What Are 5 of the Different Catholic Religious Orders?

Cross and sunset

It is estimated that a staggering 1.2 billion people identify as catholic across the globe. While that number has dwindled as secularism has spread, many hold their religious convictions close to this day.

Catholicism is a religion that is seen through the lens of its various orders. For the uninitiated, catholic religious orders are groups of the same faith that take different approaches to managing their relationships with God and expectations of themselves.

There are several religious orders that are worth being aware of within the catholic faith. In this post, our team shares five of the most noteworthy.

Keep reading to learn more!

1. The Franciscans

When you think of catholic religious orders, one of the first ones that tend to pop into learned people’s minds is the Franciscans. Franciscans are descendants of the famous St. Francis.

St. Francis’ tenants and his religious order are defined by their love for all creatures and deep respect for the poor. Today, the order has thousands of strict, practicing members, many of which live and worship in Europe.

2. The Carmelites

Carmelites hail for the mountains of Carmel. At this religious order’s inception, its members defined their faith by living in solitude so they could get closer to God via intense introspective thinking and prayer. They’re also known for exalting various Beatitudes which you can learn more about on this page.

Carmelites are among the most ancient of the catholic orders and have since moved away from their hermit roots by embracing community, acts of collective service, and friendship.

3. The Carthusians

If you’re looking for a religious order that’s strict in their discipline of worship, look no further than the Carthusians. This order started in a secluded, harsh area of the Alps and since then, has been forced to move regularly due to historical battles with the communities in which they existed.

Carthusians have stakes in France and England most prominently today.

4. Benedictines

As you might guess, Benedictines are followers of the teachings of the one and only St. Benedict. Like the Carmelites, Benedictines’ early foundations relied on a life of solitude. As a matter of fact, St. Benedict spent long stretches of his life secluded in a hole, eating food people passed down to him.

Today, a passion for education is a definitive value of the Benedictines and their order wields much power and respect in Europe.

5. Norbertines

Norbertines are known for their 5 pillars of faith. Those pillars include praise, penance, sacrament, celebration of their founder, and a regard for their souls.

This catholic religious orders pick is the 5th oldest in the world! It exists prominently in both Britain and Ireland.

Our Described Catholic Religious Orders Just Scratch the Surface

We’ve walked you through 5 popular catholic religious orders. If our brief descriptions of each have interested you, know that there are even more orders to explore!

Our recommendation, if you’re interested in taking the deep dive into all the orders that exist, is to talk to a local priest or, explore more of the traditional catholic religious orders content we have featured in our blog!