There are religious orders in the Catholic faith (though they may exist elsewhere) such as the Dominicans, the Franciscans, and the Benedictines. What lead to the founding of groups like these? What is the history of them within the Church and what role have they played throughout Church history?
Strictly speaking, a religious order is a Church-approved congregation vowing poverty, chastity, and obedience that follows one of the four approved religious rules:
- Rule of St. Basil (356 AD)
- Rule of St. Benedict (530 AD)
- Rule of St. Augustine (423 AD)
- Rule of St. Francis of Assisi (1223 AD)
The Church has guaranteed that anyone abiding by these rules will be able to save his soul.
The Dominican Order (approved 1216) follows the Rule of St. Augustine.
See: La vida religiosa (Religious Life) by Antonio Royo Marín, O.P.