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A commitment made to God to practice poverty, chastity, obedience, or some other virtue for a specified length of time. when made in a religious institute, the vows are public, being accepted by the superior in the name of the Church. the first vows of religion are generally temporary, to be renewed according to the constitutions and preliminary to perpetual vows. But they do not, therefore, imply only a temproary commitment. They are canonically temproary, so that after they expire the one who made them is free to leave the institute of Christian perfection. But intentionally, even the person who takes only temporary vows should have the desire to persevere in the vowed commitment until death.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.