What are Evangelical Counsels?
he Evangelical Counsels are more commonly known as the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. They are three ways of pledging oneself to live as Christ lived in areas that cover the whole of life: possessions, affections, and autonomy. Each vow emphasizes a relation to Jesus, and we see Him as the model of living each vow.
Jesus was rich but became poor for our sakes, emptying Himself and having nowhere to lay His head. Following in His example, a Sister makes the free choice to forgo the use and disposal of her property and belongings, depending on her religious family for the material provision that she needs. Like the early disciples, Religious Sisters share all things in common, and in that way, no one goes “wanting.” This, of course, implies the living of a poor and simple lifestyle. We also acknowledge a “poverty of spirit” which implies our great need for God, as we become more aware of our own emptiness.
Jesus loved with undivided heart, universally and to the end. A Sister is challenged with that same call for generous love for all. She is dedicated to living a chaste life in her thoughts, words, and deeds, avoiding any behavior, personal relationships, and forms of recreation incompatible with this credible witness to a total dedication to chastity.
Jesus came to do the Father’s will, and He did that consistently, never wavering from what the Father had asked of Him, even if it involved suffering. A Religious Sister is pledged to obey the directives of her lawful superiors according to the Constitutions of the particular Institute.