First vows

August 17, 2022 in Niall's Notes
Peter Faber first vows Montmartre with Ignatius


On Monday we celebrated the Assumption of Our Lady, the feast day on which St. Ignatius and the first Jesuits took their first vows. In this month’s email I offer you a few reflections on a Jesuit’s first vows, both then and now, and also on our vow of poverty. Also please let me know if you want to attend the Zoom meeting on Saturday and I will send you the link.

The first first vows

The first Jesuits took their vows at Montmartre, Paris, on 15th August 1534. They were just finishing their theology studies and Pierre Favre (Peter Faber) was the only ordained priest among them, so he presided at the Mass. They made their vows to Jesus, really present in the Eucharist, while the host was elevated. Simon Rodrigues, who was present, gave the following account:

“Father Favre celebrated Mass. Before giving his companions the divine nourishment, he turned to them, holding the Holy Host in his hand. They, kneeling on the ground, their spirit in God, pronounced their vow one after another (from where they were) in a clear voice so that all might hear; then, together, they received the Eucharist. After this the Father turned towards the altar and, before taking the vivifying bread, pronounced his vow in a clear and distinct voice so that all could hear.”

Fr. Peter Hans Kolvenbach, former Superior General of the Society, gave this homily about the momentous occasion.

First vows today

After two years in the novitiate Jesuit novices take their first vows. On 3rd September, an Irish novice, Eamonn Walls, will make his vows in Birmingham, UK. It is always a joyful occasion which reminds every Jesuit present of his own first vows and his original commitment. I’m delighted to be attending this year.


Our vow of poverty doesn’t mean that we have to beg on the street every day. But it does mean that we have to live simply, share everything and be willing to let go of it at any moment. You can watch this short reflection on our vow of poverty.

Zoom meeting this Saturday

This Saturday at 10 am (Irish time) I will host a Zoom meeting for anyone who is interested in finding out more about Jesuit life and joining the Jesuits. Eamonn Walls will join us so it is a chance to ask him some questions. If you would like to attend, email me and I will send you the link.

With every good wish and blessing,

Fr. Niall