YEAR OF CONSECRATED LIFE
82 | VISION 2015 | VocationNetwork.org
From ancient desert monasticism to contemporary forms of religious life,
a small band of Christian men and women in every generation choose to
consecrate their lives to God with unique vows of love and service that give
radical witness to the gospel.
SINCE the call of the first disciples, some followers of Jesus have sought a differ- ent way to live their faith. In the early
church groups of widows gathered to dedicate
themselves to prayer and good works. Others
craved solitary prayer, so they fled to the desert
to commune with God and guide others in the
pursuit of holiness. Monasteries, cloisters, and
religious houses eventually came into being,
and religious life as we know it began to take
Consecrated life—in its diverse expressions around the globe—is a gift to the church
and world. Its prayer lifts the entire church.
Likewise, good works and the pursuit of justice
Consecrated life through the ages
BY THE VISION EDITORS
shape society to more closely resemble the reign
of God. A life of chastity, poverty, and obedience
gives powerful witness to faith in Jesus without a
word being uttered.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, religious com-
munities of men and women rise up, serve a
purpose, thrive, and live on or come to an end.
This ebb and flow has occurred for 2,000 years
and will continue for millennia to come as new
members around the world take vows and join
their lives to communities to live out the gospel
in radical ways.
What follows is a brief timeline of the major
events in the history of consecrated life through