Religious life is a way of life chosen by a Christian man or woman who is called by God to live the Gospel radically by placing prayer, service, community, and loving sacrifice as the major pivots of his or her life, formalized by certain vows, all in the service of a mission: the unfolding of the reign of God in our world.
These brothers, sisters, fathers, and mothers of religious life form communities known as religious orders. There are many and diverse communities of Christians called by God to live the religious life. Each of these communities is different from the others. Like a person, each community has a particular vocation within the Church. There are contemplatives, teachers, missionaries, preachers, and many more! Often, a religious order’s special vocation will encompass multiple kinds of work and spiritual practices. The work, spiritual life, daily routines, and history of a religious order all make up that order’s particular charism.