The Spiritual Family The Work


The Spiritual Family The Work

Foundation and History of The Work

1938: Founded by Julia Verhaeghe (1910-1997) in Belgium

1959: First ecclesial approval of the Sisters’ Community as a Pia Unio in the Diocese of Tournai (Belgium)

1963: First centre of The Work outside of Belgium in Austria; in subsequent years, the Community expanded into various other countries.

1975: Opening of the International Centre of Newman Friends in Rome; branches later opened in Oxford-Littlemore (UK), Bregenz (Thalbach convent) and Budapest (Hungary).

1986: Priests’ Community formed and recognized in the Diocese of Feldkirch (Austria) and joined to the Sisters’ Community with a view to the future ecclesiastical approbation of The Work as an Institute of Consecrated Life

1999:  Diocesan approval of The Work as an Institute of Consecrated Life in the Diocese of Rome

2001:  Papal approval as a Family of Consecrated Life by Pope John Paul II

2013-2014:   Apostolic Visitation initiated by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life to identify criteria to more clearly define canonically the “New Form of Consecrated Life” and to investigate allegations by former members against the community. The conclusion of the Visitation gave instructions to revise the Constitutions and to inaugurate a General Chapter.

Currently, there are about 130 active consecrated members (Sisters, Brothers, deacons and priests) in eleven countries throughout Europe, The Holy Land and the USA.
The Thalbach Convent in Bregenz (Austria) is the Motherhouse of the Community. The final resting place of our foundress, Julia Verhaeghe, is found here.
The community’s seat is in Rome on Via di Val Cannuta 32 c, 00166 Roma.



The Work strives to live as a Family of God and to bear witness to the supernatural beauty of the Church as founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ. The mutual complementarity of consecrated women and men and of priests and lay people is at the core of our vocation. In the unity of the Catholic Faith and through sincere love, we strive to model and reflect the mystery of the Church. As a spiritual family, through the celebration of the liturgy and in various apostolic services, we endeavor to inspire people to live as Christians in the world through a living faith. Through our vocation, we seek to combine a contemplative life, apostolic work and penetration of the world with the spirit of the Gospel.


The Spiritual Family The Work consists of a community of consecrated men (Priests’ Community) and a community of consecrated women (Sisters’ Community) who form the core of the community. Diocesan clergy, married couples, families, widows, widowers, and single people may be members in a broader sense. Others are also united spiritually with The Work.




Fr. Thomas Felder, FSO is the international superior of the Priests’ Community.




Sr. Margarete Binder, FSO is the international superior of the Sisters‘ Community.


Both international superiors, together with the Family Council, which is composed of the Council of the Priests’ Community and the Council of the Sisters’ Community, oversee the governance of the entire spiritual family.

General questions can be addressed to: Contact

Press Kit: documents download as PDFs:

Press Releases

January 29, 2019: Statement of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith


Articles about our community