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What is a secular institute

A secular institute group at prayer

Secular Institutes were formally recognised by the Church in 1947 as a form of consecrated life in the apostolic constitution Provida Mater. Members of Secular Institutes live entirely in the world. Like all other lay people they share the responsibility to live gospel values and attitudes in family and social relationships and in the workplace, whether it be the office, factory, shop, hospital, school etc. They are also committed to being involved in the life of the Church. They are called to live their commitment through poverty, chastity and obedience.

Extract from Canon Law:

"Members of these Institutes express and exercise their special consecration in apostolic activity. Like a leaven they endeavour to permeate everything with an evangelical spirit for the strengthening and growth of the Body of Christ." (Canon 713)

Extract from Vita Consecrata, The Consecrated Life and its Mission in the Church and in the World (1996):

"The Holy Spirit has given rise in our time to new expressions of consecrated life, which appear as a providential response to the new needs encountered by the Church today as she carries out her mission in the world.

"One thinks in the first place of members of Secular Institutes seeking to live out their consecration to God in the world through the profession of the evangelical counsels in the midst of temporal realities; they wish in this way to be a leaven of wisdom and a witness of grace within cultural, economic and political life. Through their own specific blending of presence in the world and consecration, they seek to make present in society the newness and power of Christ's Kingdom, striving to transfigure the world from within by the power of the Beatitudes. In this way, while they belong completely to God and are thus fully consecrated to his service, their activity in the ordinary life of the world contributes, by the power of the Spirit, to shedding the light of the Gospel on temporal realities. Secular Institutes, each in accordance with its specific nature, thus help to ensure that the Church has an effective presence in society."(10)