Vow of Poverty?


I’m in the process of learning more about Secular Institutes. Most/all seem to take a vow of poverty, but my question is what does this really mean? If I think of my own situation, I’m single and I have an okay-paying job (imo), but I also live in the 2nd most expensive city in the US. So just the basics are not cheap or even reasonable for some things. Beyond my cost of living, however, I would be expected to take care of my retirement, healthcare, and possible emergencies (temporary joblessness, unexpected illness, etc.). Honestly, if I paid for the basics (rent, heat, food, work clothes), saved what I’m supposed for retirement and emergencies, and tithed/gave to charity there wouldn’t be anything left over. So is that a life of poverty? I don’t feel impoverished. I’m meeting my obligations and have some leftover for savings. I do also have some leftover for movies and dinner with friends here and there, but it’s not often or lavish.

It seems to me that ‘living simply’ could mean many, varying things. What does it really mean in this circumstance?


It’s difficult to give an answer to this that will be applicable to all persons and all institutes. Thus the general definition of a modest and frugal lifestyle is given. For a better grasp on what is required regarding the vow of each secular institute, speak to the superior. For an understanding of how, even being unvowed as you are at this point, you are able to live in evangelical poverty, talk to your spiritual director.

God bless.


What I have come to understand is more about attachment than actual poverty. You see, if we are able to sustain ourselves it is our duty to do so, and if we can make more money we should increase it; however, what we do with this is the answer.

You are right in saying you can not live properly in todays society, but neither do the Priest, Nuns and others, the laws make it hard to have a farm in the city. If we are able to sustain them it is our duty to do so. The money we make is a gift from God.

Work, Pray and give Alms. Make all the money you can, but spend the money where is needed, spend the money in your neighbor. Help the church, help the homeless and you will see that you hold no treasure on earth but in heaven.

If you are able not to attach your self to anything and can give it freely, you have reached true poverty.

Remember there are holy people that where kings and had much property. :thumbsup:


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