Canons regular are clerics who live in community, performing work relating to the Divine mysteries, and presided over by one of their own order. Most canons regular follow the rule which Saint Augustine gave to his own clergy, hence their name Austin Canons. They date their institute from Apostolic times, claiming to have been founded by Christ Himself, though this seems to mean only that the various groups of canons established at different times adopted a mode of life like that of the Apostles. They include the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine, the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception, and the Canons Regular of the Lateran.
Canonesses regular are congregations of religious women similar to the canons regular, following the Rule of Saint Augustine, sometimes modified according to local conditions. They include the Canonesses Regular of the Lateran, the Canonesses Regular of the Holy Sepulcher, and the Canonesses Regular of Saint Augustine of the Congregation of Notre Dame. Engaged chiefly in educational work, they have convents in France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, Hungary, England, Africa, the United States, Brazil, and Canada. The Congregation of the Poor Sisters of the Schools of Notre Dame, founded, 1809, by Bishop Wittman in Bavaria, has spread throughout Europe and America.