Jesuit Reflects on Taking Final Vows in the Society

Jesuit Father Joseph MuellerJesuit Father Joseph Mueller, a professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee, recently professed his final vows to the Society of Jesus, the same vows St. Ignatius took when he founded the religious order in 1534.

Fr. Mueller joined the Jesuits soon after graduating from Marquette, and his recent final vows come after years of preparation and reflection.

“I realized in college I actually thought the way the Jesuits thought and looked at the world the way they do,” Fr. Mueller said.

Besides the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience that Fr. Mueller took after two years as a Jesuit novice, the final vows include a vow of special obedience to the pope.

“When I make these final vows, they’re again a perpetual commitment on my part,” Fr. Mueller said. “It’s a lifelong commitment. But this time, the condition that was on them before is no longer there. The Jesuits are saying we think you worked out. You’re in.”

According to Jesuit Father James Martin in an America magazine article on final vows, “It’s somewhat like making tenure (you’re already a professor, but now you’re a ‘full’ one). It’s somewhat like making partner in a law firm (you’re already a member of a law firm, but now you’re a ‘full one).”

“I decided to become a Jesuit when I was a student here. I did it because I thought that’s what God wants me to do. I think Marquette students could benefit from listening for that kind of call from God,” Fr. Mueller said.

Read more about Fr. Mueller’s final vows at the Marquette Tribune.

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