As we all know, on the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25), all the Daughters of Charity renew their vows. They do so year after year, at the will of the Founders. They normally renew their vows in the context of the Eucharist. This year, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we know that not all the Daughters of Charity will be able to have the Eucharist, but they will all be able to celebrate a liturgy of the Word in their respective communities.
What does it mean to renew the vows annually? (cf. C 28 a) Unlike women religious, for whom the vows constitute them as religious, the vows for the Daughters of Charity are the confirmation of their total dedication to God to serve him in the poor. Father Lloret said: “You do not take vows to become a Daughter of Charity, but because you are a Daughter of Charity and to be more so every day.”
The fact that the vows are annual and renewable does not detract from their importance. That the vows are temporary is not a sign that they are provisional but rather a sign of spiritual dynamism and an impulse for a progressive deepening of the vocation. Intentionally this option is life-long. The annual renewal is a “yes” to the vocation without discontinuity. The fact that they are done for a year does not mean that the answer to the vocation is equally for a year. Santa Luisa said: “We do not receive anyone who does not intend to live and die in the Company.” Fidelity to the vocation includes perseverance in it, although the vows are renewed every year. Faced with the possibility of relativizing the vows due to the fact that they are annual, Saint Vincent affirmed: “It would be better not to do them than to intend to dispense from them whenever you want.”
Fr. Javier Alvarez, CM