Inward and Outward Simplicity

Far more than a legal obligation or social contract, religious vows express that one is wholly given over to living the way Jesus lived: obediently, communally, chastely and with great inward and outward simplicity. Here we summarize the vows professed by all Trappist brothers and sisters.

Obedience. As followers of Christ who came not to do his own will but the will of the Father who sent Him, we promise obedience to an abbot or abbess. This obedience is characterized by a quality of soul that makes us willing to put our own desires aside even to the point of preferring another’s wishes.

Stability. We commit ourselves for life to one community, resisting the temptation to escape our truth through restless movement. We work out our salvation together in faith, hope and love—gradually entrusting ourselves to God’s mercy in the company of brothers or sisters who know us and accept us as we are.

Conversion of Life. We promise to live the monastic way of life as a means of learning the truth about ourselves in ways that enable change. Knowing ourselves as we really are, we become radically dependent on the Jesus who shows us God’s mercy. Confident in God’s forgiveness, we experience intimacy with god and are born to a new kind of life. Our vow of Conversion binds us also to a free and joyful observance of voluntary poverty and chastity.

Poverty. We possess nothing of our own and hold everything in common with our brothers and sisters as a way to free ourselves from the self-centeredness that separates us from God and others. Being poor with the poor Christ, we experience His need for God and God’s manifest mercy.

Celibate Chastity. To liberate the love of our hearts for service to Jesus, we embrace celibacy and renounce married love. This radical discipline, sustained only by prayer, does not separate us from the riches of human love but is a means by which that love is taken up and fulfilled as a gift to the church and world.