Vicariate for Religious


Welcome to the Portsmouth Diocese Vicariate for Religious page. Here you can find the directory of Religious in our Diocese, and information about the Priests and people in our Diocese responsible for Religious and Consecrated life. 

The Diocese of Portsmouth is home to 35 Religious houses and retreat centres, as well as one Oratory in Formation, and one Personal Parish under the care of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter. Information about the different orders which can be found in our Diocese is listed below.

The Vicar for Religious

Religious orders generally operate outside of the direct authority of the diocesan Bishop, answering instead to their Religious Superiors, but of necessity will work inside the territory of different Dioceses. To manage this relationship many Bishops will appoint a Vicar for Religious as his official representative to and for the Religious Communities in their Diocese. He acts as a conduit for information and acts as a point of reference for communities in their dealings with the Diocese. He is available to Religious women and men, apostolic, monastic and contemplative and is familiar and sensitive to their vision and aspirations. His role is to promote a sense of ecclesial unity and collaboration between the Religious and the Bishop and between Religious and local clergy and laity. He also fosters an appreciation and understanding of the different vocations within the Church.

Bishop Philip's Episcopal Vicar for Religious is Fr David O'Sullivan, who is also the Coordinating Pastor for the North Downs Pastoral Area (the Parishes of Buckland and Faringdon, Lambourn and Hungerford, and Wantage).

Religious in our Diocese

We are blessed to have a great number of Religious houses of both men and women in our diocese, you can find out more about them by clicking on the links below.

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Those men and women who belong to the Order of Saint Benedict (Benedictines) live enclosed lives of contemplation, prayer, and work. The motto of the order is 'Ora et Labora' - prayer and work.



The men and women of the Franciscan Order (Friars Minor and Franciscan Sisters) live out the charism of Saint Francis in very diverse ways. The central charisms of the Franciscan order are a radical commitment to poverty and to works of Charity. The Franciscan motto is 'pax et bonum' - peace and the good.

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The Charism of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) founded by Saint Dominic is the preaching of the Gospel. There are both male and female Dominican communities, and both active and contemplative Dominicans. Our diocese is blessed to have a flourishing community of active Dominican Sisters - the sisters of Saint Joseph. 

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The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) founded by Saint Ignatius of Loyola, is a missionary order of Priests dedicated to the evangelizing mission of  the Church. Jesuits make a special fourth vow of personal obedience to the Holy Father, so that they are prepared and able to go anywhere in the world in service to the Church's mission. The motto of the Jseuits is Ad majórem Dei glóriam - for the greater glory of God.


Secular Communities

Sometimes 'Secular' priests choose to live together in community and live a common life without taking any Religious vows. While these orders are not strictly-speaking 'Religious' they are an important part of the life of our diocese and each live out a particular Charism or mission.


Other Religious

Our diocese is home to many different religious houses, outside of the most commonly known orders like the Benedictines, Dominicans, Franciscans, and Jesuits. Each order has their own Charism and history.