From the beginning of the Church, there have been men and women who have chosen to live in a radical witness to Christ by imitating him as closely as possible in his poverty, chastity, and obedience. In the course of the centuries, this commitment became more and more visible through the establishment of monasteries, religious orders and congregations, and other types of institutes. Men and women professed publicly evangelical “counsels” (vows) of poverty, chastity, and obedience and committed themselves to stability of life within communities.
Blessed Junipero Serra was a Franciscan, the member of an order that goes back to St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226). That is one form of consecrated life among the many that have developed in the course of the Church’s history. They enrich the Church not only by the radicalness of their embrace of the evangelical counsels, but also by the many apostolates (e.g., education and health care) by which they follow Christ in his compassion and care for others.
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