February 2, 2012: 16th World Day for Consecrated Life

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Each year since 1997, on February 2, the liturgical feast of the Presentation of the Lord, the Church invites us to celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life. The purpose of the day is to help the entire Church to esteem ever more greatly the witness of those persons who have chosen to follow Christ by means of the practice of the evangelical counsels.  The World Day for Consecrated Life was established by the Blessed John Paul II. In his Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata, he referred to the consecrated life as constituting “‘a closer imitation and an abiding re-enactment in the Church’ of the way of life which Jesus, the supreme Consecrated One and missionary of the Father for the sake of his Kingdom, embraced and proposed to his disciples” (no. 22).

“Consecrated life” refers to the status of men and women whom the Church recognizes as having consecrated their lives as members of a religious institute, a society of apostolic life, or a secular institute, as well as individual women whom a Bishop has solemnly recognized as living the life of virginity. Religious institutes and secular institutes involve a profession of the evangelical counsels. Societies of apostolic life do not involve the taking of religious vows but living a common life in pursuit of the apostolic purpose proper to each society.

Based on the latest statistics of the Canadian Religious Conference, there are more than 200 religious institutes and societies of apostolic life in Canada, with a total number of 19,235 women and men as members, while 350 women in Canada are members of women’s secular institutes.  Those in consecrated life are involved in many of the pastoral services of the Church, including parishes, schools and colleges, health institutions, social services for the poor, and the missions, in addition to those whose lives are dedicated in a special way to prayer and contemplation. 

Canadian Religious Conference   

Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life