The Differences Between Catholic Religious Orders

In this episode of The Catholic Talk Show, the guys discuss the different Catholic religious orders, like the Dominicans, Franciscans, Jesuits, and more, and what the differences between them are.

Episode 129:
In this episode, we will discuss:
• What are the 4 kinds of Religious Orders?
• What are the differences between them?
• Why do they all wear different habits?
• What is a Charism?
• how many religious orders are there?
• What religious order fits your spirituality?
• and much more

Show Notes:

• List of Catholic Religious Orders & Congregations:

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16 comments on The Differences Between Catholic Religious Orders

  1. Andrea says:

    Hi guys,
    Clever podcast idea. (I like to know more about their differences besides their robes.) A diocesan priest is an order that goes back to Jesus according to Fr. Rich. He answers to his Bishop. Religious orders obey their superior. There are hundreds of orders. Good question Ryan Scheel as to WHY we have different orders. The first orders were the Augustinians and the Benedictines. Some orders live in total silence within their communities and pray all day.

    I personally have an intellectual pursuit of God and Jesus in my journey. Others, like Ryan Dellacrosse, are contemplatives. Perhaps I use both approaches. I learned the following:

    Monastic monks recite the Divine Office. Monasticism goes back to Benedictines. Not all Franciscans are religious orders some are congregations. The Jesuits take a number of vows. There are simple vows and solemn vows. Only the Pope can release someone in a religious order from a solemn vow. Some can own property. Others can’t. Congregations take simple vows. Orders take solemn vows. As far as diocesan priests are concerned they don’t take a vow of poverty. Fr. Rich can technically become rich. (Write a tell all book about what goes on behind the scenes with the Catholic Talk Show! LOL!) Or, we could ask Howard.

    Franciscans wear brown. Franciscans serve the poor and take a vow of poverty. They live the gospel like St. Francis and Pope Francis. I can feel the charism of Pope Francis. Fr. Rich would love to do itinerant preaching, but he very much is where he is needed.

    Carmelites were formed by a group of monks who lived on Mt. Carmel. St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila were Carmelites. I say St. Teresa’s prayer daily.

    Pope Innocent IV formed a more perfect union as he herded the Order of Hermits into the St. Augustine order. Many Jesuits were martyred because they are a missionary order on the front lines, and this religious slaughter is still happening in today’s world.

    I wish I could see everyone the way Jesus views us or even the order of the Missionaries of Charity view God’s people, all of God’s people.

    The inquisition has shown us that Fr. Rich has always been attracted to the Franciscan order, but feels more affinity toward the Jesuits. He thinks RD definitely would be a Franciscan and RS would be a Trappist or an Augustinian.

    I am going to check out the links regarding Dominican, Franciscan, and the Jesuits. As far as my own discernment and off the top of my head I think Jesuits for except for the martyrdom. I like the fact that they are Counter-Reformation warriors.

    I have been divesting myself of a lot of extra things in my life. (I moved last month and downsized for the 4th time in the past 9 years.) Perhaps I can eventually take a vow of poverty like the Franciscans. LOL! I cannot believe how much stuff we accumulate in our lives. I can only imagine the Dellacrosse household of nine! Nine people and each with their own stuff! YIPES!

    I am not an orator so preaching like the Dominicans do is out for me, although I can express myself in words as far as writing them down. When I was younger I was good at oration but not really now.

    This podcast makes me want to learn more about these orders and congregations. Thanks for the info and the insight!

    Take care,

    1. Patrick says:

      Hey Andrea, monasticism goes further back than the Benedictines! It goes all the way back to the desert fathers and St John the Baptist! It is one thing the Orthodox Church (out sister church) is better at communicating than we are.

      1. Andrea says:

        Good point Patrick and you are right! Wishing you a good Lenten Season and take care.

  2. Matthew J Martinez says:

    Hey guys. I absolutely love y’alls show and the work of evangelization that y’all do through it. That being said, I do have one small beef. Ryan said St. Brother Andre was Franciscan. He was actually a Brother in The Congregation of Holy Cross. I attended Holy Cross High School in San Antonio, and even discerned joining the Congregation to become a priest. I remember praying at school and even after for his Canonization so this one is close to me. Just kidding about the beef part. Lol. Just thought I’d share that info. Love you guys and keep up the great work. Santa Crux, Spes Unica!

    1. Matthew J Martinez says:

      Ave Crux, Spes Unica!

  3. Jessica Thomas says:

    I don’t get the joke at the end… lol

    1. Patrick says:

      OP is how the Dominican’s sign their name

  4. Patrick says:

    I’m a teamster and was waiting to hear back from a dispatcher job interview when this came out. Thank you for reminding me that my charism is important, I’d discerned being a Carthusian before finding my fiancé and this episode reminds me how important that is! I will be turning down the busy office job (if it’s offered) and go into a more secluded driving job so I can have my quiet hermit time at work, hopefully to come home to the wife and kids renewed and ready to live out my new marriage vocation!
    God Bless!

  5. I enjoy listening to you guys. What fun. For a long time I thought I had a call to the priesthood, but I think I would be a way better priest now that I have been married as long as I have. The orders that appeal to me are the Franciscans & the Jesuits.

  6. Jennifer says:


    Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart – continue God’s mission by immersing themselves in the midst of life to empower others and bring hope
    Founder St Mary MacKillop

  7. Mary Cink says:

    Where do I find the link with the charts? Thanks

  8. Joseph-Bernard Snyder, OFH says:

    Gentlemen, Great program. Thank you. However, two corrections. De La Cross, Saint Andre Bassett is not a Franciscan he was a member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross.
    Fr. Rich, Just an fyi “irregardless” is not a word.

  9. Rob says:

    Don’t forget about the Salesians!

    1. Rico says:

      Thanks very much for tackling this topic! Most Catholics are taught little to nothing about the religious orders, which I think is unfortunate.
      I thought the explanation of the difference between a diocesan priest and a member of a religious order was excellent, as was the part at the end where you stated your impressions of several orders in just a few words.
      By way of constructive criticism, I think the podcast lost its way at some point. It didn’t seem as though you had done your homework, For example, someone said Mystic Monk coffee was made by Trappists (not true) and you couldn’t name the mendicant orders until you found a list of them. Someone said the Cistercians were a mendicant order if I remember correctly (they are actually monastics who grew out of the Benedictines).
      You also seemed to kind of threw up your hands at the end and say there were too many orders to talk about.

      I think you needed to approach this topic the way a teacher would: Break it down into manageable pieces. So you could say there are 1) monastic orders, define that and give maybe 3-4 examples, then 2) mendicant orders (again define and give 3-4 examples), etc. For communicating a complex topic, you need to be disciplined and organized, while avoiding turning it into a dull lecture. Admittedly a challenging task.
      No one can possibly learn about hundreds of orders and remember it all, but if a listener learns about the major categories of orders, whenever someone refers to an order, the person can ask which category the order falls into and that will give them a rough idea of what the order is all about. Break it down into chunks!
      The episode started doing that but went off the rails at some point. Again, not trying to criticize but rather to offer constructive advice if you try to address a similarity complex topic in future. Good luck to you!

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