Community of the Sons and Daughters of God
Ut Sitis Filii Patris Vestri
“That you may be children of your Father in Heaven”
The Community of the Sons and Daughters of God was founded in 1947 by an Italian priest, Fr. Divo Barsotti (1914-2006).
It was established first in Italy and recognised as a Public Association of the Faithful by the Catholic Church in 1984. It has now spread to Australia, Benin, Colombia, Croatia, England and Wales, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
This Community consists mainly of laypeople, who through Fr. Barsotti, have discovered a contemplative vocation and have been inspired to live the monastic spirit in the world. The Community also comprises men and women religious, as well as diocesan Priests.
Is it Possible to Live like a Monk in the World?
A monk is one who seeks God alone in a radical way. The monastic life has always been associated with cloistered life, silence, solitude and austerity.
But are these things essential to be a Monk?
For us, the model for monastic life is Jesus. Jesus alone lived, even in His human nature, with that same complete devotion to God the Father that He, being the Eternal Son of God, lives with for all eternity. However, this relationship with the Father did not draw Jesus away from a relationship with human beings whom He Himself called “brothers”, and whose lives He chose to share.
If, therefore, we wish to live the monastic spirit, we must be united to Christ. In the Community of the Sons and Daughters of God, this union with Christ can be lived in the state of life in which God has placed us: as laypeople, either married or single, who live in their own homes and who come from all walks of life, or as diocesan Priests. The men and women religious of this Community, however, live in distinct monasteries under a specific monastic rule.
The distinguishing characteristic of a monk’s life is continual prayer. This implies a constant search for God, renouncing one’s self in order to welcome God into one’s heart.
Our heart is the ‘interior cell’ in which we meet the Lord and abide with Him in an intimate relationship. Thus we speak of ‘interiorized monasticism’, inspired by Eastern Christianity, especially the Russian Orthodox tradition.
The Vision of the Community
The Community originated from a desire to live out, and to help others to live out, the grace of Baptism in all its radicalness, which entails a commitment to strive towards holiness.
How do we live out this commitment?
The Lord, who bestowed baptismal grace upon us, gave us also the means to cultivate, develop and increase this grace through the following:
– Most importantly, the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist – the source and summit of the Christian life
– The Liturgy of the Hours
– Listening to the Word of God (Holy Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church)
– Prayer of the heart, living in the Divine Presence
– Fraternal communion.
All these means will enable us to be docile to the Holy Spirit and obedient to the Heavenly Father’s Will.
The aim of the Community is to help men and women to uphold the absolute primacy of God through a life of faith, humility, silence and prayer. The Community does not have an active apostolate.
What is our Service to the Church and to Mankind?
– To bear witness to the primacy of God, Who cannot be lowered to a mere means to serve our human interests
– To give others a sense of the reality of the Kingdom of God, which is already present through the Christian Mystery
– To anticipate the life of Heaven here on earth, a life to which everyone is called, and thus direct all our actions towards this one and only end.
How do I join the Community?
Entry into the Community takes place by means of a formal rite of Consecration after a spiritual formation of at least one year.
The Structure of the Community
Our Community is structured into four branches, which are all united under one but a threefold Consecration: to Christ, to Mary and to the Church. Everyone who takes the rite of Consecration in the Community belongs to the first branch. Later on, the members have the option to take religious vows, if they so desire. This commitment is undertaken only after a period of discernment and spiritual preparation. Married persons, either one or both spouses, who have taken the vows of poverty, conjugal chastity and obedience belong to the 2nd branch. Single persons, widows or widowers, who have taken the vows of poverty, perfect chastity and obedience, belong to the 3rd branch. All other members who have not taken vows remain in the 1st branch. The members of the first, second and third branches live out this Consecration in the world. The members of the fourth branch are men and women religious who live out the Consecration with the religious vows of poverty, perfect chastity and obedience, in small monasteries, with a lifestyle similar to that of traditional monastic Orders. These four branches correspond to four different ways of living out the one and the same Consecration in the unity of the one Community.
How is the Life of the Community Lived?
The Consecrated members meet locally in small groups once a week to foster the Community life through prayer, spiritual formation and fraternal sharing. All the small groups meet regionally once a month in a larger gathering. In addition, the Community holds an annual silent retreat. The monks of the fourth branch have a small monastery in Dookie, Victoria.
For further information contact:
Community of the Sons and Daughters of God or Comunità dei figli di Dio (CFD)
PO Box 1355
RESERVOIR EAST LPO VIC 3073 AUSTRALIA
St Augustine of Canterbury Monastic House 93 Saddleback Road
DOOKIE VIC 3646 AUSTRALIA