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?

Related: Was the first Christian community a model for Religious Orders?

  • Downvoter please explain your downvote
    – Luke Hill
    Jan 27 at 17:31
  • This question is really too broad to live, and way to broad to have such a short accepted answer. I think what you really mean to ask is what is the origin of the idea of religious orders. Explaining how St. Francis and St. Dominic and St. Benedict and a hundred other founders of religious orders came to be would fill several volumes. I'm reasonable certain that the "idea" started with in Egypt with the desert fathers like St. Anthony, if you've never heard of him this might be fodder for an interesting tangential question.
    – Peter Turner
    Feb 1 at 22:19

1 Answer 1


Strictly speaking, a religious order is a Church-approved congregation vowing poverty, chastity, and obedience that follows one of the four approved religious rules:

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.

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