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Religious communities

Question: Why do people join religious communities today?

Dear Inquirer,

SpacerFrom Religious Communitythe earliest centuries of Christianity men and women have taken to heart the invitation of Jesus to "follow Him". Many of the early Christians went into the desert, some lived alone as hermits, others gathered in small communities. Gradually some, like St. Benedict and St. Basil, drew up rules to stabilize and assist those who desired to live together. The members vowed to live lives that were chaste, poor and obedient. As time went on various types of ministerial activity were added to this life in common

SpacerNow, twenty centuries later, we find the same reason for joining religious communities. Men and women have a great yearning to grow in a deep relationship with God and to live their lives to the optimum.

SpacerOur generation has satisfied nearly every human need except the profound spiritual emptiness so many feel. To satisfy this need, a life in common with people of like mind, living close to God and serving the needs of others is a solution. Joining a religious community fills this need.

SpacerBut that is not all. Our generation yearns for community. The individualism that is in our culture leaves many lonely and unfulfilled people. A religious community can be supportive and fulfilling.

SpacerThus the two needs of so many people can be met by joining a religious community in which the members pray together, live together, and in many cases work together to serve their neighbors and each other.

Columkille Regan, C.P. contributed this "Ask a Catholic!" response.
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