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adoro.te.devote

question about private vows

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adoro.te.devote

Hello,

I am interested in the topic of private vows and unfortunately it's very hard to find any detailed information about this. Perhaps someone here has made a private vow of chastity, or has read about others who have (including the Saints), and could help with my question?

I am currently living with a temporary private vow and I would like to make it perpetual. (I have a spiritual director guiding me). I am also discerning religious life, but I don't know the future. This perpetual vow, if I am allowed to make it, would be the special day of giving myself forever to Our Lord.

Although I realize that private vows do not place someone in the consecrated state, and do not confer the grace of being a bride of Christ in the way that Consecration of Virgins does, a private vow of chastity is still a self-giving to Christ. For a woman, it is hard to make this self-giving in chastity and not have it be spousal in spirituality. 

I've wondered if private vows can participate in the Church's reality as Bride in some way, though less so than religious life. This is my first question.

And the second question, is related: is it appropriate for a woman making a private vow of chastity to wear a white dress? I don't mean a fancy wedding gown, but just a simple white dress. I've dreamed of this day for a long time and I'd like to make it as special as possible, even if later on I would be able to enter some sort of public consecrated life. (I don't know this).

I tried looking at the lives of the Saints, and St Kateri comes to mind, as she made a private vow, and described her decision in very spousal terms. I am trying to read up on others like St Gemma Galgani and St Rose of Lima (who was in a third order but not a nun). 

Thank you so much! God bless!

Edited by adoro.te.devote

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Sponsa-Christi

First of all, a perpetual private vow doesn't impede you from entering religious life, but if you're discerning a private vow as your life vocation, it might be better to clarify whether you're called to religious life or not first.

As much as I'm against "fall back" vocations, if a private vow is going to be your definitive commitment to Christ, you would want to know that on the day you make it---as opposed to wondering: "Is this it, or will I be making religious vows later?"

A private vow can be made in the company of witnesses, even quite a few witnesses. So, nothing would stop you from making a private vow in a white dress with your family and friends present. 

However, the big caveat is that in making a private vow, you really should do anything that would confuse people as to its private nature. So, you shouldn't make it in the context of a Mass (although right before or right after a privately-celebrated Mass of thanksgiving could work), it shouldn't be a general invitation to the entire diocese, it should be clear to everyone present that it's a simple private vow, etc. 

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adoro.te.devote
10 minutes ago, Sponsa-Christi said:

First of all, a perpetual private vow doesn't impede you from entering religious life, but if you're discerning a private vow as your life vocation, it might be better to clarify whether you're called to religious life or not first.

As much as I'm against "fall back" vocations, if a private vow is going to be your definitive commitment to Christ, you would want to know that on the day you make it---as opposed to wondering: "Is this it, or will I be making religious vows later?"

A private vow can be made in the company of witnesses, even quite a few witnesses. So, nothing would stop you from making a private vow in a white dress with your family and friends present. 

However, the big caveat is that in making a private vow, you really should do anything that would confuse people as to its private nature. So, you shouldn't make it in the context of a Mass (although right before or right after a privately-celebrated Mass of thanksgiving could work), it shouldn't be a general invitation to the entire diocese, it should be clear to everyone present that it's a simple private vow, etc. 

Thank you Sponsa Christi!

I had the idea to wear a white dress and make it a special day between Jesus and me, but only have my director present

I totally see what you mean about discerning about religious life first... I am in a very tricky situation where I have some obstacles that might prevent me from joining a community (and then it would be past the age limit for the type of communities I'd consider), and I don't know when this would be totally clear. There is currently no community for me to join that would work out with my situation - at this point.

My options are basically to wait for a few years and see if something would be possible then, and then discern if I should make a perpetual vow, or just give myself to God now and see what happens. It's been really hard to wait to give myself totally to Him, to be honest, and I've been living with a temporary vow for a few years now - so I thought of making it perpetual while I'm waiting (as it might be a while to even find out, and I don't know if I'd ever get to enter anywhere). 

It might be possible to seek some sort of consecrated life in the world later on, if religious life doesn't work out, but this is in a very distant reality for me as I'd like to see about religious life first

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Chiquitunga

Praised be Jesus Christ! Hi! That’s beautiful that you wish to make a perpetual vow! God bless you! I have been in this situation too, and would still like to make a private perpetual vow, although a Carmel accepted me to enter. Who knows if I can persevere, but if it’s God’s will He will give me the grace. But to be a bride of Christ has always been what is most important. If religious life or Carmel, etc. is my path toward that, great; and if not great too - whatever He wants.

Many of the Carmelite saints made private perpetual vows in their youths like St. Elizabeth of the Trinity and St. Maravillas of Jesus. It isn’t necessary to receive permission from a priest to do this, although I have heard it is recommended and better. Perhaps these saints weren’t even aware of this since they were quite young when doing so. 
 

I have this book on Sr. Marie Angelique called Flame of Joy that’s been out of print for a while. I am not sure of her status, Servant of God, maybe.. But in France she’s one of the much loved Carmelites along with Blessed Marie of the Incarnarion, St. Therese, etc. Anyway she was in this exact position too and though she felt a strong call to Carmel, she was impeded from entering for a while, and made the decision with her director to make a perpetual vow in the meantime, not giving up hope that one day she might enter Carmel. She referred to the day she did so as her wedding day. And then eventually she was able to enter Carmel and took vows there as well right before she died. 
 

I will go get the book and read through it and see if there is anything else she says it. 

Here’s one of my old posts on Sr. Marie Angelique, although I see the pictures don’t show up anymore. But there are some links to blog posts about her, etc :nun1: (oh wow I’ve missed using these nun emojis!! :love:)

 

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adoro.te.devote

oh how beautiful! Thank you so much! I need to make sure to read about Sr Marie Angelique. I've been looking for Saints who made private vows - whether they later became religious too, or not. Maybe one day I would be, but even if not, I know I want Jesus to always be my only love. 

That is so wonderful that you have been accepted into a Carmel! :nunpray: (haha nun emojis!) prayers for you and God bless you!!

Ps. do you happen to remember why Sr Marie Angelique was prevented from entering Carmel at first? (I'm just looking for another saintly friend haha :heart:)

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Chiquitunga

Thank you so much adoro! I have one impediment left but please God I can go soon :nun3:

I came back here by the way, also to post this. You may also love to get to know Blessed Josefa Naval, Discalced Carmelite Secular who made a private vow of virginity too. I haven’t read any books on her, just this so far, but I’m sure there’s more. God bless you!
 

https://www.meditationsfromcarmel.com/content/blessed-josefa-naval-girbes-ocds

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adoro.te.devote

Wonderful! Thank you!! I hope everything works out and Our Lord soon removes the remaining obstacle! :heart::nun:

Edited by adoro.te.devote

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Chiquitunga
25 minutes ago, adoro.te.devote said:

Ps. do you happen to remember why Sr Marie Angelique was prevented from entering Carmel at first? (I'm just looking for another saintly friend haha :heart:)

It was a combination of taking care of her mother and her mother’s opposition, like Elizabeth of the Trinity. But I’m going to go review the book again to see if I can share anything else. Sadly the book is really hard to get ahold of. The Eugene Carmel used to print it, but they have stopped not only this one but all of their books now. I heard an OCDS near them might start publishing everything again, but I’m not sure when. 

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adoro.te.devote
1 hour ago, Chiquitunga said:

It was a combination of taking care of her mother and her mother’s opposition, like Elizabeth of the Trinity. But I’m going to go review the book again to see if I can share anything else. Sadly the book is really hard to get ahold of. The Eugene Carmel used to print it, but they have stopped not only this one but all of their books now. I heard an OCDS near them might start publishing everything again, but I’m not sure when. 

oh! I have family difficulties too (amidst other things) so this is really good to know. If you see anything there about her private vow I'd be so happy to learn more!! :) thank you!!

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adoro.te.devote

I just thought I'd repost what I said in the other thread cause it relates to private vows...I know this is all getting so technical but I've been trying to study the topic as best I can

"I read Pope Pius XII's encyclical on Virginity again and it says there that everyone who has the virtue of virginity (which means a perpetual vow of chastity, as I found out) is considered a spouse of Christ. It just needs to be perpetual. Even for those who have sinned against chastity in the past, they recover the purpose of virginity if they intend on living celibately after, and if they make a perpetual vow, it seems that they recover the virtue of virginity. (I tried looking up the Summa lol). This way of looking at it would make anyone who has vowed themselves to God, His spouse.

I'm still trying to figure out the link of this to the consecrated state, and what is the case for those with private vows, but the encyclical/other sources just said "vow" in general. Perhaps for CVs it's more official, more direct, like the constitutive sacramental as described in the other thread... but it doesn't mean that others can't use that imagery and that their gift to God doesn't have something spousal about it. I'm saying this because I think it's rare for someone to vow themselves to God in some way and not feel drawn to being His bride, it's a very feminine thing and tied into our identity as women"

I also remember reading about a mystic whom Jesus called to live with a private vow in the world, and her discernment of this was very very spousal, and also how Jesus spoke to her about this... I forget her name though!

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Chiquitunga
On 7/31/2020 at 2:24 PM, adoro.te.devote said:

I'm saying this because I think it's rare for someone to vow themselves to God in some way and not feel drawn to being His bride, it's a very feminine thing and tied into our identity as women"

I also remember reading about a mystic whom Jesus called to live with a private vow in the world, and her discernment of this was very very spousal, and also how Jesus spoke to her about this... I forget her name though!


Oh yes, for sure. I think every lay mystic I’ve heard of who was in a private vow was exactly this way too.. but I am guessing perhaps you mean this one. What an intense life! 

https://www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2014/01/blessed-maria-bolognesi-mystic-who.html?m=1

But yeah, I wouldn’t analyze and worry too much over this. I was listening to a talk by Fr. Ripperger recently where he was saying how totally simply God is, while we are so complicated, me included! :stars: :hehe:

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adoro.te.devote
6 hours ago, Chiquitunga said:


Oh yes, for sure. I think every lay mystic I’ve heard of who was in a private vow was exactly this way too.. but I am guessing perhaps you mean this one. What an intense life! 

https://www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2014/01/blessed-maria-bolognesi-mystic-who.html?m=1

But yeah, I wouldn’t analyze and worry too much over this. I was listening to a talk by Fr. Ripperger recently where he was saying how totally simply God is, while we are so complicated, me included! :stars: :hehe:

haha Fr Ripperger is amesome! and that's so true. i think someday in Heaven it would be so strange to see the things we worried about here on earth! lol. 

oh I actually meant a different mystic but I'm happy to hear about Blessed Maria because that means there are more like this!! :)  (I'm reading the article now and wow she did have a very intense life... so much suffering too!) 

that website is so informative... there is also this mystic!! https://www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2015/01/maria-teresa-carloni-modern-day-mystic.html

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