St. Francis de Sales was passionate about the universal call to holiness, nearly 400 years before Vatican II.  While he had a great love for religious orders, even co-founding the Congregation of the Visitation with St. Jane de Chantal, he believed that the devout life could be lived in the world, outside the convent and monastery.

There are many devout, single Catholics today who are discerning their state in life vocation. Most will feel called to marriage. Others will answer the call to the priesthood or the religious life. Then there will be those few who try to follow the path to one of the above traditional vocations only to find a dead end…and a sense of confusion. What else is there? Does God not want me? Am I not good enough? What’s wrong with me? Don’t give up the search!

God also calls people to consecrated life in the world. Two forms of consecrated life in particular are specifically meant to be lived in the secular arena: Consecrated Virgins living in the world, and Secular Institutes.  They are largely unknown in the United States but flourish in other countries, particularly in Latin America and Europe. However, awareness of them is growing in this country.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) provides information about these and other forms of consecrated life at If you feel like you just don’t seem to fit into a traditional vocation in the church, don’t give up the search. God is calling you!


Kathy Tierney

DeSales Secular Insitute