Welcome from the IRL National Director
Founded in 1974, the Institute on Religious Life (IRL) has served the Church now for over four decades. Comprised of bishops, priests, religious and laity, the organization was founded to assist and support consecrated religious women and men and their communities in the process of renewal called for by the Second Vatican Council documents.
In a recent document put out by the Congregation of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Identity and Mission of the Religious Brother in the Church, we are reminded, “The Religious Brother, living his lay state through a special consecration, is witness to the value of the common priesthood received in Baptism and Confirmation…. His religious consecration is in itself an exercise in the fullness of the priesthood of all the baptized.”
The document continues, “Rooting his life deeply in God, the Brother consecrates all creation, recognizing the presence of God and the Spirit’s action in creation, in cultures and in daily events.”
One of the ways the IRL helps to promote the consecrated life is by fostering vocations among the laity, especially youth. Much of our effort is concentrated in “getting the word out” via the Internet. Most young people today use the Web to obtain much of their information. Therefore, it is crucial that we provide accurate information and helpful resources for them to discover and discern God's call in their lives.
Since Vatican II, no consecrated vocation has disappeared from view more than the religious brotherhood. Borrowing a title from a famous Hollywood movie, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the Church needs to ask this same question and find ways to effectively inform others of this sublime vocation which intends to be a “brother to all” in the spirit of Christ Jesus. The good news is that the religious brotherhood is on the verge of a great rebirth.
This site, ReligiousBrotherhood.com, is our humble attempt to remove the bushel basket over the marvelous light that radiates from this important vocation in the life and mission of the Church. By providing information and inspiration to visitors, we hope to encourage many young men to prayerfully consider this calling.
We hope this website is a useful resource of initial data and first impressions about the Catholic religious brotherhood. You are cordially invited to make a personal contact us with any of the religious communities featured in this site. Please let the IRL know if it has been helpful to you by clicking the “Contact Us" page!
Special thanks to the Our Sunday Visitor Institute for initially supporting this project with an initial grant. May God bless them for their goodness!
Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus,
Fr. Thomas Nelson, O.Praem.
IRL National Director