I am regularly cataloguing publications written by (or about) sisters and priests. I am unfamiliar with all of the different Catholic orders. Is there an online list or reference that identifies what the initials after their names stand for?

For example:
S.J. = Society of Jesus
O.S.U = Ursuline Sisters of the Roman Union

  • OSB = the Benedictines! Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 15:55

1 Answer 1


Here is a partial list of orders with members who are/were bishops. That is this list contains only males religious societies.

Here is another 800 abbreviations including women religious.

Annuario Pontificio lists all the existing approved and recognized Catholic religious orders. You can see the 2011 list here.

That should help you to some extent. But please note that it is nearly impossible to list all religious organizations that exists now and has existed before. Religious organizations in their early stages can be limited to only certain diocese to function under the jurisdiction of a diocesan bishop.

  • hmm... I tried to search for a few orders, but this list only found 1 out of 3 :( For example, it didn't find the O.S.U. mentioned in the question. Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 16:12
  • nuts. Thanks for updating your answer, but I'm still not finding orders that I am familiar with amidst these links. For example, S.P. = Sisters of Providence. Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 17:03
  • 1
    The second link has OSU in; and SP. The first is only for orders with male members. Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 17:04

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .