and opened my heart to love more
widely for the sake of God’s reign.
Like the vow of poverty, this vow
has me living in a particular way—
as an unmarried woman—so I can
love and serve beyond attachments
and possessions. No one can refer
to me and say, she’s mine. I am all
In many ways, it makes absolute-ly no sense that I would renounce
something as good as marriage and
motherhood. But, actually that’s the
point. The vow of celibacy is prophetic because it doesn’t make sense
for this world. Just as the prophets of
the Bible did strange things to make
a point—like eating scrolls (Ezek.
3:1-11) and burying underwear (Jer.
13:1-11), so too is a vow of chastity
bizarre. Some people are particularly
called to this vow in order to make a
point, or to point to God. It’s “heaven
on earth” stuff to say no to marriage,
sex, and children and only a few of
us are really called to it. That’s what
Jesus was talking about when he said
that some have “renounced mar-
permanent vows of
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come from our convent’s “clothing
exchange.” The simple living I choose
as a sister, however, reminds me to
stand in solidarity with those whose
poverty causes pain and deprivation.
Another aspect of the vow of
poverty is that consuming less means
being in a positive relationship with
Earth and being a good caretaker of
God’s creation; we pollute less, de-
crease our carbon footprints, and live
as sustainably as our means allow.
We honor our oneness with creation,
God’s designs, through these choices
(Col. 1: 16).
When I vowed chastity I volun-
tarily dedicated my body to God