Pope Francis has recently focused on expanding the role of laypeople in the Catholic Church with the March 19 publication of his apostolic constitution “Praedicate Evangelium” (“Preach the Gospel”) and his call to priests in dwindling religious communities to prepare laypeople to assist them in the work of evangelization.

For centuries, Catholic laypeople have found their charism through lay order membership, colloquially known as “third orders” — an ancient vocation that is seeing a resurgence since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While many people associate the term “vocation” with the call to the priesthood, religious life, or marriage, fewer are familiar with associations of laypeople who promise to follow the teachings of a religious order while living in the world.

It’s a calling that has reached people like Nieva Alix of Panorama City. In 1974, Alix was in formation with a religious order in the Philippines when she met Mother Teresa. Alix recalled that she was immediately drawn to her simple way of life.

Before taking her final vows, Alix left the order to volunteer with Mother Teresa’s order, the Missionaries of Charity, and was invited to join them in New York City, where she spent 13 months.

“This is not for you,” Mother Teresa told her. “Perhaps the Lay Missionaries of Charity would be a good fit for you if you want to live our way of life.”

Now 70 years old, Alix is preparing to make her vow for life with the Lay Missionaries of Charity this month….

The above comes from a May 17 story in Angelus News.