Life and Mission




Community of Saint John



Community of Saint John

“God needs more love; man needs more love. Our Community would like to place itself in the midst of this double need”

Adrienne von Speyr

The Hand of the Father (detail from a mosaic at the Church of Saint Clement, Rome)

A Community of Consecrated Life

Founded by Adrienne von Speyr and Hans Urs von Balthasar in 1945, and approved by the Holy See in 2000, the Community of Saint John is a single international secular institute composed of three branches (for lay women, lay men, and diocesan priests, respectively). Since its inception, the Community has felt the call to live the consecrated life that is born at the foot of the Cross where the Son reconciles the world to the Father in the Holy Spirit. Here, as he prepares to seal the New Covenant by his death, Jesus unites his Mother and his beloved disciple, John, giving them to share his form of existence in poverty, chastity, and obedience as a virginal cell of consecrated life at the heart of his Church.

Saint John beneath the Cross (detail from a mosaic at the Church of Saint Clement, Rome)


The Community’s two patrons saints are John the Evangelist and Ignatius of Loyola. John, the “disciple whom Jesus loved,” gives the Community its name and its task: participation in his own mission of embodying love while mediating between Mary, the Church’s living heart, and Peter, who stands for her hierarchical ministry. Saint Ignatius, for his part, is the great teacher of cruciform obedience and Christian discernment. Together, both patrons center the Community in the Son’s loving obedience to the Father and in Mary’s fiat, teaching us to say with her: “Let it be done in me according to your word.”

Mary beneath the Cross (detail from a mosaic at the Church of Saint Clement, Rome)

Life of Prayer

The bedrock of our way of life and spiritual formation is loving contemplation of the Word of God as interpreted by the Church’s Tradition and embodied in her sacramental life. According to our founders, prayer arises in the Trinity, and it is therefore the light in which we can see the creation as it is and is meant to be. By entering into this Trinitarian “world of prayer,” our members learn what it means to be Catholic: to give themselves without counting the cost, to follow Revelation and be configured to its luminous form, and to receive the peace of Christ in the midst of their mission and its daily struggles.

Palms sprouting from the Cross, with deer drinking from the springs of living water (detail from a mosaic at the Church of Saint Clement, Rome)

The Mission

The Community’s primary mission is to bring a Christian spirit to non-Christian settings. The lay members do this chiefly through the practice of secular professions (as doctors, teachers, politicians, etc.), while the priests serve in their local dioceses without forgetting the Church’s worldwide mission. Stationed at the foot of the Cross, we seek to become a conduit for the life-giving water that flows from the Lord’s pierced side to those most in need of love. It is thus that the Community desires to serve the healing of Church and world and to work for the creation’s final homecoming to the bosom of the Father.

Contact us

We are available to speak with anyone interested in exploring the charism of the Community or in learning more about the authentic sense of Christian vocation, the life of prayer, spiritual discernment, or the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

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