Our Passionist Vows
To grasp the beauty of our vowed life, I encourage all our young people to visit the Vatican website and click on the letter of Pope John Paul II, Vita Consecrata. It is truly a masterpiece.
There we read that consecrated life is deeply rooted in the example and teaching of Jesus. It is a gift of God the Father to the Church through the Holy Spirit. Through the profession of our religious vows, the characteristic features of Jesus, the chaste, poor and obedient One, are made constantly visible in the world.
The Holy Father says that in every age, there have been men and women who called by God and obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, have chosen this special way of following Christ in order to devote themselves to Him with an undivided heart. Like the Apostles, they have left everything behind in order to be with Christ at the service of God and the Church. They ordinarily commit themselves to Christ through the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.
The religious vows are to be seen as a unity. They are our marriage covenant with the Lamb, in response to His choice and call. “You did not choose Me. No, I chose you.” (Jn 15:16) We give ourselves to God in Jesus Christ, desiring to love Him in an undivided way, and to dedicate our entire lives to the service of the Church through our hidden life of prayer and sacrifice.
What makes us different from every other order of cloistered Nuns in the Church is what we call our “Passion Vow.”
Yes! The very first vow we pronounce at our religious profession is the vow to promote devotion to the Passion of Christ. This vow expresses the unique purpose of our Institute, distinguishing us from other religious institutes. We also make the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, and finally, we bind ourselves to observe strict cloister by making a vow of enclosure.
Our Holy Founder, St. Paul of the Cross, wanted us to “have much at heart the spread of devotion to the Passion of Jesus.” There are many ways in which we fulfill this beautiful vow. The principal way is to fulfill it in our own souls first of all, by a life-long striving for an intimate relationship of love and gratitude, adoration and praise of Jesus in His Passion, death and resurrection, and also by praying that others will experience the blessed fruits of His bitter sufferings and death. Our great desire is to attain the union of love with Our Lord in His Paschal Mystery and to share in His mission of redeeming the world. This is foundational because one cannot give what one does not have.
But there are many other ways in which we strive to honor Christ in His Passion and death, and to make Him loved by others. Among these are the contacts we have through letters, phone, our website and through the guest house attached to but separate from our monastery. Our Holy Founder said that love is ingenious. There are countless ways in which cloistered Nuns can remind others of Our Lord’s great love and suffering, especially at times of personal and family trials, and so forth.
The Holy Spirit has also called together a group of lay and clerical Passionist Oblates who meet every month at our monastery. These priests and lay people share our spirituality, making their own commitment to the Passion of Jesus, and they strive to carry this spirit with them back into their daily lives.
The guest house also provides a place where people can come into an atmosphere of silence and prayerfulness for a time of retreat. By joining in the liturgical prayer of our community, they also experience our devotion to the Passion.