The consecrated life includes all men and women who vow or promise to consecrate their lives to God and to provide a unique public witness as members of religious communities, apostolic societies, secular institutes, and consecrated virgins.
One great tree, with many branches
917 "From the God-given seed of the counsels a wonderful and wide-spreading tree has grown up in the field of the Lord, branching out into various forms of the religious life lived in solitude or in community. Different religious families have come into existence in which spiritual resources are multiplied for the progress in holiness of their members and for the good of the entire Body of Christ."
918 From the very beginning of the Church there were men and women who set out to follow Christ with greater liberty, and to imitate him more closely, by practicing the evangelical counsels. They led lives dedicated to God, each in his own way. Many of them, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, became hermits or founded religious families. These the Church, by virtue of her authority, gladly accepted and approved.
- from Catechism of the Catholic Church
For more online information about exploring a religious vocation, please visit the Office of Vocations website or explore a complete list of the religious communities in the Archdiocese of Toronto.