The enduring value of the consecrated life

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley

The 2000-year history of the Church is a story of reforms and renewals associated with men and women whom the Lord raised up at precisely the right moment. These holy witnesses have helped the Church refocus on some aspect of the Gospel that perhaps had been in eclipse. Many of these individuals were founders and foundresses of new forms of consecrated life.

When Rome and its ancient civilization were crumbling before the advance of barbarian invasions, the Lord raised up Saint Benedict of Nursia. Saint Benedict gathered a family of brothers and established a monastic rule of life based on a simple rhythm of work and prayer. The common life and the cloister were hallmarks of this renewal. Benedictine life became the basis for the flourishing of a new Christian culture throughout Western Europe.