Devotional Vows


Vows Calligraphy

Almighty and eternal God:

I, _____________________, understand how unworthy I am in your divine sight.  Yet I am strengthened by your infinite compassion and mercy, and I am moved by the desire to serve you.  I vow to your Divine Majesty, before the most Holy Virgin Mary and the entire heavenly court, perpetual poverty, chastity, and obedience in the Society of Jesus.  I promise that I will enter this same Society to spend my life in it forever.  I understand all these things according to the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus.

Therefore, by your boundless goodness and mercy and through the blood of Jesus Christ, I humbly ask that you receive this holocaust in an odor of sweetness, and, as you have freely given me the desire to make this offering, so will you also bestow on me the abundant grace to fulfill it.



Dear Jesuit woman,

Above you see the text and a picture of vows that I made to the body and blood of Christ in August 2017, in the context of a vows mass organized by and for my brothers in the Jesuit novitiate.  The vow formula is the one used by our brothers when they take perpetual simple vows, at the end of a two-year discernment process in a formal novitiate.    The same formula is sometimes offered to novices to take privately, before their canonical commitment, as a way to express and increase personal devotion to growth in freedom and friendship with Christ.  You can find this vow on p. 208 of The Constitutions of the Society of Jesus and Their Complementary Norms .  There are a variety of translations, and I also have a copy of the version pictured, in the same calligraphy, with space for the name of the person professing.  Please let me know if you want to talk more about this.

Another beautiful and interesting passage on p. 208 reads: “Just as this vow is made to God alone and not to a man, {so no man receives it.}  This is the reason why it is not said to be made into the hands of anyone.”  (The bold text was part of the original Constitutions, but was abolished because the vow is canonical for Jesuit men, which is to say it is received legally, the name of the Church, by a superior.)  However, the heart of vow remains intact – it is a commitment to God alone.  Food for thought. +

Below are the devotional vow instructions I received.  I share them now with you:

“When you feel moved by the Spirit, go in front of the Tabernacle and recite quietly this formula.  Write down the date, place, and time of this moment.”