The Christian Life Community (CLC) traces its roots to Saint Ignatius Loyola, who, as a soldier recovering form his battle wounds, was given an extraordinary grace of conversion. Ignatius then sought to help others by speaking with them about the work of God in their lives.
He guided many towards God by drawing on his own spiritual experiences and gradually formulated the Spiritual Exercises to help future guides lead others to God.
The Exercises helped the development of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and the congregation of lay persons, which became the Sodalities of Our Lady (or Marian Congregations), from which the World Christian Life Community developed after Vatican II. ( View Pictorial representation of history or Powerpoint presentation of CLC history.)
A young Jesuit, John Leunis, founded the first CLC in Rome in 1563 by gathering a group of young lay students at the Roman College to help them unite their lives – jobs, studies, families, relationships, etc. – with Christian values. The movement grew and was confirmed by Pope Gregory XIII in 1584.
Over the years it spread dramatically. In 1920 there were 80,000 sodalities worldwide. In 1948 Pope Pius XII urged the Sodality to rediscover its original roots. In 1967, a new name was adopted, the Christian Life Community and The General Principles replaced the Sodalities’ common set of rules. Christian Life Community is a worldwide lay association within the Church and is now found in sixty countries.
The first CLC in Australia was founded in Adelaide in 1976. Since then it has spread to all the mainland states and currently there are about 90 groups around Australia.