“There are double missions, which are meant to complement each other like the two halves of the moon, though both need a complicated journey to reach the point where the right combination occurs. The goal in our case was an intensive collaboration for the sake of a common work. Our paths were markedly diverse, but they were equally marked by an affinity or correspondence that turned diversity into complementarity.”

Hans Urs von Balthasar

The Community of Saint John presents balthasarspeyr.org, which provides a comprehensive introduction to the Catholic work of our founders, Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr. You’ll also find an extensive collection of downloadable books, articles, and documents by and about these extraordinary souls united in a common mission for Church and world.

Life & Work

Hans Urs von Balthasar

Hans Urs von Balthasar sought to reunite theology with holiness. As Cardinal Ratzinger once put it, his theological “contemplation generated a completely Marian-Ignatian form of action” born of total surrender to the incarnate Word. The result was an extraordinary body of work dedicated to the glory of the Trinity revealed in crucified Jesus. The purity and depth of Balthasar’s witness earned him the trust of Saint John Paul II, who named him a cardinal in 1988. Truly, “the Church in her official responsibility assures us that Balthasar is a true teacher of the faith” (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger).


Adrienne von Speyr

von Speyr

Adrienne von Speyr–Catholic convert, spouse, mother, physician, and mystical theologian–devoted herself to the embodiment of Marian receptivity. Through her witness and writings, especially her scriptural commentaries, she constantly sought ever-deeper participation in Mary’s obedience and readiness vis-à-vis God’s incarnate Word. Plunging herself in this “virginal origin of the Church” (Saint John Paul II), Adrienne also discovered the source, measure, and end of her work as a physician, which, lived out in the spirit of the evangelical counsels, became a testament to the true universality of the call to holiness.



Their Task

Von Balthasar and von Speyr felt it their mission to renew awareness of Christ’s personal call to discipleship among the people of our time. In particular, they sought to foster radical availability for vocations to the consecrated life of chastity, poverty, and obedience. This spirit of readiness was their most precious gift to the Community of Saint John, the secular institute they founded to penetrate the world with the existential substance of the evangelical counsels. Among its other tasks, the Community strives to continue its founders’ service to vocations in the spirit of the Ignatian Exercises. We therefore welcome inquires from anyone desirous of information about ecclesial vocations or in search of help with his or her own vocational discernment.

Vocation image: Madonna with Sleeping Child, Mantegna, 1465-1470



Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve his Creator. He therefore fulfils his purpose and finds true freedom by welcoming God’s personal call in an ecclesial vocation. This fundamental truth stands at the very heart of the “kneeling theology” von Balthasar and von Speyr pursued in the spirit of Saint Ignatius and Saint John. Discover the rich array of resources for vocational discernment they developed during their collaboration in service of the Church.

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Ignatian exercises image: st. Ignatius of Loyola


Ignatian Exercises

The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius are a powerful instrument of vocational discernment. They therefore culminate in what Ignatius called “the election”: the moment when the exercitant, placing himself wholeheartedly at the Creator’s disposal, embraces the vocation God has graciously chosen for his life. In this unique act, liberality and obedience coincide, self-giving overflows into irrevocable dedication, and human freedom dramatically achieves its decisive epiphany.

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Community of St. John image: Christ on the Cross with the Virgin and St. John (c. 1460), detail


Community of St. John

More love: God deserves it, and our fellow men urgently need it. The intersection of these two needs defines the task of the Community of Saint John: to embody love at the heart of the world. This is a love shaped by the call to follow Christ in poverty, chastity, and obedience. To receive the gift of the counsels is to share in the unique consecration of the Lord who, in perfectly fulfilling the double requirement of love, redemptively crowned his Father’s creation as well.

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