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Secular Institutes — the vocations of the 21st century

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Blessed Pope Paul VI, who saw consecrated seculars as “the advance wing of the Church,” characterized members of secular institutes as “spiritual mountaineers.”

Members of secular institutes are “in the world and not of the world, but for the world.” They live in whatever providential circumstances God gives them, but they wholly consecrate their lives to God through the evangelical counsels of poverty, obedience, and chastity. They are the newest vocation in the Catholic Church, and many say they are the vocation of the new millennium.

Pope St. John Paul II said that secular institutes provide “evangelical yeast” to leaven all the dough of the world through the radical living out of the baptismal promises and so change the world from within by becoming “life-giving leaven.” The treasure of secular institutes is a new gift of the Spirit, combining consecration and secularity. The result is an apostolate of testimony, Christian commitment to society, and evangelization. The institute provides a genuine fraternity that, without being defined by a shared life, is a true communion.

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