Today the Church throughout the world celebrates those who have consecrated their life to Christ. These are the men and women whom we refer to as "religious." What sets them apart from other Christians, is the total donation of self which is manifested in the three vows known as "evangelical counsels":poverty, chastity, and obedience.
Poverty- surrender of material possessions, total dependence
Chastity- Married couples are also called to chastity, single-hearted fidelity.
Obedience- total surrender to the will of God.
By embracing this unique form of life they seek the perfection of charity, love of God and love of neighbor.
There are a variety of forms of religious or consecrated life. While some religious are clergy, most are not and the vows they embrace are different from the promises made by a deacon, priest, or bishop upon ordination. Some religious men and women live in monasteries, but again, most do not. Some live in community, others are consecrated virgins or hermits.
Today the church draws our attention to unique contributions that they make. The unique charisms of the communities founded by the likes of St. Benedict, St. Dominic, St. Francis, St. Alphonsus Ligouri, and St Ignatius, just to name a few that are represented in our own diocese. Perhaps this week would be a good time to contact of the religious communities near you and offer your prayers and support.