Communal life is today’s topic:
Common life, fashioned on the model of the early Church where the body of believers was united in heart and soul (cf. Acts 4:32), and given new force by the teaching of the Gospel, the sacred liturgy and especially the Eucharist, should continue to be lived in prayer and the communion of the same spirit. As members of Christ living together as (sisters and) brothers, religious should give pride of place in esteem to each other (cf. Rom. 12:10) and bear each other’s burdens (cf. Gal. 6:2). For the community, a true family gathered together in the name of the Lord by God’s love which has flooded the hearts of its members through the Holy Spirit (cf.Rom. 5:5), rejoices because He is present among them (cf. Matt. 18:20). Moreover love sums up the whole law (cf. Rom. 13:10), binds all together in perfect unity (cf. Col. 3:14) and by it we know that we have crossed over from death to life (cf. 1 John 3:14). Furthermore, the unity of the (members) is a visible pledge that Christ will return (cf. John 13:35; 17:21) and a source of great apostolic energy.
The ideal community of Acts 4 is one model, certainly the first noted in Christianity. One might presume that this community is the ideal for all believers, not just religious.
That all the members be more closely knit by the bond of brotherly love, those who are called lay-brothers, assistants, or some similar name should be drawn closely in to the life and work of the community. Unless conditions really suggest something else, care should be taken that there be only one class of Sisters in communities of women. Only that distinction of persons should be retained which corresponds to-the diversity of works for which the Sisters are destined, either by special vocation from God or by reason of special aptitude.
Treating, and skirting a bit, perhaps, the issues of inequities of members.
However, monasteries of men and communities which are not exclusively lay can, according to their nature and constitutions, admit clerics and lay persons on an equal footing and with equal rights and obligations, excepting those which flow from sacred orders.
How does that work in practice, I wonder?