Final Vows

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"In All Things:
I, [name] make my profession, and I promise to Almighty God, in the presence of the Virgin Mother, the whole heavenly court, and all those here present, and to you, Reverend Father [provincial's name], representing the Superior General of the Society of Jesus and his successors and holding the place of God, perpetual poverty, chastity and obedience; and, in conformity with it, special care for the instruction of children, according to the manner of living contained in the apostolic letters of the Society of Jesus and its Constitutions. I further promise a special obedience to the Sovereign Pontiff in regard to the missions according to the same apostolic letters and the Constitutions.
After "solemn" vows, the "fully professed" take five "simple" vows, privately--after Mass, in a side chapel or a sacristy. These vows show how well St. Ignatius understood human nature.
  • First, we vow never to change anything in the Jesuit Constitutions about poverty--unless to make it "more strict."
  • Second, a vow never to "strive or ambition" for any dignity in the church, like becoming a bishop.
  • Third, never to "strive or ambition" for any high office in the Jesuits.
  • Fourth, if we find out that someone is striving for these things, we are to "communicate his name" to the Society. (A friend calls this the vow to rat out someone, but it's another indication of how much Ignatius wanted to eliminate ambition, as far as possible, from the Jesuits.)
  • Finally, we take a vow that, if we are somehow made bishop, we will still listen to the superior general.