Companion

THE COMPANIONS OF THE ECUMENICAL ORDER OF CHARITY

WHO WE ARE
The Order of Charity is a truly ecumenical, non-clerical, religious order of men and women who are married, single, celibate or in committed relationships. Members come from a wide variety of backgrounds, denominations, orientations, lifestyles, and employment. Membership is open to all who heed the Call of Christ, whether following the Jesus of history, the Christ of faith, or the Cosmic Christ. We seek to be inclusive of all who desire to walk the spiritual journey of religious life with us. Our goal is to accommodate, rather than exclude. Our Rule of Life, The Founding Document, is the Community's binding element and best captures our unique charisms of ecumenism, non-violence, and universal citizenship. The Founding Document is a free standing instrument, open to change, which aids our spiritual renewal, consecration, and pilgrimage into an ever-increasing spiritual horizon. We have no other by-laws, customary, or constitutions for the Order.

By the five vows of Simplicity of Life, Purity of Heart, Obedience, Non-Violence, and Universal Citizenship, we consecrate our personal lives and energies to the task of becoming centers of value radiation in society. Our special mission is to bring others to the realization of the Light which shines within each person and unifies all creation.

 
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OUR MISSION
The emblem of our Order, which each Companion wears, is the figure of a person with arms and face raised to heaven, symbolizing the hunger of the human heart for the presence of God. Through the Works of Charity, we assist people to be reunited here on earth with God, who is the origin of all. Our goal is universal redemption: the restoration of all people to the image of God. Everything we do, we do for the sake of the Kingdom.

ECUMENICAL IN LIFESTYLE
We respond to the all-inclusive call of Christ, Come to me all... (Matthew 11:28). The restoration of the wholeness of the body of Christ, which includes all people, is our goal. Although without denominational affiliation, our Order is in the Catholic (universal) tradition of religious communities over the centuries.

Each Companion is free to follow Christ within the denomination of his/her own choice. We are self-governed as a religious community with no ties to any institutional church. This frees us to be always on the cutting edge of the Gospel.

In essentials, unity.
In interpretation, liberty.

In all things, charity.

STRENGTHENED BY COMMUNITY
Christ is the foundation and center of our community. Our Founding Document, along with a spirit of love, an attitude of openness and mutual respect, is the unifying force of our Order. We believe that community transcends physical distances therefore, each Companion is free to live alone, with other Companions, or with non-Companions. Each House of the Order is free to develop its own rules, styles and customs.

GOVERNMENT: MUTUALITY OF MINISTRY
The Director General facilitates the smooth functioning of our Order. She is not the head of the body, but rather, the center of the circle. The Director General's authority is given by the Companions and the guidance of the Order is drawn from a common understanding of The Founding Document. The Director General has the prophetic function of challenging the Companions to live their religious commitment on the deepest level possible. Within the Ecumenical Order of Charity there are no superiors or inferiors, only friends.

The General Assembly, comprised of all professed Companions, meets every two years to discuss issues which guide the entire order. We unite ourselves by our common concerns and commitments and act collegially in our Community decisions. Harmony exists in our Order to the extent that each Companion takes an active interest in the well-being of all.

Love is the spirit of this Order
and service is its work.
And this is our way:
to live together in peace,
to seek truth in love,
and help one another in joy
--St. Basil the Great

OUR FOCUS: THE WORKS OF CHARITY
The love of Christ animates us and inspires us to be pastorally flexible and creative in our choice of ministries. Each Companion, through prayerful discernment, selects a ministry to perform in the name of Christ. The Works of Charity are our guide. By their practice, we strive to bring about a climate conducive to transforming life into an existence of peace, love, freedom and hope.

THE WORKS OF CHARITY
To Feed the hungry
To give drink to the thirsty
To clothe the naked
To nurse the sick
To visit those shut-off from the world
To work for freedom, justice and peace
To instruct the ignorant
To counsel the doubtful
To comfort the sorrowful
To forgive all injuries
To work for the reconciliation of persons with God
To bind up the wounds of the disenfranchised (Matthew 23:4, Isaiah 61:1)
To pray for all

Religious life is an adventure in faith,
incarnated within our daily situations.

If you would like additional information about the Ecumenical Order of Charity, please contact the Director of Vocations, Brother M. Guadalupe.