life
In most religious congregations ‘temporary’ vows will be taken at the end of the noviciate (a time of training in religious life). A religious can be in temporary vows for between three and nine years before final or solemn vows are made for life. The long process before life-long vows are made guarantees that both the person making this solemn commitment and the religious congregation receiving them have thoroughly discerned if it is truly God’s will.

Recommended reading for discerners

For the Year of Consecrated Life (2015)


Letter to Consecrated People on the Occasion of the Year of Consecrated Life from the Magisterium of Pope Francis

Click image opposite to order from CTS



Weblinks to Documents

Pope John Paul IIVita Consecrata: On the consecrated life and its mission in the Church and the world (1996)

Pope Francis - Message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations 2014

Catechism of the Catholic Church - Section on Christ's Faithful - Hierarchy, Laity, Consecrated life (numbers 871-945)

In Verbo Tuo: New Vocations for a New Europe (Final Document of the Congress on Vocations to the Priesthood and to Consecrated Life in Europe - 1997)


Discernment Websites

Survey to 'match' you with religious congregations:

Dedicated to those on the discerning journey

Catholic Vocation Discernment 


CTS Booklets on discernment


Click on the images above for more information about each booklet

Fr. Stephen Wang's How to discover your vocation (CTS booklet, 2009) Available to read online via this webpage 

About Religious Orders

One of the first things that anyone discerning a vocation to religious life will become aware of is the great variety of forms of religious life. The main distinction is between monks and nuns who live in an enclosed convent or monastery and religious who work outside the cloister, for example in education, health-care or evangelization.

There are hundreds of different religious orders or congregations, each of which contributes a particular gift to the life of the Church. Some are rooted in the great spiritual traditions, such as Carmelites or Benedictines; others are based upon a particular ministry, such as Dominican preaching or the Missionaries of Charity’s care for the poorest of the poor.

The Second Vatican Council described how the Church presents different aspects of Christ through the variety of religious congregations: “Christ in contemplation on the mountain, in His proclamation of the kingdom of God to the multitudes, in His healing of the sick and maimed, in His work of converting sinners to a better life, in His solicitude for youth and His goodness to all people”.

Click to access a list of links to the websites of religious orders and monasteries in England and Wales
Click to a link to download a religious life timeline explaining the emergence of different religious charisms throughout the Church's history

Religious Orders

Religious Vocation Project

The Religious Vocations Project has created a number of resources for teachers. These were originally distributed as a pair of compact discs, but are now available here for download.

CD 1 - Cover ArtworkDisc 1. Vocation & Call – Ways of Loving

A Powerpoint presentation, which explores the different ways of love –vocations – that God calls us to in life. Supported with accompanying musical tracks (in .wma format) and teachers notes and resources (in .pdf format). Please click here to download the zipped contents of the CDFile size: 26MB. Requires a fast broadband (DSL) connection.

CD 2 - Cover ArtworkDisc 2. Consecrated Religious Life: A Particular Way of Loving

A Powerpoint presentation, which focuses on one particular form of vocation, Consecrated Religious Life. Supported not only by accompanying musical tracks, teachers notes and resources, but also by video clips (in .wmv format). Please click here to download the zipped contents of the CDFile size: 89MB. Requires a fast broadband (DSL) connection.

Jewel case insertJewel Case Inserts and CD Labels

If you would like to print out the original CD Jewel Case Inserts and CD Labels for these compact discs, then please click here to download them as a zip file.

Advisory notes

  • Use the Powerpoint presentations with the accompanying resource material rather than on their own.
  • Do not try to use all the resource material in every lesson.
  • The material has been designed so that it is possible to use sections of it for different purposes, e.g. collective worship, group prayer, lessons with a particular focus.
  • It is essential that the teacher previews the material when planning for its use. It is not appropriate to use the material without thorough preparation.

Teaching Resources

Called Today: A new website for 10-16 year olds


Teaching resources on religious life from Vocation Sunday 2013

Key stage 3: Interactive worksheet to accompany and teachers' notes

Key stage 3 or 4: Assembly on St Josephine Bakhita: Powerpoint and teachers' notes

Teaching resources on religious life from Vocation Sunday 2012

Key stage 2: Fr Damien

Key stages 3 or 4: Mother Delores Hart

Resources about vocations to religious life available online

Religious Vocations Project - Downloadable CD of resources for teaching about religious life

Video resources - Several professionally made short videos about different religious orders, particularly suitable for Key Stage 3 pupils and older.

Resources about vocation available online

Ooberfuse has recently released 'Call my name', supporting the National Vocations Framework. It can be listened to online, and is part of their album 'Seventh Wave' which was released in August 2012.

It is suitable for use in secondary schools and sixth-form colleges, for assemblies or as part of a class activity on vocation/God's personal call.  Please note that the initial password is password and the username is staff. 

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Year of Consecrated Life

Click on the logo below (in Welsh) for information about the Year of Consecrated Life 2015

Contact Information

This website is administered by the National Office for Vocation, an office of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.


Please contact our Religious Life Promoter at or by post to:  National  Office  for Vocation, 39 Eccleston Square, London SW1V 1BX.