Perpetual or Final, That Is the Question

In a little over two months, I will be making perpetual profession of vows as a Dominican Sister of Sinsinawa. Some have asked how ‘perpetual’ vows and ‘final’ vows differ. Technically, they don’t. Final and perpetual can mean the same thing. In reality, for me, there is a big difference in the sound, meaning, and intentionality of those words.  

One definition of ‘final’ is “finishing, end, terminating”. (Kaput!) On the other hand, one definition of ‘perpetual’ is “never ending or changing”. (A fidelity to discernment.)

For me, ‘final’ is harsh and linear in comparison to ‘perpetual’, which seems more integrated and whole, representing a dynamic and ongoing conversation with God, rather than, “At last, I’ve reached my goal. I’m outta here!”

I think we are each called to live perpetually, rather than finally, to be constantly attuned to nuances in God’s voice, to where God is calling us, to what God is calling us, and to how God is calling us to do it…to how God is calling us ‘to be’, no matter the place or stage of life we find ourselves.

How is life for you? Are you living it finally or perpetually?

Kathy Flynn OP
Sinsinawa, WI 


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