What are Societies of Apostolic Life?
If you feel called to the single life but do not feel called to be a Priest or a Brother, there are options to live a single committed life in ‘communities’ or ‘movements’ within the Church – either individually or in community. As per Canon Law, these are called “societies of men or women who live in common without vows” and fall under a collective group called the Societies of Apostolic Life (SAL).
As per the Catechism (CCC 930) “… societies of apostolic life whose members without religious vows pursue the particular apostolic purpose of their society, and lead a life as brothers or sisters in common according to a particular manner of life, strive for the perfection of charity through the observance of the constitutions. Among these, there are societies in which the members embrace the evangelical counsels’ according to their constitutions.”
As stated, the vows, conditions of life, charisms, ministry, etc., all vary depending on the community and its respective requirements. However, the members remain single, take some form of commitments/vows and seek to be ‘leaven’ in the world.
For more information on SAL and documents related to it, visit our Resources section.
Examples of Societies of Apostolic Life
A few examples are given below:
- Focolarini in Focolare (present in India)
- Numeraries in Opus Dei (present in India): Opus Dei is not really a Society for Apostolic Life. It is a ‘Personal Prelature‘ but for the purposes of this explanation, it is being included here.
- The Emmanuel Community
- Memores Domini in Communion & Liberation
- Regnum Christi
- Notre Dame de Vie
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