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Private Vows in The Laity/Spirituality


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St Catherine was a Dominican Tertiary.  Back in the 14th century Third Order members did or could wear the religious habit of their particular Religious Order.  Today most often they wear secular clothing.

Above link for today's Gospel ......and...........

Scroll down for St Catherine of Siena commentary on "The Gift of Conformity to Christ" : "My mercy and love lend them time (…)"

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Hi Barbara! 

Thank you for explaining what your day to day is like. I came on here and read your message a week ago, and it got me thinking deeply, what my life rule should be. 

But, I haven't figured it out yet...

Yes, I'm eligible for being a  consecrated virgin. But, I don't know if I have the personality for it. I'm rather reserve, and have a small group of friends at Church. I don't think I would be a good candidate... 

On 10/7/2021 at 10:26 PM, Sponsa-Christi said:

Just for some quick clarification, by "erring on the side of being discreet," I don't mean that privately-vowed people shouldn't tell their family and friends about their commitment. "Discreet" doesn't mean "totally secret," and obviously it makes sense to be open about such an important aspect of your life with the people you are closet to. 

Also, I first wrote that blog post many years ago. I haven't really changed my mind or anything, but my views have (naturally) become more nuanced, and the culture has also had some gradual changes. So I now think there could be some situations when it might make sense for a privately-vowed person to be more open about their commitment. E.g., perhaps by describing themselves as: "I'm single, but I'm a serious Catholic and I have made a personal private commitment to celibacy as part of my spirituality." I do think it would be a good thing if private vows were more normalized in the Catholic world. 

I still do think that it's important to make it clear that private vows aren't the same as consecrated virginity or religious life, though! Privately-vowed women, if they choose to share about their private vows, should be careful not to talk about their vocation in such a way that makes it sound as if they were a CV. 

I will defiantly use that, 

"I'm single, but I'm a serious Catholic and I have made a personal private commitment to celibacy as part of my spirituality." 

I did knew, you have to make it clear that you aren't a consecrated virgin but I wasn't sure how to say it to people. 


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On 10/8/2021 at 3:56 PM, Sponsa-Christi said:


I just, yet AGAIN, fell over  something: a post by Sponsa Christi and quoted it, then suddenly it was gone.  

I would like to underscore that if I mention I am under private vows, I always add firmly that I am NOT a religious sister nor nun, of any kind whatsoever. I am just an ordinary lay woman, a face in the pews as it were,  Private vows do mean that one does remain an ordinary faithful Cathollic in the Laity.  One is committed to the apostolate and mission of the Laity as per https://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_30121988_christifideles-laici.html along with any and all baptized Catholics.  That is the very essential intrinsic nature of my private vows to evangelical counsels.  Our (and my) mission and apostolate as Laity is to the Temporal or Secular Sphere.  My particular call by God to private vows is a call to the Temporal or Secular Sphere.  However, should one discern that the vocation is to the spiritual sphere within The Church not strictly to The Temporal Sphere, it is quite valid.  If The Church did make private vows inclusive somehow in consecrated life, I would never embrace it.  My very specific vocation and mission is to remain fully in the Laity with a particular call to the temporal sphere.  That does not mean that I do not address spirituality within The Church, but my personal specific call is to the Temporal Sphere not specifically the Spiritual Sphere.  However, every single human being including Pope down cannot be alive without the Temporal Sphere be it minor or major involvement.  Hence in addressing spirituality under private vows in no way means not to be involved AT ALL in the spiritual sphere as vocation and mission.

If I do have to make a statement re my private vows, I am very careful indeed to explain it, just so the person will not conclude things that are totally incorrect.  It is very important too to underscore the "Private" in "private vows" is a Canon Law definition.  In no way does it actually mean that private vows are to be kept private as a secular term, unless the person making the vows discerned such for themselves only.  I really would not say anything more unless questions were asked.  But everything depends on circumstances in which one is involved.  And every action has a reaction or cause and effect are ALWAYS continually in motion.

The Mass and Holy Communion, daily Prayer - are central and essential, including during discernment.  They are ALWAYS essential and central for all vocations includingunLaity.  However, there is a sort of particular importance to be affirmed/underscored  in the discernment process.

Private vows is no easy way out.  It is in fact very difficult, extremely difficult.  I would never advise a person to make private vows without holy, sound and educated spiritual direction and on a continual basis.  To never make private vows to the evangelical counsels unless one fully understood what one is doing.  One continues to grow in insight into more full understanding of one's vocation.  That journey will only end at death.

For the very reason that some people think and advocate that private vows should be kept private etc. is the very reason so many Catholics are so very wrong and all screwed up about private vows.........the Church has officially said quite a bit about private vows, problem is that comments are dotted here and there in various documents, even those not specifically addressing private vows. rather it can be documents on Consecrated Life.  If they published a Document on private vows specifically, I doubt if it would make an impression on many ordinary Laity.  I am yet to meet a quite ordinary practising Catholic familiar with a very important Document such as the vocation and apostolate of Laity - as linked somewhere in this Post/   It is not culpable ignorance.  Life for faithful ordinary Catholics in the ordinary Laity out here is filled with stress on many levels  i.e. they just do not have the time to read these lengthy Documents out of Rome.  I am ok, I live alone and am privately vowed - the rug as it were is slowly being pulled out more and more  Also, there is very real concern by Rome at the decline in consecrated life and Holy Orders and I know there are fears that perhaps many would be swayed against a vocation to consecrated life or Holy Orders.  I don't know where their Faith is  ".....and on this Church, I will build My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it".  Added to that is God's Permissive and God's direct will, both under the umbrella of "God's Will", which underscores God's Love and Concern for His Church.  They are largely ignorant too of the "Final Days" or pre the Return of Jesus - it will not be a time of "WOW! I am so happy!" but more possibly, the complete opposite - a time of severe suffering, trial and test..  That too is fully explained in the Catechism including explanation of God's Will.  That severe suffering pre The Return could last 5, 10, up to many years indeed - thousands of years even and even more than that.  The pre Return of Jesus we are already living through.  There is no way of knowing when or how long these terrible times might last, nor how even more terrible they can get specifically for Catholics.  It is all in The Father's heart and mind.  Even Jesus aid that He cannot predict when His Return will be "only The Father knows".

I will try next time to give links to the above Post where links do exist in Church Documents or in the Catholic Catechism.

Well, if you have read right through this Post to this point, you really deserve a gold medal. :drunks:


, :


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I must add that Jesus could return even tonight, tomorrow - or even in the next minute.  We do not know and should not need to know since Jesus tells us only The Father knows.  In other words, it is none of our business whatsoever - an absolute impossibility to all without exception.  We plod along happily in the dark either in will or emotion - best of all, as a human experience, we plod happily along in the dark in both will and emotion.  Apparently, plodding along in the dark in will alone is witnessing to and is most favoured by God - because we are obviously indeed plodding along in the dark for Love of Him, not for a good feeling or feelings.  If it happens that it is emotional only "Eureka!" - and if it does not happen, then ideally "Eureka!" again, i.e.growing in Unity with God's Will.  That journey as insight and understanding of God's Will journey never ends until death too.

Edited by BarbaraTherese
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Satan is Prince of the air (Temporal Sphere), but fear not, for Jesus has overcome Satan. That is, Jesus can ALWAYS go far better -  meaning Jesus ALWAYS can overcome the works of Satan, no matter how extreme, however evil.  Jesus can always overcome evil with good and no matter how extreme, how evil.

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You know, we used to have big brother.  Now we have bigger brother.  Only the Good God knows what the face of biggest brother will be.  We used to have rule books, now we have even bigger rule books - I wonder what the face of the biggest rule book will be?

"The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and putting Jesus to the test, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. 2But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but are you unable to discern the signs of the times? " Matthew Chapter 16

In the main, I don think we can read the signs of the times in which we live.


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https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/religion-and-philosophy/spiritual-life/the-church-will-become-small.html (Catholic Education Resource Centre)

"The church will become small"

CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER (Pope Bendict XV)"The church will become small." from Faith and the Future (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2009). The original publication date of Faith and the Future was 1969

The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.


Excerpt : "She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes . . . she will lose many of her social privileges. . . As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members....

It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek . . . The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain . . . But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.

And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominat social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man's home, where he will find life and hope beyond death."



I cannot find where the Catholic Catechism states about the final times before The Return of Jesus.  The CCC annoys me no end, because the Index is insufficient for someone like me, for an ordinary Catholic lay person.  I have been searching for quite a while now online and cannot find the section in the CCC.  But it has occurred to me that my full Catholic Catechism in book form is somewhere in my library (so called) here.  I have jotted in the back where to find things of particular interest to me and the Page and Reference No.  Tomorrow I will try to find the time to find my copy.  If memory serves, I did jot in the back the Page and Reference No. I am searching for.  It does speak positively to what Pope Benedict said in his book, excerpt above.

Why on earth is the Church not more open where people have things all screwed up, many Catholics included.........and that lack of transparency propagates, permitting growth of screwed up beliefs to grow.

Found it, fell over it. I am so happy The Holy Spirit is not a snob, nor selective! SC Borromeo.org used to have a really excellent search facility of the CCC.  SCB.org went off line for a while years ago and when it returned, one had to find the correct theological word or be able to find zilch.  In the instance of this recent search of mine, the correct word was "millenarianism".  I knew it was formally called one word, but I could not think of what that word was.  Not many quite ordinary Catholics would know the word, I don't think, let alone the meaning.  In fact, I would be surprised if Church rank above ordinary Laity did not hold millenarianism as heresy.  Might be wrong, often am.  Apologies to upstairs, the upper ranks, if I am wrong. :rolleyes:  I have heard outrageous things from upper ranks, even from a pulpit homily.  Not always, thank The Lord. Amen.



http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p1s2c2a7.htm#675 "The Church's ultimate trial

675 Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.574 The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth575 will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.576

676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism,577 especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism.578

677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.579 The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God's victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven.580 God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.581}



20 hours ago, BarbaraTherese said:

the rug as it were is slowly being pulled out more and more

I meant and then forgot to qualify the above.  What I mean is that my physical health rather quickly gets worse... and then more worse.  That puts paid to the plans I had the day before.  There is that saying "tell God your plans and God laughs"  He does not laugh, but I do.  I should know better by now than invest in MY plans. :lol4:

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Here I was donkey's years ago, telling my Carmelite prioress - and goodness, even our Archbishop then, all about my wondrous plans for Bethany as a way of life.  In all these years, I have never got even the remotest sniff of anyone wanting to join me.  Now I am 76 in a few months, living alone totally isolated, almost crippled completely and in a wheelchair, hoping and praying I can pass the Occup. Therapist test driving an electric scooter, so I can get out and about independently, at least, please dear Lord.  I had to sell my car years ago as I could not afford to keep up the cost of it.  I do hope the Good Lord is laughing with me, not at me - I do really think that He is laughing with me, at me.  After all He did for us all, it would such a Joy to know I did give Him a bit of a giggle in Hope from down here.  If ever I was a saint, God help us please, I would demand a lop sided halo and be patron of laughter and sinfulness, or I would stamp my foot and not go along with it one bit. rotfl  You know, someone one day had the unmitigated gall (parish priest) to call me a prophet and a rebel.  It did take one to know one..........after all we are all called and blest with Grace to be Priest, King and Prophet.  I told Father to back right off, I know what happened to all the prophets.  "That is right!" he said.  Jesus was certainly a rebel in His own times, taking to task often the religious leadership.  Trying to wake the jolly fellows up to themselves for their own sakes and for the sake of the people, Israel.

Jesus found a way to teach me about Poverty.  Not so much luck on Obedience, I don't think.  If we cannot laugh at ourselves and our own sacred cows, then we should pack up and go home.  We call it "Good News".  St Teresa of Avila said "Lord, spare me your sour saints" or similar.  He was the only priest I have ever called by his first name.  At one point he eventually wound up parish priest in the outback somewhere or other not all too far from Mistake Creek.  I killed myself laughing.  His first Mass as our parish priest in a previous parish was on a weekday I think it was (very many years ago).  When it came to the homily or when he first walked out of the sacristy - can't remember which, he said, "Well, you probably want to know all about me.  First of all," taking out his top dentures, "I have false teeth".  I thought to myself "I am going to really like this priest" and I did.  I had false teeth too, but at least I always wore shoes. :bye:

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oh dear..........I should have called it a disability scooter or gopher.  Some I have spoken with do not know what a gopher is, some do.  The government will buy it for me out of Package 4 they have allotted to me for disability expenses.  Australian welfare system is outstandingly good and does make outstandingly bad mistakes.  We Aussies like to keep things in balance..............you may have noticed this by now : :smile4:


An electric scooter did set me laughing again................



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For anyone who should happen to read.  Yes, at the moment I am having a nasty bipolar depression episode, but I am staying in touch with my psychiatrist of 20 years it must be.  She rang me Thursday and reassured me that I am working through the episode well. I see her every few weeks, and closer if I feel I need it.  I shared with her my concern for people with whom I do have contact (only on Phatmass....but I didn't say that), in case they get concerned about me because of something I might have said.  It is really their problem, not mine.  Just now I really do have more than enough on my plate.  The episode has been brought on by a negative event,   something of a crisis I guess.  I have only ever had before one bipolar depression - I can't even remember how long ago, it was so long ago.  It was a nightmare.  This one is not as bad. My psychiatrist is happy, because depressive episode in me so far has been not as difficult to treat as a manic high.  There can be mixed episodes i.e manic with an underlying depression; alteratively, depression with an underlying mania.  Good fun.......I don't think.

It is a real support to me and my mental illness especially, that I can drop into this thread and let my hair down. I can't tell you just how much support it is.    I think dUSt is a candidate for canonization.  In the past, I had been kicked out of so many places, so many.............jolly bipolar, it has taken me on a merry dance.  dUSt has not kicked me out of Phatmass.  I have never even received a warning.  I know I can be at times a really bitter pill.........REALLY.  The problem is that at the time, that does not even cross my mind remotely.  I was amazed and burst out crying overcome actually, when my priest religious SD (dec'd) told me our Archbishop had give him permission to celebrate a Home Mass, so I could renew life vows. I was totally unprepared and off guard.  His Grace is very familiar with me and episodes.

Must add, that It is a real nightmare for probably most MI sufferers trying to live out their journey in the general community including in parish communities of my experience.  Here in Australia, stigma is still alive and well, even in my own family.

Over 20 years ago, my then psychiatrist told me that they can make a person able to cope, unlike when first admitted.  The problem is, he told me, that they then have to send the patient back into the same environment that threw them right off balance and unwell in the first place.  That is why apparently many are in the 'revolving door' of a psychiatric unit.

Thanks for listening............God bless..........Barb


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I hope you feel better soon, Barb. I'm glad that you have someone there to help you through things. I've also had a very difficult year for other reasons, but it's important to call on the Lord and hope for a better day.

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18 hours ago, Ash Wednesday said:

I hope you feel better soon, Barb. I'm glad that you have someone there to help you through things. I've also had a very difficult year for other reasons, but it's important to call on the Lord and hope for a better day.

Hi Ash

  ............and thank you very much for the encouragement:)  If I didn't know He was with me, I think I would have tossed in the towel years ago.  Wouldn't surprise me if the only locution I ever heard was "I really did hear you the first time!".  Where would we be without Him, without The Blessed Eucharist and prayer.  I am just amazed at how atheists live out their journeys.  I really am.  I call Him poetically "The Secret Silent Caller".

I am really sorry to hear that good old 2021 has put you through the ropes.  May The Good Lord ever stay with you through thick and thin as He does.  And there I go preaching to the choir again.  I like to choose my battles.........and where I find safety, I cling like crazy.  Phatmass is a safety place for me.  And I am very grateful indeed.  I do not belong to any social platform on the internet.  I did many years and got my fingers burnt.  I learnt the lesson.  Nowadays, my email and Phatmass are the only places I ever visit except if I am trying to research something or other.

I am indeed very well supported, Ash.  Thank you for asking and your kind thoughts. My psychiatrist is well aware of what I am going through.  She rang me last Thursday I think it was.  I told her then that if she wanted to send out an ASSIS team (I think they must have changed their name), it was ok with me.  ASSIS teams are two well experienced senior mental health workers, who can call out on patients living in the general community both to assess and to assist where they can.  If they say a patient has to go in to hospital, the patient must, no options.  I have had them call in the past because my psychiatrist wanted reassurance whether I am ok, or not.  They do report back to her with their assessment.  Last Thursday she was very reassuring and said I was working through things well and that she didn't think it would be a long episode.  She did not think I needed an ASSIS visit either.  She told me in the long ago that my fear of bipolar episodes and my total hatred of being away from my normal life and in a  psychiatric ward makes my stress factor worse for me, in that stress is the factor that triggers my episodes.  All this after 12 long years of no hospital nor troubling mental disturbances. It sort of knocks around my self confidence and self esteem no little, to be honest.  I tell myself with absolute confidence from somewhere or other that it has a very good reason.  I am just not in on the secret - and that is ok with me too, after I pick my chin up off the ground, that is.

I do hope and will pray that your own difficulties will have passed, or will do very soon.  I think you do a marvelous job on Phatmass and I know and respect totally that if you thought I needed a PM, I would receive one.  It just gets me that I can come on Phatmass and let my hair down and just be crazy mixed-up me - and that I am still here.  That is therapeutic and a support that I claim as my support to psychiatry and have done so for a very long time.

When God was handing out brevity and conciseness, guess where I was.............yep! still in the talking que. My psychiatrist in writing to someone she need to write to, stated that I am very honest and straightforward and that it can get me into trouble........and it does.  In that department, I think the saying goes: too old to care, too young to worry.......something like that.

God bless, Ash, and thank you again.

And on the young note.............



He sure has some famous musicians together on the track after the above i.e. "My Back Pages" although it may not play for you............who said Bob Dylan can't sing? Some of the notes are difficult to hit and he nailed them spot on.  

That lead guitarist in The Band is brilliant too.  The whole arrangement is exceptionally beautiful.

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Thank you, Barbara

I did read the entire post, and correct me if I'm wrong, because I want to be on the same page as you.

Temporal sphere= The world that we live in physically.

Spiritual sphere= Heaven, where the angels and saints live.


And here's a summary of what I understand. 

Private vows is still the laity of the Church, not like nuns or sisters. We have a mission, to carry out our Baptismal promises and to follow the Churches teachings most importantly. (I added, this part) This vocation is a private vow to remain in chastity for life and to remain single so that we can have a more prayerful life (end of add in).

Barbara, I hope I didn't get this confused. I noticed you said you view it as vows for the temporal sphere and it does make sense. But, at the same time I hope I read it right!

Also, it's not called because it's done secretly, but because how vows are in a way, I like to say are categorized. That's how I like to say it to make sense to me.

I have a CCC but I will have to do some number digging tomorrow because, it's late at night. I'll make another post when I find it. 

Oh and another thing, and you can't change the vow or sinfully mess up, because there's consequences if you do.

That's the end of what I got from your last post.

Ok, goodnight!

I hope and pray that your depresion goes away. You are very much loved Barbara. 


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