As per the Annuario Pontifical, these are the already approved and recognized Catholic religious orders:
Ordo Augustiniensium Discalceatorum O.A.D. Discalced Augustinians
Ordo Minimorum O.M. Minims
Ordo Augustinianorum Recollectorum O.A.R. Augustinians Recollects
Ordo Fratrum Discalceatorum B. Mariae V. de Monte Carmelo O.C.D. Discalced Carmelites
Ordo Servorum Mariae O.S.M. Servites
Ordo Fratrum Minorum O.F.M. Franciscans
Ordo Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum O.F.M. Chap. Capuchin Franciscans
Ordo Fratrum Minorum Conventualium O.F.M. Conv. Conventual Franciscans
Ordo Fratrum Praedicatorum O.P. Dominicans
Ordo B. Mariae Virginis of Mercede O. of M. Mercedarians
Ordo Fratrum Beatissimae Mariae Virginis de Monte Carmelo O. Carm. Carmelites
Ordo Fratrum Sancti Augustini O.S.A. Augustinians
Ordo Ssmae Trinitatis O.SS.T. Trinitarians
Tertius Ordo Regularis S. Francisci T.O.R. Brothers of Penance
Ordo Cartusiensis Cart. Carthusians
Ordo Sancti Hieronymi O.S.H. Hieronymites
Ordo Cisterciensis O. Cist. Cistercians
Ordo Cisterciensis Strictioris Observantiae O.C.S.O. Trappist
Ordo Libanensis Maronitarum O.L.M. Baladites
Ordo S. Benedicti O.S.B. Benedictines
Ordo Basilianus S. Iosaphat O.S.B.M. Basilians
Ordo Basilianus S. Iohannis Baptistae, Soaritarum Melkitarum B.C.
Ordo Fratrum S. Pauli Primi Eremitae O.S.P.P.E. Pauline Fathers
Ordo Basilianus Ssmi Salvatoris Melkitarum B.S.
Ordo Maronita Beatae Mariae Virginis O.M.M.
Cleric Regulars and Secular
Congregation Clericorum Regularium S. Pauli B. Barnabites
Ordo Clericorum Regularium vulgo Theatinorum C.R. Theatines
Ordo Clericorum Regularium a Somascha C.R.S.
Ordo Clericorum Regularium Matris Dei O. M. D.
Ordo Clericorum Regularium Pauperum Matris Dei Scholarum Piarum Sch. P. Piarists
Ordo Clericorum Regularium Ministrantium Infirmis M.I. Camilians
Societas Jesu S.J. Jesuits
Benedictinarum Missionarum de Saecularium Ordo Caritas B. S. O. M. C.
Congregation Ssmi Salvatoris Lateranensis C.R.L.
Sacer et Apostolicus Ordo Canonicorum Regularium S. Augustini C.R.S.A. Canon Regulars
Ordo Fratrum Domus Hospitalis Sanctae Mariae Teutonicorum in Jerusalem O.T.
Candidus et Canonicus Ordo Praemonstratensis O. Praem. Norbertines or Premonstratensians
Ordo Canonicorum Regularium Sancae Crucis O.R.C.
Congregatio Helvetica o Sancto Mauritio Agaunensis C.R.A
Canonici Regular Ordinis S. Crucis O.S.C. Holy cross
In reference to Catholic religious orders, the term congregation has two uses.
Primarily, a congregation is one of the Catholic religious institutes in which simple vows, not solemn vows, are taken. In the canon law of the Catholic Church, vows are divided into simple vows and solemn vows. Professed members of monastic and certain other orders (e.g., the Jesuits) take solemn vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience (the vows of religion) in which all claims to inheritances are renounced. Countries which recognized canon law as having legal force for the society would automatically enforce this religious practice. Members of religious congregations take simple versions of them, which allow for inheritance.
This innovation was introduced after the experience in the Catholic Church of the upheavals brought about the French Revolution and subsequent Napoleonic invasions of other Catholic countries. Thousands of monks and were left to live in poverty, having forsaken any means of income to which they might have been entitled through inheritances. This was coupled with the rise of the new groups of religious men and women, whose way of life was oriented to the ancient monastic way of life, but rather more to social service in response to the widespread poverty of the age, and to evangelization , Both in Europe and overseas.
The other major use of this term is to denote the various grouping of Benedictine monasteries into independent associations, presided over by the abbot of a particular community. Thus one speaks of, e.g., the Cassinese or Camaldolese congregations. These different congregations vary in regard to the authority of the presiding abbot. Thus, in some congregations, the role of the presiding abbot is directly exercised upon the individual member of the congregation, while in others, it is more of a role of guidance to the monastic community.
List of congregations
The 2000 Annuario Pontifical lists about 1 million persons in religious institutes worldwide. This included 139,397 religious priests (and excluded 265,781 diocesan priests), 55,057 religious brothers, and 801,185 religious sisters.
The following list refers to some of the major religious congregations of the Catholic Church; It should be understood that communities using the same name may also exist in the Anglican tradition, as well as there may be more than one Catholic congregation with the same name. Each is accompanied by its official name in English as well as the acronym (or "post-nominal initials") commonly used to identify its members. In many cases name variations and/or alternative names are also in use. In parentheses is the year it was established. Some organizations in the following list are not Religious Institutes because they are Associations of the Faithful and have not yet received a decree of erection to become an Institute of Consecrated Life. For this reason, this list does not verify the canonical status of an organization: Name Initials Founder Date(s) of founding Adorers of the Blood of Christ A.S.C. Maria De Mattias 1834 Adrian Dominican Sisters 1923 (1233) Albertines 1888 Alexians C.F.A. 1469 Angelic Sisters of St. Paul A.S.S.P. Anthony Maria Zaccaria 1535 Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus A.S.C.J. 1894 Assisi Sisters of Mary Immaculate A.S.M.I. 1949 Assumptionists A.A. 1845 Little Sisters of the Assumption L.S.A. Etienne Pernet 1865 Religious of the Assumption 1839 Society of the Atonement (Atonement Friars, Graymoor Friars/Sisters) S.A. 1909 Augustinian Sisters, Servants of Jesus and Mary A.S.J.M. 1827 Society of Saint Augustine (Augustinians of Kansas) S.S.A. 1981 Benedictine Oblates of St Scholastica O.S.B. 1984 Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration 1874 Bernardine Cistercians of Esquermes Hippolyte Lecouvreur 1827 Bernardines (also call Cistercians) 1098 Bon Secours Sisters C.B.S. 1824 Brigidine Sisters 1807 Brotherhood of Hope B.H. 1980 Brothers of Charity F.C. 1807 Brothers of Christian Instruction of St Gabriel F.S.G. 1711 Brothers of Mercy of Our Lady of Perpetual Help F.M.M. 1839 Brothers of the Christian Schools (Lasallian Brothers or Christian Brothers) F.S.C. John Baptist de La Salle 1680 Brothers of the Poor of St. Francis C.F.P. Johannes Hoever 1861 Brothers of the Sacred Heart S.C. 1821 Brothers of Christian Instruction (De la Mennais Brothers, FIC Brothers) F.I.C. Gabriel Deshayes Jean-Marie de Lamennais 1819 Camaldolese Hermits of the Congregation of Monte Corona Er.Cam. Paul Giustiniani 1525 Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius S.J.C. 2006 Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception 1871 Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem C.R.N.J. 2002 Canossians (Canossian Daughters and Sons of Charity) F.D.D.C. 1808 Carmelites of Saint Elijah Carmelitae Sancti Eliae C.S.E. 1986 Carmelites of Mary Immaculate C.M.I. 1831 Carmelite Daughters of the Divine Heart of Jesus D.C.J. 1891 Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm 1929 Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles 1904 Claretians (Claretian Missionaries) C.M.F. 1849 Claretian Sisters 1876 Comboni Missionaries 1867 Community of Betania Companions of the Cross C.C. 1988 Company of Mary Our Lady O.D.N. 1607 Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Scheutists) Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae C.I.C.M. 1862 Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament S.S.S. 1659 Congregation of Christian Brothers (Christian Brothers of Ireland) C.F.C. 1802 Congregation of the Disciples of the Lord Congregatio Discipulorum Domini C.D.D. 1931 Congregation of Divine Providence C.D.P. 1827 Congregation of Holy Cross C.S.C. 1837 Congregation of Maronite Lebanese Missionaries M.L. 1865 Congregation of the Mission C.M. 1624 Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix C.M.C. 1909 Congregation of Notre Dame C.N.D. 1653 Congregation of Our Lady of the Missions 1861 Congregation of the Sisters of Nazareth C.S.N. 1948 Congregation of the Sisters of the Resurrection 1891 Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary SS.CC. 1800 Congregation of St. Basil C.S.B. 1822 Congregation of St. Joseph C.S.J. 1873 Congregation of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux C.S.T. 1931 / 1945 Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy (Divine Mercy Sisters) O.L.M. 1862 Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul D.C. 1633 Daughters of Divine Charity F.D.C. 1868 Daughters of Divine Love 1969 Daughters of the Holy Spirit D.H.S. 1706 Daughters of Mary of the Immaculate Conception 1904 Daughters of Our Lady of Compassion D.O.L.C. 1892 Daughters of St. Francis of Assisi 1894 Daughters of St. Paul F.S.P. 1915 Daughters of Wisdom 1707 Dehonians (Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) S.C.J. 1878 Divine Word Missionaries S.V.D. 1875 Dominican Missionaries for the Deaf Apostolate O.P. Miss. 2004 Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary 1880 Dominican Sisters of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin 1856 Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne 1900 Dominican Sisters of the Immaculate Conception O.P. 1861 Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia O.P. 1860 Christian Doctrine Fathers (Doctrinaries) Congregatio Patrum Doctrinae Christianae D.C. 1592 Eudists (Congregation of Jesus and Mary) C.I.M. 1643 Fathers of Mercy Congregatio Presbyterorum a Misericordia C.P.M. 1808 Felician Sisters (Congregation of the Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice) C.S.S.F. 1855 Franciscan Apostolic Sisters F.A.S. 1954 Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn O.S.F. 1858 Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist F.B.E. 2004 Franciscan Brothers of Peace F.B.P. 1982 Franciscan Clarist Congregation Franciscan Friars of the Renewal C.F.R. 1987 Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate F.I. Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli Fr. Gabriel Maria Pellettieri 1970 Franciscan Handmaids of Mary 1915 Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters of the Immaculate Conception F.H.I.C. 1876 Franciscan Minims of the Perpetual Help of Mary F.M. 1942 Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood F.M.D.M. 1887 Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word M.F.V.A. 1987 Franciscan Missionaries of Mary F.M.M. 1877 Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary 1859 Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Infant Jesus 1879 Franciscan Servants of Jesus 1997 Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity O.S.F. 1869 Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist F.S.E. 1973 Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary Zygmunt Szczesny Felinski 1857 Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception F.S.I.C. Refugio Morales 1874 Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate 1893 Franciscan Sisters of Penance of the Sorrowful Mother T.O.R. 1988 Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration O.S.F. 1849 Fransalians (Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales) M.S.F.S. 1838 Friars of St. Francis F.S.F. 1993 Good Shepherd Sisters R.G.S. 1641 Grey Nuns G.N.S.H. 1738 Handmaids of the Blessed Sacrament and of Charity A.A.S.C. 1950 Handmaids of the Precious Blood H.P.B. 1947 Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus A.A.S.C. 1877 Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Mary and Joseph 1978 Hermits of Saint Bruno H.S.B. 2001 Holy Cross Fathers (Congregation of Holy Cross) C.S.C. 1837 Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters (Pink Sisters) S.Sp.S.A.P. Arnold Janssen 1896 Hospital Sisters of the Mercy of Jesus 1200s Infant Jesus Sisters I.J. Nicolas Barre 1666 Institut du Clerge Patriarcal de Bzommar I.C.P.B. 1749 Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest I.C.R.S.S. 1990 Institute of the Incarnate Word I.V.E. 1984 Josephite Fathers (St. Joseph's Society of the Sacred Heart) S.S.J. 1893 Legion of Christ L.C. 1941 Little Brothers of the Gospel 1956 Little Brothers of Jesus 1933 Little Brothers of St Francis L.B.S.F. 1970 Little Sisters of the Assumption 1865 Little Sisters of the Gospel 1963 Little Sisters of Jesus 1933 Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary 1974 Little Sisters of the Poor L.S.P. 1800s Lovers of the Holy Cross 1670 Loreto Sisters (Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary) I.B.V.M. 1609 Marian Fathers M.I.C. 1673 Marian Sisters (Marian Sisters of the Diocese of Lincoln) M.S. 1952 Marianists (Society of Mary) S.M. 1817 Marianist Sisters (Daughters of Mary Immaculate) F.M.I. 1816 Marianites of Holy Cross M.S.C. 1841 Marist Brothers F.M.S. 1817 Marists (Society of Mary) S.M. 1816 Maryknoll (Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America) M.M. 1911 Miles Christi M.C. 1984 Mission Helpers of The Sacred Heart M.H.S.H. 1890 Missionaries of Charity M.C. 1950 Missionaries of La Salette M.S. 1852 Missionaries of Mary 2007 Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo) C.S. 1887 Missionaries of the Gospel of Life 2005 Missionaries of the Poor M.O.P. 1981 Missionaries of the Precious Blood (Precious Blood Fathers) C.PP.S. 1815 Missionaries of the Sacred Heart M.S.C. 1854 Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary 1836 Missionary Congregation for the Blessed Sacrament 1933 Missionary Society of St. Columban (Columbans) S.S.C. 1916 Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem 1975 Montfort Missionaries (Company of Mary) S.M.M. 1705 Oblate Apostles of the Two Hearts O.A.T.H. 1995 Oblate Sisters of Providence O.S.P. 1829 Oblates of Mary Immaculate O.M.I. 1816 Oblates of St. Joseph O.S.J. 1878 Oblates of the Virgin Mary O.M.V. 1827 Oratorians (Oratory of St. Philip Neri) C.O. or Cong. Orat. Philip Neri 1500s Pallottines (Society of the Catholic Apostolate) S.A.C. 1835 Paris Foreign Missions Society M.E.P. 1658 Passionists (Congregation of the Passion) C.P. 1720 Passionist Sisters 1850s Patrician Brothers F.S.P. 1808 Paulist Fathers (Missionary Society of Saint Paul the Apostle) C.S.P. 1858 Pious Disciples of the Divine Master P.D.D.M. 1924 Sisters of the Reparation of the Holy Face 1950 Poor Clares Ordo Sanctae Clarae O.S.C. Clare of Assisi 1212 Poor Clares of Santa Barbara Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration 1854 Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici 1129–1312 Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary P.B.V.M. 1775 Presentation Brothers F.P.M. 1802 Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter Fraternitas Sacerdotalis Sancti Petri F.S.S.P. 1988 Putri Karmel 1982 Racine Dominican Sisters 1862 Redemptorists (Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer) C.Ss.R. 1732 Les Religieuses de Notre-Dame-du-Sacre-Coeur 1924 Religious of the Assumption R.A. 1839 Religious of Christian Education 1817 Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary R.S.H.M. 1849 Religious of the Virgin Mary R.V.M. 1684 Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, Michigan R.S.M. 1973 Religious Sisters of Charity 1815 Resurrectionists C.R. 1836 Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus R.C.J. 1897 Rosminians (Institute of Charity) I.C. 1828 Salesians of St. John Bosco S.D.B. 1857 Salesian Sisters (Daughters of Mary Help of Christians) F.M.A. 1872 Salvatorians (Society of the Divine Savior) S.D.S. 1881 School Sisters of Christ the King 1976 School Sisters of Notre Dame S.S.N.D. 1833 School Sisters of the Third Order of St Francis 1873 Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters 1847 Sister Adorers of the Precious Blood R.P.G. 1861 Sisters Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus Christ Sovereign Priest 2004 Sisters of Adoration, Slaves of the Blessed Sacrament and of Charity 1850 Sisters of the Apostolic Carmel 1870 Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament 1891 Sisters of the Cenacle R.C. 1826 Sisters of Charity S.C. 1633 Sisters of Charity of Saints Bartolomaea Capitanio & Vincenza Gerosa S.C.C.G. 1832 Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati 1829 Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth 1858 Sisters of Charity of New York 1846 Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary B.V.M. 1831 Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception 1854 Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word 1866 Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary 1803 Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy 1829 Sisters of Charity of Providence S.P. 1844 Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth 1859 Sisters of Charity Federation in the Vincentian-Setonian Tradition 1947 Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul 1849 Vincentian Sisters of Charity V.S.C. 1902 Sisters of the Destitute 1927 Sisters of the Divine Compassion 1886 Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill 1870 Sisters of the Holy Cross C.S.C. 1837 Sisters of the Holy Family 1837 Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth 1875 Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary S.N.J.M. 1844 Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Castres Emilie de Villeneuve 1800s Sisters of Jesus, Our Hope S.J.H. Sisters of Life S.V. 1991 Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist O.P. 1997 Sisters of Mercy R.S.M. 1831 Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur S.N.D. or S.N.D. de N. 1803 Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy 1862 Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods S.P. 1840 Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul S.P. 1861 Sisters of La Retraite Catherine de Francheville 1674 Sisters of Saint Agnes 1858 Sisters of Saint Dorothy (Dorotheans) S.S.D. Paula Frassinetti 1834 Sisters of Saint Elizabeth 1842 Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi 1849 Sisters of St Francis of the Martyr St George F.S.G.M. 1869 Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity 1835 Sisters of Saint Francis of Rochester, Minnesota 1877 Sisters of St Joseph (Sisters of Saint Joseph of Medaille) C.S.J. 1650 Sisters of Saint Joseph of Bourg S.S.J. 1650 Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambery 1812 Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace 1884 Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart S.S.J. 1866 Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis 1901 Sisters of Saint Martha 1900 Sisters of St Rita 1911 Sisters of St Therese of the Child Jesus (St Therese Sisters) S.S.Th. Maria Crocifissa Curcio 1900s Sisters of Social Service S.S.S. 1926 Sisters of the Visitation 1610 Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary - I.H.M. 1845 Sisters, Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara S.S.V.M. 1988 Sisters, Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus S.S.C.J. 1894 Society of African Missions Societas Missionum ad Afros S.M.A. 1850 Society of the Helpers of the Holy Souls 1856 Society of the Holy Child Jesus S.H.C.J. 1846 Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity S.O.L.T. 1958 Society of St. Edmund S.S.E. 1843 Society of Saint Paul S.S.P. 1914 Society of the Sacred Heart R.S.C.J. 1800 Sovereign Military Order of Malta (Order of Malta) S.M.O.M. 1099 Spiritans (Congregation of the Holy Ghost) Congregatio Sancti Spiritus C.S.Sp. Claude Poullart des Places 1703 Stigmatines (Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata) C.S.S. 1816 Sulpician Fathers (Society of Saint Sulpice) S.S. or P.S.S. 1642 Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis, Cameroon 1700 Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity M.V.D.F. 1963 Viatorians (Clerics of Saint Viator) C.S.V. 1831 Heralds of the Gospel John Scognamiglio Cla Dias 1970 Virgo Flos Carmeli (Regina Virginum) E.P. 2001 Vincentian Congregation V.C. 1904 Vocationists (The Society of Divine Vocations) S.D.V. 1927 White Fathers M.Afr. 1868 Xaverian Brothers C.F.X. 1839 Xaverian Missionaries (Missionary Society of St. Francis Xavier) S.X. 1895.