|Consecrated Life within Roman Catholicism|
Within the Roman Catholic Church, the Consecrated Life refers to the life lived by those who are consecrated virgins, recognized hermits, members of religious institutes, and members of secular institutes. A religious order is called an "Institute of Consecrated Life" - this is an organization of people who live to achieve a common purpose through a form of promised or vowed life to God. Some well known Relgious Orders include the Carthusian, Jesuite and Dominican Orders.
Religious Life is a way of Christian living that always includes common fraternal life and public religious profession of vows that are recognized in Roman Church Law. Those who have made their profession (vows) are not, however, part of the Church hierarchy, unless they are also ordained priests. They commit themselves, for the love of God, to observe as binding certain counsels from the Christian Gospel.
Canons 603 and 604 of the section on the Consecrated Life in the Code of Canon Law give official recognition also to Consecrated Hermits and Consecrated Virgins who are not members of religious institutes