Category Archives: Religious Profession

What is a Religious Profession Anniversary?

Celebrating the Day We Dedicated Our Lives to This Community

Monks of Conception Abbey who celebrated their Religious Profession Anniversary on August 15.This article explaining the religious profession anniversary is a follow-up to last month’s article on Religious Profession.

The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15 is a special day at Conception Abbey. For the past several years, most of the monks of Conception Abbey have professed their first vows on August 15. As a result, many of us share a common religious profession anniversary.

Every night at supper we announce the names of monks celebrating their religious profession anniversary the following day. We also announce death and ordination anniversaries. (If there will not be reading for some reason, we announce an extra day or two ahead.) The list for most days fits in the space for a day on the calendar. Because the group is so big, the list for August 15 takes almost a whole page!

Jubilee: A Special Religious Profession Anniversary

On a broader scale, it is not just monks who celebrate their anniversary. Many vowed religious men and women celebrate the anniversary of their profession. It is just like married couples celebrating the anniversary of their wedding. A significant religious profession anniversary of 25 or 50 years is called a jubilee. It is also common to call anniversaries of 60, 70, or 75 years a jubilee.

Origin of “Jubilee”

Not surprisingly, the term “jubilee” is actually biblical. In Leviticus 25:8-13 we read how God instructed the Israelites to

            “…count off seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the period of seven weeks of years gives forty-nine years…. 10 And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you…”

Celebrating with Them

Celebrating You on Your Golden Jubilee - Religious Profession Anniversary CardSince the monks of Conception Abbey run The Printery House, we understand religious profession. We are ready to help you celebrate with all of the special religious sisters, brothers, and priests in your life. Check out our selection of cards for Religious Profession and Profession Anniversaries.

For religious themselves and their communities, our series of ordination invitation materials contains some pieces appropriate for celebrating profession anniversaries and jubilees. Here are some of the more appropriate general designs:

We custom print all of these pieces with your own text inside.

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Two monks making vows at their religious profession

Understanding Religious Profession

Religious Profession – What is it?

First, I’d like to clarify the meaning of the term “religious profession.” It refers to an event, not a job. The reference is to making or “professing” vows as a way of committing to a religious community. This usually occurs in a formal ceremony. It may also include the giving of a new name. Think of it like marriage. The couple professes vows in a public ceremony. Then their family and friends recognize them as in a way being different people. They will celebrate the anniversary of this event as long as they both live.

The Vows

The most common vows for Catholic religious are chastity, poverty, and obedience. However, as Benedictine monks, our explicit vows are a bit different. We profess obedience to the abbot, stability in the community,
and fidelity to the monastic way of life. The way of life includes chastity and personal poverty by implication (and according to our Constitution).

More Definitions

As further clarification, “religious” is used as a noun to refer to someone who has made the religious vows.  “Profession” is used in this context as a noun referring to the event. To be explicit one could say “profession of vows.” In most uses, however, “profession” implies the vows just like “marrying” does.

Profession vs. Ordination

Furthermore, religious profession is not the same as ordination. In fact, we consider them two separate yet compatible vocations. Men as well as women profess religious vows. Men who do this are “brothers.” Professed women are “sisters.” If a male religious is also ordained a priest, the usual form of address is “Father” instead. Priests usually have pastoral and sacramental ministries. Brothers and sisters, on the other hand, are devoted to non-sacramental work and prayer. Both are vital to the life of the Church.

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