A secular institute is a form of consecrated life in the Church that permits men and women to give their lives to God answering a vocational calling. This vocation is recognized in the Catholic Church since 1947.
Three conditions are necessary for a secular institute to exist:
Apostolate is the work every Christian must realize to establish the Kingdom of God. Having encountered the love of Jesus Christ, every baptized person wishes that everyone could experience conversion that takes hold of one’s whole life. For a secular institute member, this conscience is even greater and becomes life’s raison d’être.
Consecration is the act through which a secular institute member makes the total giving of oneself to the Lord in view of the mission. By answering a personal calling from the Lord, through the means of consecration, the member choses the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience as the most excellent way to live out his gift to God. Every baptized person is called to live out the evangelical counsels since the Gospel is for everyone. Nevertheless, some persons decide to take a more definite step and ask the Church to recognize this gift.
Secularity is the fact of living in the world, with the world, to reveal God present. By exercising one’s profession, accepting family, professional, civic and social responsibilities, a secular institute member discovers the world as a mission field.
This novelty in the Church gives a chance to laypersons to live out the Gospel’s radicalness in the world, while exercising their profession and being attentive to respond to apostolic opportunities that daily life brings.
In the midst of the world that advances oftentimes without reference to God, secular institute members want to unite their profound consecration to God and their presence to the world. They commit themselves to chastity in a celibate lifestyle; to a life of poverty that wants to be a path to share with the poor and an invitation to offer their time, friendship and professionalism to those most in need; to a life of obedience that renders them more attentive to the calls of the Spirit in life’s different moments.
This way, living in the world, with the world, for the world, transforming it from the inside as leaven, salt and light, men and women members of secular institutes accept with generosity the mission Christ confided to them: to spread the Gospel to the four corners of the earth.