The Holy Family Institute
About The Holy Family Institute
We are Catholic Christian couples and the widowed who are on a journey toward evangelical perfection in the World by drawing inspiration from the Holy Family of Nazareth, model, light and source of grace.
We propose, as a goal, the sanctification of marriage and family life, accepting the gift of the vows of married chastity, poverty, and obedience as a couple and being a witness to the Gospel in the environment we live and work in: family, workplace, church community and the secular society.
The "Holy Family" Institute, made up of Catholic spouses, is a Work of the Society of St. Paul and is aggregated to it.
"Secularity" is the condition of the members, in the sense that they aspire to evangelical perfection in the world according to their state and that they carry out the apostolate "as they work from within earthly realities".
Members, "moved by the Spirit",
in order to live more deeply the lifestyle of the Family of Nazareth;
in order to live with greater integrity the gift of conjugal life and so "sanctify the community of the Church and the world";
in order to carry out the apostolate more effectively and in every place,
commit themselves to seek evangelical perfection in marriage through the vows of conjugal chastity, poverty and obedience, regulating their lives on the lines of the Statute of the Holy Family Institute.
Catholic couples, in virtue of the sacrament of matrimony, through which they signify and share the mystery of unity and fruitful love which exists between Christ and the Church, should help each other reach the holiness of married life.
The condition of the members of the "Holy Family" Institute is "secular" in the sense that they strive for the perfection of charity in the world, while in a juridical sense they are aggregated to the Society of St. Paul and are an integral part of the Pauline Family.
(The Statute & Directory of the Holy Family Institute, No. 1.)
A Word About Our Vows
Vows in the Holy Family Institute must be understood properly. The vow of conjugal chastity does not mean celibacy in the case of the Holy Family Institute, but that the spouses seal their sacramental promise of fidelity to each other and to God with a special promise in the context of the Institute, so that their consecration reinforces their existing and primary vocation as husbands and wives.
Similarly, the vow of poverty does not mean that members cannot own goods necessary for regular family life, but that whatever they own and use are always put in the context of their family vocation and, as much as possible, support the goals of the Institute. The vow of poverty in the Holy Family Institute means a certain spiritual detachment from earthly goods and not the renunciation of owning and using them. Indeed, for family life, couples must be able to own and use various resources to adequately fulfill their vocation as parents.
The proper understanding of obedience is also important in our age of individualism and relativism. For Institute members, obedience means that through the guidance of their spiritual director, they put God first in their lives, in their daily choices and in their difficult life choices. It also means that they are responsible for each other and they walk their shared journey of salvation which requires that they are able to accept each other through greater love and grow together through sacrificial charity, always seeking the good of the other, more than that of self.
Blessed Fr. Alberione insisted that all Pauline Institutes add a fourth vow to the above three, the vow of fidelity to the Vicar of Christ, in order to ensure that members receive the full benefit of the uncompromised Truth and life-giving Grace that emanate from the heart of the Church which then compels and enables them to "put out into the deep" and, imitating the Blessed Mother, give the whole Christ, Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life to the World.
FOR THE INSTITUTES OF CONSECRATED LIFE
AND THE SOCIETIES OF APOSTOLIC LIFE
Prot. No. A. 77-1/81
The (now Blessed) Servant of God, Fr. James Alberione, moved by the desire to promote the spiritual good and sanctity of the Christian family, founded in 1963 the Institute called "Holy Family", for husbands and wives who wish to commit themselves to seeking evangelical perfection in marriage by means of the vows of conjugal chastity, poverty and obedience.
On June 19, 1982, the Holy See declared that the Institute was a Work proper to the Society of St. Paul and aggregated to it, and approved its Statute for a ten-year experimental period.
When the experimental period ended with positive results, the Superior General of the Society of St. Paul presented a new Statute of the abovementioned Institute to the Apostolic See, humbly asking that it be definitively approved.
This Congregation for the Institutes of consecrated life and the Societies of Apostolic life, having carefully examined the Statute presented, approves and confirms it with this Decree, with the alterations introduced by this same Congregation, in conformity with the official Italian-language copy conserved in the Congregation's archives.
Inspired by the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth, Institute members should increasingly understand their particular vocation in the family - "the little domestic church" - so as to bring to it an authentic conjugal love.
Given at Rome, March 19, 1993, Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Eduardo Cardinal Martinez Somalo, Prefect
+ Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, Secretary.
The "Birth" of the Holy Family Institute
The Holy Family Institute was born from the "Founder's side", as the Church was born from the side of Christ dying on the Cross. This is an unprecedented analogy for a religious foundation and it points to the importance of Blessed Fr. Alberione's specific intention for the Holy Family Institute.
Although he could not preside over its development, the approval of the HFI that he received from the Holy See in 1960 was brought to fruition by other Paulines, mostly members of the Jesus Priest Institute, diocesan priests dedicated to the Pauline mission, who, fittingly, have always taken an interest in the development of the Holy Family Institute.