Through consecrated life, a man follows literally Jesus’ call to some in the Gospel to leave everything and follow him. Like diocesan priests, consecrated men live lives of celibacy and obedience, but they also embrace poverty as a radical witness of their total dependence upon God. They make vows to live this life of poverty, chastity, and obedience, in order to be more radically conformed to Jesus Christ. And they do this in community, pledging their life to a particular group of men who seek to live this life together. Religious communities fall along a spectrum, from strict contemplatives like the Carthusians or Trappists, to very active communities like the Franciscans or the Jesuits.
All religious men bear profound fruit in the Church by their life of consecration to God, whether their ministry is silent prayer and work in a monastery, preaching and teaching, giving retreats, serving the poor, running schools, or missionary work. Religious communities all respond to a particular movement of the Holy Spirit in the Church, so they are distinguished by their charism --the particular gift they bring to the Church -- as well as by the way they live community and by the work or ministry (called an “apostolate”) that they do.
The link to the right will help you explore the different religious communities of men serving in or near the Diocese of Austin. Contact them for more information or to arrange a visit!