Consecrated life as related to family life: A Paschal mystery perspective

Anna Pranee Phokthavi, Fordham University


This dissertation is an historical and theological study. The decline in numbers of priestly and religious vocations in the western world causes parental reluctance to allow their children to join religious orders. Consecrated life is part of God's design. God's call remains true throughout the centuries. Families raise children and educate them to know how to listen to God's call and support them in responding respectfully. The events of today's world and the Second Vatican Council challenge consecrated persons to a new vision in order to make Jesus Christ visible in their lives. The purpose of the study is to reimage consecrated life and to reaffirm God's daily presence in the post-modern era. To reimage consecrated life in this study means to rediscover its identity in the call of the Lord, in following him, in unconditional love and service. To focus on God's call throughout history is to reaffirm the Spirit at work from the first century to the twenty-first century and forever. The study examines the first Christian community because Pope John Paul II has stated that consecrated life is as a sign of communion of earthly life. Jesus called those whom he wished in order to have them at his side and to teach them to live, according to his example, for the Father and for the mission which he had received from the Father (cf. Mk. 3:13–15).1 He thus inaugurated the new family which down the centuries would include all those ready to “do the will of God”(cf. Mk. 3:32–35). 2 After the Ascension, as a result of the gift of the Spirit, a fraternal community formed around the Apostles, gathered in the praise of God and in a concrete experience of communion (cf. Acts 2:42–47; 4:32–35). 3 The life of that community and, even more, the experience of complete sharing with Christ lived out by the Twelve, have always been the model to which the Church has looked whenever she has sought to return to her original fervor and to resume with fresh evangelical vigor her journey through history.4 The early Church community activities were developed by Maria Harris in Fashion Me A People, in the five forms of curriculum: koinonia, leiturgia, didache, kerygma, and diakonia. These five forms curricula are used in the study as the catechetical forms of fashioning children in families and for the renewal of consecrated life for the contemporary world. The study moves from a history of various forms of consecrated life to a consideration of how the family can religiously educate its members, especially children. Then, it considers the reimaging of consecration, communion, mission and “mission ad gentes.” Finally, renewal of consecrated life in its contemporary forms is proposed. To be consecrated is to surrender to Jesus and walk with him in his suffering, death and resurrection (paschal mystery) for the sake of the reign of God. This way focuses on Jesus Christ who is the center of both consecrated life and family life. 1Vita Consecrata, 41. 2Ibid. 3Ibis. 4Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree on the Appropriate Renewal of Religious Life Perfectae Caritatis, 15; Saint Augustine, Regula ad Servos Dei, 1.1: PL, 32, 1372, in Vita Consecrata, 41.

Subject Area

Religious education|Religion|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology|Religious history

Recommended Citation

Phokthavi, Anna Pranee, "Consecrated life as related to family life: A Paschal mystery perspective" (2005). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3164204.