National News

First Center in U.S. Dedicated to Studying Religious Life

CHICAGO (CNS) – The first center in the U.S. dedicated to the study of consecrated life opened Feb. 12 with a symposium on hope and the changing nature of religious life.

Precious Blood Father Robert Schreiter, Second Vatican Council professor of theology at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, said the school’s new Center for the Study of Consecrated Life is launching at the perfect time because religious institutions are in a period of massive realignment, with severe contraction in some parts of the world and rapid expansion in others.

Changes that can already be seen as consecrated life adapts to the new reality, he said, align with Pope Francis’ call for religious institutes to be “closer to people and their struggles in general and closer to the poor in particular.”

There are a handful of similar centers around the world, but Catholic Theological Union’s is the first in the U.S., officials said.

The union’s center will host on-campus and online courses, symposia and workshops for participants to explore and study consecrated life in all its forms. The center already has raised $1 million toward its planned $2.5 million endowment. Its website is