Christ came into the world to preach the news of salvation to the poor (Lk 4:18). He was rich, but he became poor for our sake, to make us rich out of his poverty (2 Cor 8:9). For his sake and the sake of his kingdom, we put ourselves and our possessions at the service of the Congregation.
The vow of poverty limits our right of ownership:
through the vow we renounce the administration, the use and usufruct of our property.
whatever we acquire after profession by our activity or by gifts to us personally becomes the property of the Congregation. We retain the rights of ownership of all goods we possessed before profession and of those which we receive through inheritance and legacy after making profession.
because of our profession we need the permission of the superior to dispose of temporal goods.
We can renounce all inheritance and legacies. To do so, we must:
have been in final vows at least twenty years;
have the permission of the Superior General;
make a written declaration of renunciation which is recognized by civil law.
Whoever wishes to become a permanent member of the Congregation makes before final profession a legally valid will of everything he owns and will acquire by inheritance and legacy (bequest). With the permission of the provincial superior it is possible to make changes in the testament.
Our common ownership has a missionary character. It helps to make means available for the task of the Congregation.
Though external conditions change, we are obliged to live simply and unpretentiously. This is possible only if we strive to acquire an attitude that is above material things. This attitude will enable us to accept more readily Christ's message and proclaim it without encumbrance.
We gratefully accept what the Congregation offers us for living, formation and health. Means that belong to the community we use ap-propriately and manage faithfully. We readily give an account when asked.
Part and parcel of our life of poverty is that we take seriously the law of work, to which all men are subject. Therefore each one will put his time, strength and talents at the disposal of the community (PG 13).
By a simple and unpretentious life we deliberately side with the poor and destitute. At the same time we become an admonition to those who have and enjoy much. Such a life also strengthens us in our loyalty to our vocation, which requires many sacrifices of us.
The individual members, the individual communities and the Congregation from time to time must honestly examine their property and way of living to judge whether their resources are used appropriately and purposefully.
Following the exhortations of Vatican Council II, we seek new forms of poverty for our personal and community life. (PC 13).
Every need we encounter challenges our commitment. Wherever we work among the poor and underprivileged, we shall therefore not only proclaim the Gospel, but we will also be a sign of hope for them by standing up for social justice which will assure them of a life worthy of their human dignity.
We will cooperate as much as possible with undertakings that aim at the eradication of poverty and social injustice. We have the obligation, based on our past, to continue the social work of Abbot Francis Pfanner and Father Bernard Huss.
By our effort to live a life of poverty, we give evidence that:
we are stewards, not owners, of material goods; - it is the duty of all men to have concern for the needs of their fellowmen;
we trust in divine providence (Mt 6:25);
the world as we know it is passing away (1 Cor 7:31).