Summary and relevance: This project will discuss the life cycle of a religious institute with particular attention to the role of law in the various stages of the institute's life. It will give attention to the interplay between law and life. On the one hand, it will explore the natural development of the institute as an organization, and as a community of faith that seeks a way of life inspired by a distinct experience of God, community and mission. On the other hand, it will explore the ways in which the community uses law to organize and formalize its own internal structure. It will also explore the ways in which an institute is influenced by external juridicalstructures, both ecclesiastical and civil, and the ways in which itresponds to these influences. Methodology: The project will explore the sociological literature on the nature of a religious institute and the various stages of its life-cycle. It will thenturn to the theological understanding of the nature of a religious institute and the unfolding of its life, particularly as this has developed at the Second Vatican Council and in the subsequent years. Finally it will explore the place of law in the growth, change and decline of a religious institute. My doctoral research is relevant because: There are many religious institutes that are invarious stages of change, decline and reconfiguration. Jurists are often asked to assist these groups. This project will explore the experience of the place of law in the process of growth, decline and reconfiguration of an institute and propose a theoretical framework for understanding the best use of law in the organic development of areligious institute and provide practical guidelines for institutesand for canonists in assisting them.