Office for Consecrated Life


 Jubilee Celebration

Sunday, September 19th, 2021

Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul

11:00 a.m. Mass of Thanksgiving

With gratitude to Almighty God for the years of

Dedicated and faithful service to the Church

By our Religious Priests, Brothers and Sisters,

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Wishes to invite you to join in

Celebration of their

Jubilee Year.

The Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul

18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Parking available next to Cathedral


All are Welcome



Welcome Fall in all your brilliance!

The Reason Why Americans Refer to Autumn as Fall | Mental Floss

O Lord, you mark the journey of life with change.

Once again we witness your creation moving from one season to the other.

Change is your instrument of growth that brings us to a deeper relationship with you.

May your Word be the lantern that guides the roads of change in our lives.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Year of Saint Joseph | Archdiocese of Newark

Year of Saint Joseph

8 December 2020 to 8 December 2021


Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,
and defend us from every evil.  Amen.

Plenary Indulgences for the Year of St. Joseph

All this year until Dec. 8, 2021, the decree from the Apostolic Penitentiary, which is in charge of indulgences, has established that the faithful “following his example can daily strengthen their life of faith in the full fulfillment of God’s will.” They will have “the opportunity to commit themselves, with prayers and good works, to obtain with the help of St. Joseph, head of the heavenly Family of Nazareth, comfort and relief from the serious human and social tribulations that today afflict the contemporary world.”

Back 150 years ago when Pius IX also saw turmoil aplenty, causing him to then declare St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church.

What are these indulgences the Apostolic Penitentiary is bestowing in this Year of St. Joseph per the Holy Father’s decree to “benefit the perfect achievement of the intended purpose?”

We can gain a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions — sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father, “with a soul detached from any sin” if we participate in the Year of St. Joseph in several specific ways that the Apostolic Penitentiary has established for us to gain the plenary indulgence.

As long as we’re in the state of grace one sacramental confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and separate prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father are required for each plenary indulgence. According to the most recent Church guidelines on the subject, “it is sufficient that these sacred rites and prayers be carried out within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act.” Yet “it is, however, fitting that Communion be received and the prayer for the intention of the Holy Father be said on the same day the work is performed.”

Here are the many opportunities and ways throughout this Year of St. Joseph, from now until Dec. 8, 2021, for us to gain the plenary indulgence over and over. Fulfilling the above conditions along with performing one of the particular works determined by the Penitentiary office can be done daily. One plenary indulgence per day. Remember, the only living person we can apply it to is our self. And we can apply it to any soul in purgatory. Think how many souls you get help — from relatives to unknowns by asking St. Joseph and Mary to pick out the souls for you.

Saint Joseph is widely known for being husband to the Virgin Mary and foster father to Jesus, the Son of God. Although it is believed that he died while Jesus was young, he played an extremely important role in taking care of Him and Mary during His early years. Saint Joseph is easy to look up to in times of doubt and fear. He showed his true character in protecting and taking care of Mary when she was pregnant, even before he knew that the child she was pregnant with was the Son of God. This protection continued on as he listened to the angel and fled everything he knew and loved to take Mary to Bethlehem to find safety before she gave birth. Joseph laid down his life for God and for a son who was not biologically his own, showing us all what a true life of trust and discipleship looks like. 

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Pope Francis and the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life announced that the World Meeting of Families, that had been scheduled in June of 2021, will be held in June 2022 in Rome and will focus on the theme “Family Love: A Vocation and a Path to Holiness.” Read the article, here. As this World Meeting of Families (WMOF) had been scheduled to fall on the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical Amoris Laetitia, the meeting will reflect on the spirituality of the family in light of the call to holiness expressed in Gaudete et Exsultate.

Family Love: Vocation and Path to Holiness

Heavenly Father,

We come before You to praise You

and to thank You for the great gift of the family.

We pray to You for all families

consecrated by the Sacrament of Matrimony.

May they rediscover each day

the grace they have received,

and as small domestic Churches,

may they know how to witness to Your presence

and to the love with which Christ loves the Church.

We pray to You for all families faced with difficulty and suffering

caused by illness or circumstances of which only You know.

Sustain them and make them aware

of the path to holiness upon which You call them,

so that they might experience Your infinite mercy

and find new ways to grow in love.

We pray to You for children and young people:

may they encounter You and respond joyfully

to the vocation You have in mind for them;

We pray for parents and grandparents: may they be aware

that they are signs of the fatherhood and motherhood of God

in caring for the children who, in body and spirit, You entrust to them;

and for the experience of fraternity

that the family can give to the world

Lord, grant that each family

might live their specific vocation to holiness in the Church

as a call to become missionary disciples,

in the service of life and peace,

in communion with our priests, religious,

and all vocations in the Church.

Bless the World Meeting of Families.


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What is Consecrated Life?

Image result for pictures of catholic sisters

Image result for pictures of catholic sisters



Apostolic religious life is a form of consecrated life within the Church wherein the members profess vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience within a congregation or community approved by the Church. Shared community life is an integral part of this form of consecrated life. In professing vows and living within community, the members individually and as a whole witness to a life of communion with Christ, the Church, and one another.

Apostolic religious congregations develop their own traditions based on the original vision of their founders or foundresses, while continuing to focus their ministries to meet the needs of the Church today. While every religious congregation is unique, together they form a rich source of inspiration for the entire Church.

In his Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata, Pope John Paul II described the apostolic religious communities as “a splendid and varied testimony, reflecting the multiplicity of gifts bestowed by God on founders and foundresses who, in openness to the working of the Holy Spirit, successfully interpreted the signs of the times and responded wisely to new needs. Following in their footsteps, many other people have sought by word and deed to embody the Gospel in their own lives, bringing anew to their own times the living presence of Jesus, the Consecrated One par excellence, the One sent by the Father. In every age consecrated men and women must continue to be images of Christ the Lord, fostering through prayer a profound communion of mind with him (cf. Phil 2:5-11), so that their whole lives may be penetrated by an apostolic spirit and their apostolic work with contemplation.”

Cloister Life


“Your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

-Colossians 3:3

“Heaven and Earth in Little Space”

The mystery of the contemplative life is woven tightly with the mystery of the Incarnation. This mystery finds an especially vivid expression in the life of a cloistered nun, when a woman chooses to spend her whole life within the walls of a monastery, hidden from the world for the sake of intimacy with God. The cloister is a shocking thing, and sometimes non-Christians (and Christians!) are scandalized by it. But even more shocking is the idea that an infinite God chose to take on a finite human nature, to confine Himself within the limits of the created world, which, to Him, must have seemed far, far smaller than the bounds of a cloistered monastery!

Papal Cloister

Papal cloister is the strictest form of enclosure, in which a nun does not leave the boundaries of the monastery except for serious reasons. The norms defining papal enclosure are given by Rome. The most recent instruction on papal cloister is the 2018 document Cor Orans, which implements what Pope Francis outlined in his 2016 Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei Quaerere. Cor Orans states: “The law of papal cloister extends to the dwelling and to all the interior and exterior spaces of the monastery reserved exclusively for the nuns in which the presence of strangers can be admitted only in case of necessity. It must be a space of silence and recollection, facilitated by the absence of external works, where the permanent search for the face of God can develop more easily, according to the Institute’s charism.”

Some of the orders which traditionally practice papal cloister are: Carmelite NunsPoor ClaresDominican NunsVisitandinesHoly Spirit Adoration Sisters, and Handmaids of the Precious Blood.

Constitutional Cloister

Constitutional cloister is a form of cloister defined by the norms in the Rule and Constitutions of the individual order. It is generally less strict than papal cloister. This type of cloister is practiced if the community’s charism joins to their life of contemplation some kind of apostolic or charitable work. They are still cloistered nuns, but they may have an apostolate attached to the monastery–such as a retreat house–which would be impossible to carry out if they practiced papal enclosure. Cor Orans says of constitutional cloister: “It must be a space of silence and recollection, where the permanent search for the face of God can develop, according to the charism of the Institute, in consideration of the works of apostolate or charity exercised by the nuns” (n. 205).

Some of the religious orders which traditionally practice constitutional enclosure are: Passionist NunsSisters Adorers of the Precious Blood, and Norbertine Canonesses.

Monastic Cloister

Monastic Cloister is “a special expression of the constitutional cloister” (Cor Orans n. 211), one of the most ancient forms of contemplative lifeMonastic cloister refers to forms of contemplative life which have always had a charism of hospitality, such as those stemming from the Benedictine tradition. This means guests may be invited to stay at the monastery, and the nuns interact with them much more freely than nuns who practice papal cloister. “For monasteries of contemplative nuns, the monastic cloister, while retaining the character of a more rigorous discipline than the common one, makes it possible to associate the primary function of divine worship with wider forms of reception and hospitality” (Cor Orans n. 210).

Some of the religious orders who traditionally profess monastic cloister are: Benedictine NunsCistercian/Trappistine NunsSisters of Mary Morning Star.


The three evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, and obedience are the vows that are professed by members of religious congregations. Together, they form the basis for living a life of radical consecration to God for the good of the Church. The vow of chastity frees the sister to give herself in love totally to Christ and His Body and is marked by aliveness and a spirit of joy. The vow of poverty frees the sister to dispossess her possessions in order to grow into a deeper spirit of self-giving. In living the vow, the sister depends on the community for her needs as all things are held in common. The vow of obedience frees the sister to do the will of God as expressed by her superiors who seek always what is best for the sister and for the community as a whole.

Pope John Paul II in Vita Consecrata describes the evangelical counsels in light of the Trinity:

“The chastity of celibates and virgins, as a manifestation of dedication to God with an undivided heart (cf. 1 Cor 7:32-34), is a reflection of the infinite love which links the three Divine Persons in the mysterious depths of the life of the Trinity, the love to which the Incarnate Word bears witness even to the point of giving his life, the love ‘poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit’ (Rom 5:5), which evokes a response of total love for God and the brethren.

Poverty proclaims that God is man’s only real treasure. When poverty is lived according to the example of Christ who, ‘though he was rich … became poor’ (2 Cor 8:9), it becomes an expression of that total gift of self which the three Divine Persons make to one another. This gift overflows into creation and is fully revealed in the Incarnation of the Word and in his redemptive death.

Obedience, practiced in imitation of Christ, whose food was to do the Father’s will (cf. Jn 4:34), shows the liberating beauty of a dependence which is not servile but filial, marked by a deep sense of responsibility and animated by mutual trust, which is a reflection in history of the loving harmony between the three Divine Persons” (par 21).


Each religious congregation is blessed by a unique gift of the Holy Spirit called a “charism,” which is an expression of the way the congregation is called to follow Christ. A religious community’s charism is expressed in its way of serving the Church in mission, its particular way of living community life and its distinct “culture.” A myriad of charisms forms a fabric of ministries within the Church to meet multitudinous needs.


Within the Catholic Church there is a variety of spiritualities stemming from spiritual leaders of the past. Dominican, Franciscan, and Marian spiritualities are three of the many that are known within the Church. These specific spiritualities refer to systems of values, ideals, and a unified manner of life passed down through the ages from St. Dominic, St. Francis, and St. Theresa.  Each spirituality focuses on specific virtues or spiritual priorities, which characterize the way of life of those living within the legacy of the spiritual leader.

The spirituality of a religious congregation makes present in a lived and vibrant way the spiritual values passed on to each generation from the original source. There are numerous spiritual approaches to living the truths of the Catholic Church and the vows of religious life.  Devotions, ways of prayer, priorities of mission, and lived expressions in daily life are manifestations of the spirituality embraced by a religious community.

Eremetic LifeWithout always professing the three evangelical counsels publicly, hermits “devote their life to the praise of God and salvation of the world through a stricter separation from the world, the silence of solitude and assiduous prayer and penance.”

Consecrated VirginsFrom apostolic times Christian virgins, called by the Lord to cling only to him with greater freedom of heart, body, and spirit, have decided with the Church’s approval to live in the respective states of virginity “for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven.”

What is the United States Association of Consecrated Virgins?

The United States Association of Consecrated Virgins (USACV) is a voluntary association for women in the United States who have received the Consecration of Virgins for women living in the world, according to the pertinent provisions of Canon Law. The Association is formed in accord with Canon 604.2, “Virgins can be associated together to fulfill their pledge more faithfully and to assist each other to serve the Church in a way that befits their state.”

The objectives of the association:

The USACV has as its primary purpose to foster communication, solidarity, and support among United States consecrated virgins. The USACV and International Resource Center for the Ordo Virginum (IRC) operate as one organization to offer educational materials and programs of education about the vocation, as well as to encourage study and growth of understanding of the vocation of consecrated virginity lived in the world.

Information Packet on the Vocation of Consecrated Virginity

Click here to download the full 2011 Information Packet

   The United States Association of Consecrated Virgins has prepared an Information Packet to facilitate the discernment process for the vocation to consecrated virginity for women living in the world.  The Information Packet was revised in May 2021 and is 416 pages in length.  Access a pdf of the 2011 version of the Information Packet above or order a bound, print copy of the 2021 version from the USACV through the online store or by completing and mailing the order form.


Secular Institutes–“A secular institute is an institute of consecrated life in which the Christian faithful living in the world strive for the perfection of charity and work for the sanctification of the world especially from within.” 

Societies of Apostolic Life–Alongside the different forms of consecrated life are “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.

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St. Joseph: Man of Trust
Pope John Paul II, March 19, 1980

Unity of the Family and Respect for Life
Pope John Paul II, March 19, 1981

St. Joseph, a Witness to Fulfillment of the Promise
Pope John Paul II, March 19, 1982

St. Joseph the Worker, Man of Faith and Prayer
Pope John Paul II, March 19, 1983

The Family Is a Community of Love, Life and Prayer
Pope John Paul II, March 19, 1987

The Pope Goes on ‘Spiritual Pilgrimage’ to the Family
Pope John Paul II, March 19, 1992

St. Joseph Continues in His Role as Protector of the Body of Christ
Pope John Paul II, March 19, 1993

Mary and Joseph Lived Gift of Virginity
Pope John Paul II, August 21, 1996

St. Joseph, Image of God’s Fatherly Love
Pope John Paul II, March 21, 1999

Holy Family Teaches Us What Is Essential
Pope John Paul II, March 19, 2000

Love And Serve The Church Like St Joseph
Pope John Paul II, March 19, 2001

Homily on the Solemnity of St. Joseph
Pope John Paul II, March 19, 2001

St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church
Pope John Paul II, March 26, 2003

Further Discussions on St. Joseph

John XXIII: Pope of Saint Joseph
Blaine Burkey, O.F.M. The American Ecclesiastical Review – July 1963

Finding St. Joseph
Sandra Miesel. History and devotions of St. Joseph

St. Joseph: A Theological Introduction
Michael D. Griffin, O.C.D. This study of St. Joseph covers his place in Sacred Scripture, the writings of theologians and devotion to him as proposed by the Church.

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Events for 2021-2022

Sunday, September 19, 2021

  •     Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez, Celebrant    
  •     Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul

Saturday, October 9, 2021

The Beauty of Holiness!
A Women’s Day of Retreat
“Come, See & Listen! “
with the
Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, Michigan
Saturday, October 9th, 2021: from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
928 Bowman Avenue
Wynnewood, PA 19096
Telephone: (610) 667-1375
Includes Mass, lunch and presentations by the Sisters
Please RSVP by Wednesday, October 6th to [email protected]

Saturday, December 11, 2021

  • Advent Day of Retreat
  • Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul/Drexel Hall
  • Speaker: Rev. Msgr. John M. Savinski, (former Pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Morton).
  • Theme: Saint Joseph in Advent

Saturday, March 26, 2022

  • Lenten Day of Retreat
  • Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul/Drexel Hall
  • Speaker: Jen Settle, Consecrated Virgin

Saturday, December 10, 2022

  • Advent Day of Retreat
  • Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul/Drexel Hall
  • Speaker: TBA

Details will follow for each retreat and celebration as we near the dates



Sister Gabrielle Mary Braccio, RSM
Delegate for Consecrated Life
222 North 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1299
10th Floor Room 1029

Phone: 215-587-3795
Fax: 215-587-3790
Email: [email protected]

To assist those who feel called to the consecrated life, the Office for Consecrated Life lists those Congregations who serve in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Please see listing below.

Congregations of Women