What are religious vows?
Vision Vocation Network just released its latest Vocation Guide (and here's the Vision Digital Vocation Guide). Inside, you'll meet Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration Julia Walsh who reveals "how the age-old vows of poverty, chastity and obedience give shape and meaning to her life."
Here's a snippet.
"I was just out of high school when I visited a convent for the first time. I buzzed with excitement, aware I might be entering into a world that could define me. I had felt the pull toward a life dedicated wholly to God and wondered what shape that would take. At the convent, I heard women three times my age describe lives centered on God and community, and I observed their joy, dedication, and strength.
I also was introduced to the religious vows. Women and men religious (sisters, nuns, brothers, monks, and some priests) have elected to let these vows be the core of their lifestyle, the pathway to holiness that they pursue.
For most, the religious vows are public vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. These vows are what make them into consecrated women and men—people set aside for special purposes for God. Whether they are living in a monastery or among the poor, these vows direct how each religious lives the gospel and serves God.
The vows define religious and make up the heart of a unique lifestyle. This lifestyle is meant to be prophetic: The vows announce the reign of God, the manifestation of Christ’s peace and justice. The biblical prophets were centered on announcing God’s ways to the world; the vows act in the same way. Compared to biblical prophets, though, religious do not necessarily need to announce God’s ways with words. Rather, they proclaim by the very way they live their lives.
A decade after that first visit to the convent, I stood in front of an altar with Franciscan sisters beside me. I professed vows for the first time and joined a lineage of holy men and women linked back to the early church. My community, family, and friends were with me, witnessing. I gave myself to God in this public manner because my commitment is for others. The words of dedication became my life map.'
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