Frequently Asked Questions
Crosier comes from the French word croisé which means "signed with the Cross." If you'd like to know more about the roots of the Crosier Fathers and Brothers, check the "Our History" section of this website!
Religious life is “a stable form of living by which the faithful, following Christ more closely under the action of the Holy Spirit, are totally dedicated to God who is loved most of all, so that, having been dedicated by a new and special title to his honor, to the building up of the Church, and to the salvation of the world, they strive for the perfection of charity in the service of the kingdom of God and, having been made an outstanding sign in the Church, foretell the heavenly glory” (Code of Canon Law, canon 573). It "is characterized by the public profession of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, in a stable state of life recognized by the Church" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #944). We Crosiers share in the renewed vision of religious life in the world today. We recognize that all religious belong to the life and holiness of the Church. We know that we have a place in the renewed and deepened vision of the Church where all religious are called to give witness of God’s deep love by our fraternity.
The U.S. Conventual Priory of this international order of priests and brothers is headquartered in Phoenix and has a filial priory in Onamia, Minnesota. The international headquarters is in Rome, and Crosiers also live and serve in The Netherlands, Germany, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia.
The Order has an established norm that states there should be at least 8 Crosiers in a priory. Currently, the filial priory in Onamia, Minnesota, has about 30 Crosiers and the conventual priory in Phoenix has about 10.
The route to God for a Crosier is the desire to imitate Christ through his union of mind and heart in community, through a mixed life of liturgical prayer and ministry, through the emphatic promise as a religious to say “yes” to God, through our membership in and service to the wider people of God, and, finally, by our engagement with the world. We seek to announce the Good News in the midst of our life together in the world.
The vows are from our Crosier Constitutions. By poverty we strive to base "our existence on the life of others and no longer to root our concern in ourselves"(Const. 12.1), and thus "we make total renunciation of all our goods" (Const. 13.2), and we share all things in common. By chastity "we respond in a particular way to the Christian vocation of realizing the fullness of love" (Const. 11.1), and so "we forego marriage and live as celibates" (Const. 11.2). Living the vow of obedience is our "response of love and service and of being available to the Church and all people" Const. 14.1). This vow is concretized by sharing our lives in community in dialogue with our Crosier superiors.
Crosiers are vowed men living not as a monastic group or an apostolic congregation, but in the conventual family group whereby we live for God alone by seeking to combine contemplative routines and rhythms with a shared apostolic life. The route to God for a Crosier is the desire to imitate Christ through his union of mind and heart in community, through a mixed life of liturgical prayer and ministry, through the emphatic promise as a religious to say “yes” to God, through our membership in and service to the wider people of God, and, finally, by our engagement with the world. We seek to announce the Good News in the midst of our life together in the world.
As canons regular, Crosiers follow the Rule of St. Augustine and commit to a life of community, prayer and ministry. St. Augustine taught that we come to know and experience God in our relationships with others, particularly in community. By choosing to live together, we love and support each other and are challenged to grow in the image of God.
A typical day in the priory is anchored by a rhythm of liturgical prayer and community activities. We pray five times a day (morning, Eucharist, midday, evening, night) and have regular community gatherings for fraternal interaction and deliberation (chapter, recreation). A variety of circumstances determine the kind of work each confrere is responsible for, but the goal is to nurture a balanced, holistic and integrated life focused on deepening and living out our common religious vocation for the life of the Order in the Church and world.
The Crosiers were founded in 1210 during the Medieval Period. The people of the Middle Ages paid intense attention to the symbolic nature of clothing and the first Crosiers designed the habit to be a highly visible statement of the community’s religious values. Placed over the heart, the Crosier Cross is the most prominent feature of the habit. The cross has a distinctive shape; it is the crusader cross, worn by soldiers on the fabric over their armor to identify themselves as Christian. The red and white color makes it stand out, it demands our immediate attention. The red represents the blood and the white represents the water that flowed from Jesus’ side after a soldier thrust him with a lance (Jn 19:34). The blood is a reminder of our devotion to the Eucharist, while the water recalls our baptism. As a multivalent symbol, the red also represents suffering, while the white signifies the glorification that follows. The crusader cross says, “I belong to Christ!” “I will fight for Christ!” “I am a person devoted to the cross!” Typically Crosiers wear their habit for liturgies, including Mass and morning and evening prayer, Crosier gatherings and special events. Crosiers continue to take pride in wearing their habit, aware that it represents a way of life that is faithful to values of community, ministry, and prayer. As a form of honor, Crosiers are buried in their habit.
We've been told by several people we have the best looking habit of all the religious orders!
Another way to ask this question is "Why do some guys stop at being a brother when they could go on to be priests?" Priests serve as sacramental ministers and leaders of the Church, while the brothers are pastoral ministers, caring for the needs of the people of God as their positions require.
Canons regular is a family of religious life in the Church. Orders of canons regular combine the clerical office (canons) with the observance of community religious life (a Rule, “regula”) and the evangelical counsels. They have their origin in the communities of clergy who lived with their bishop. It was St. Augustine who, at the end of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth centuries, gave this form of religious life its most characteristic features. The 11th and 12th centuries saw a flourishing of orders of canons regular, including the Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross (you can see why we go by Crosiers!). Norbertines and Augustinian Canons are among other orders of canons regular.
Family and friends are an important part of each Crosier’s life and it is a good thing to maintain those supportive relationships even as one makes the transition into a new way of life. Entering religious life does mean that these relationships will change. While a man is in formation, periodic visits from family and friends are welcome as long as they do not interfere or distract from formation program expectations and responsibilities.
There are many factors that go into the question of formation for or continuation in a professional career. One question revolves around whether a person is pursuing priesthood or brotherhood. Another is a discernment of the individual's gifts and talents and the Order's needs. In any case, you will be required to pursue further study in theology or pastoral ministry. We need people with a variety of skills to serve the Church and the people of God.
Crosiers minister out of our community life with diverse gifts to various needs of the Church and society, including parishes assistance; lay ministry formation; multicultural ministry; Sacrament of Reconciliation and reception of Holy Communion; spiritual direction/counseling; daily celebration of the Eucharist and Liturgy of the Hours; spiritual healing for veterans; pastoral services to jail inmates; weekly Mass and Communion service to Alzheimer’s patients; immigrant services including citizenship classes, coordination of pro bono legal services and direct need services for eligible candidates, spiritual guidance, conduct retreats, and coordinate parish missions; pastoral care to patients; conduct healing Masses and novenas in concert with the intercession of St. Odilia, patroness of the Crosiers and intercessor of the blind and afflicted; and elder care.
Becoming a priest or brother requires several years of formation and education. In addition, the life of the vowed and ordained servants of our church can be demanding and require a great deal of personal stamina. Limits vary according to the religious community or diocese you wish to join. Normally, our age requirement is 18-40 years of age. Those older than 40 years of age are included on a case-by-case basis.
An inquirer can begin the process of getting to know the Crosier community at any time. Normally, we expect a person to have completed some level of post-high school education prior to entrance into postulancy, the first formal stage of formation. For priesthood candidates who will need to complete a Master of Divinity degree, the completion of a 4-year undergraduate degree is necessary. For those who are brother candidates, an Associate of Arts degree or other trade school training would be required.
An applicant should be a United States citizen or have permanent residence status to enter into the Crosier formation process in the United States.
Holding student debt or other personal debt is a significant concern for those who are exploring a Church vocation. The Crosiers recognize this concern and want to work with inquirers to address debt issues. The Crosier policy is that an inquirer must make every reasonable effort to pay all personal debts. Once the postulant enters the novitiate, the Order will assume responsibility for his remaining debts and pay interest on them as long as he is a member of the Order. If he leaves the Order, all debts incurred by him prior to the novitiate again become his responsibility. Inquirers who seek to apply for postulancy who have declared personal or business bankruptcy will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Yes, it is possible to become a Crosier if you are divorced or widowed. If a person is separated or divorced, he needs to have successfully completed an annulment and not have any dependent children. In the case of a widower, a man needs to have been a widower for at least one year, not have any dependent children and be negotiating the grieving process successfully.
An ideal Crosier candidate is healthy in mind, body and spirit. Application for entrance into postulancy includes an extensive array of psychological assessments and physical examinations that help us determine whether the applicant is suited for the rigors of the formation process and the expectations of Crosier Religious Life and service within the Church.
The vow of poverty does not mean that you live an impoverished life. Rather, poverty requires that you differentiate between your actual needs and what you want. Religious orders provide for the needs of their members; diocesan priests do not take this vow and are financially independent. For Crosiers the vow of poverty means we share all in common (as it is described in the Acts of the Apostles).
A diocesan priest is generally ordained to serve a particular geographic area (diocese) for his entire priesthood, primarily in parish life, and lives on his own. Religious priests are also ordained to serve the Church, but within the context of a particular religious community's charism (which could mean specific ministries, like teaching, health care, chaplaincy, etc.) and wherever the order has a presence in the world. Religious priests are assigned by their own religious superior and live with others in a community. Religious priests also take vows of poverty which means they do not own any property.
One need not have been a lifelong Catholic to become a Crosier. A person does need to be baptized and received into the full communion with the Catholic Church. If a person is a newly baptized or received Catholic, we require a time of at least 3 years to fully assume a Catholic identity before being considered for entrance into the Crosiers.
As an inquirer prepares to enter further into the process of becoming a Crosier, vocation personnel will ask for letters of recommendation and names of references that will supplement and verify the range of personal data we collect through personal interviews and interactions. A criminal background check will be conducted prior to entrance into postulancy.
Each of us makes some choices in our lives that do not make sense to our parents. If you pursue a life of celibacy and you find your best love and happiness there, it is hoped that your parents will come to understand. The best course of action is to be open with them about your desires, to ask for their acceptance and to pray with and for them.