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  • Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus

    Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus

    (Central Province)
    10341 Manchester Rd
    Saint Louis, MO
    Learn More

  • Discalced Carmel of Cristo Rey

    Discalced Carmel of Cristo Rey

    721 Parker Avenue
    San Francisco, California
    (415) 387-2640
    Learn More

  • Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne

    Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne

    600 Linda Ave
    Hawthorne, New York

  • Franciscan Sisters, TOR

    Franciscan Sisters, TOR

    of Penance of the Sorrowful Mother
    369 Little Church Rd
    Toronto, Ohio 43964
    Learn More

  • Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters)

    Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters)

    659 Belmont Ave
    North Haledon, New Jersey

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The mission of the Intitute on Religous Life is to strengthen religious life in our country, to guide it on the path to authentic renewal, to educate religious, to support their works, and to inspire vocations in their service to the Church and their consecration to Jesus Christ.

  • Mystical Rose Gala

    Mystical Rose Gala

    Saturday, November 9, 2019
    Cuneo Mansion & Gardens
    1350 North Milwaukee Avenue
    Vernon Hills, Illinois 60061 
    4:00 Reception, followed by dinner and entertainment

    Master of Ceremonies: Drew Mariani of Relevant Radio

                   Our Special Honorees will be the canons Regular of St. John Cantius



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Excellent formation opportunities and resources are invaluable for those discerning vocations to religious life as well as those in search of ongoing formation.  The Institute on Religious Life has many resources to offer out of its treasure trove from over the decades, from the Summer Vita Consecrata Institute for currently professed religious to articles, books, and audio courses.



Vocation Search

Are you discerning a vocation? VocationSearch will help you discover detailed information about the 190 Catholic religious communities and apostolates that are IRL Affiliates. Filtering criteria allows you to select your specific interest area such as tradition (Dominican, Benedictine, etc.), apostolate, cloistered or active, and belated vocations. Discernment retreats listed by community, location and date can help you see if the Lord is calling you.



Share in the Mission

The mission of the IRL is to proclaim and explain to the world the true nature and essential value of Consecrated/Religious Life as a radical following of Jesus Christ and its vital importance for the welfare of the Church and the salvation of souls. Lay people are invited to support the mission of the IRL, participate in our National and Regional Meetings, and pray for vocations. We encourage religious communities to be part of the family by becoming an Affiliate Member



Approval of Rome

In 1974, Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., with the approval of the Sacred Congregation for Religious in Rome, enlisted the support of bishops, religious superiors and laymen and women to found the IRL to affirm the vocation to consecrated life in accordance with the authentic teaching of the Church, and of the Holy Father; promote authentic religious/consecrated life as set forth by Vatican II and their implementation by the Holy See; and to encourage vocations to the religious, consecrated and priestly life.

Foremost among the bishops who supported the IRL was Most Rev. James J. Hogan, then Bishop of Altoona-Johnstown, PA, who served as the IRL's first president. His Eminence, John Joseph Cardinal Carberry, then Archbishop of St. Louis, served as the second president.

Help From Superiors and Laity

Religious superiors active in the founding were Mother Angela Cettini, D.S.M.P., of the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence in the United States; Mother M. Claudia Honsberger, I.H.M., of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Immaculata, Pennsylvania; retired Abbot Edmund McCaffrey, O.S.B.; and Fr. Louis Cortney, O.S.M., of the Order of the Servants of Mary.

Outstanding laymen who helped in the founding of the IRL were Mr. William J. Isaacson, a mainstay until his death in 1995. Mr. William Fairman, Mr. Francis Milligan and Mrs. William Spencer were other early lay supporters.

Today, more than 190 religious communities and several Catholic lay organizations and colleges have become Affiliate members of the IRL.

Initial Meetings of Religious

An initial meeting for members was held in Kansas City, Missouri, at Rockhurst College in 1975. In 1976, a meeting was held at Good Counsel High School in Chicago, conducted by the Felician Sisters, which featured Mother Teresa and Most Reverend Fulton J. Sheen, who also spoke at the 1978 meeting in Saint Louis, Missouri.

National Meetings of the IRL have been held annually since 1981 around the country, and are now held at University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illlinois.

Expansion of Services

Regional meetings of the IRL have been held throughout the country and are now held in Los Angeles, Boston, and the Kansas City area.

In 1987, a summer program of theology and spirituality for religious superiors was started, and in 1988, another summer program, for novice masters and formation directors, was begun. Today, the summer schools have been expanded to become the Vita Consecrata Institute, held for priests, men and women religious and consecrated persons each summer at a convenient location.


The IRL Logo

The Flaming Heart is a symbol of the loving Heart of Christ Who came to "cast fire upon the earth," and the Heart of Mary, enshrined in the Heart of her Son. The flames give expression to the consuming love that consecrated men and women have for the Lord Jesus Christ and all His people.  The rays beautifully reflect the light of Christ traveling to the four corners of the earth through the prayers, works, joys and sufferings of religious men and women throughout the ages unto eternity.

The Dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, to Whom each consecrated man or woman is espoused and from Whom all receive supernatural assistance.


The IRL Motto

The IRL motto, Pro Christo et Ecclesia per Mariam, means "For Christ and the Church through Mary."




  • Read the Current May/June 2019 Issue of Religious Life Magazine!

  • Get your FREE eBook "Vocational Discernment Rosary" today!

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Vocation Blog


  • 2020 National Meeting

    The 2020 National Meeting with be held on Divine Mercy Weekend April 17-19 Please make plans to join us! The

    Read More
  • Regional Meetings

    Regional Meetings are held throughout the year. The schedule of speakers is being finalized. Boston Regional Meeting - will be held

    Read More
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