Vita communis

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As Vita communis (lat. For "common life") refers to the common life of religious , clerics or other forms of consecrated life . There are differences with regard to the binding nature of the living, dining and property community.

From the life forms of early Christianity , the hermitism and the consecrated virgins , the first communities developed early on, whose way of life was laid down in the later order rules for the monastic life. The best-known example of this is probably the Rule of Benedict from the year 529. At the beginning of the 13th century, a group of hermits on Mount Carmel asked Albert , the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem , to give them a rule. They lived in a monastery complex in which everyone in a cell devoted himself to prayer and work.

The consecrated virgins, for whom it was still customary in apostolic times to live with their families or in clauses that were arranged around a church, over time came together to form monastic communities that were protected by a papal cloister and under a superior lived.

Beguines lived in the Netherlands in a communal way of life from the 12th century . They did not take religious vows and did not live in closed monasteries, but led a spiritual and celibate life in so-called beguinages or houses.

When the first communities were founded, which later became sister congregations , such as the Cooperative of the Daughters of Christian Love of St. Vincent von Paul , the founders chose the Vita communis way of life as an ideal, but originally not as religious women in order not to be bound by the regulations of the papal cloister for the nuns , as the women went out to care for the sick and the elderly. Communities like the Little Brothers and the Little Sisters of Jesus , based on the hermit model of Brother Charles of Jesus , founded small communities in the period after the Second World War, in which two or three members with each other and in the midst of people, mostly in a rental apartment, live. The same often applies to members of secular institutes .

The decree Presbyterorum ordinis - on the service and life of priests of the Second Vatican Council expressly recommends that diocesan priests encourage various forms of communal life.

See also


  • Marcelle Bernstein: Nuns - Life in Two Worlds , Kindler Verlag, 1982.
  • Jerome Bertram: Vita communis - the Common Life of the Secular Clergy , Gracewing Publishing, 2009.

Individual evidence

  1. a b Cf. WULF, Friedrich: Lexicon for Theology and Church. Volume 10, 2nd edition. Freiburg im Breisgau 1965, article: Vita communis, p. 818.
  2. Decree Presbyterorim Ordinis - on the service and life of priests, II, 7f.