Consecration is the basis of religious life. By insisting on this, the Church places the first emphasis on the initiative of God and on the transforming relation to him which religious life involves. Consecration is a divine action. God calls a person whom he sets apart for a particular dedication to himself. At the same time, he offers the grace to respond so that consecration is expressed on the human side by a profound and free self-surrender. The resulting relationship is pure gift. It is a covenant of mutual love and fidelity, of communion and mission, established for God's glory, the joy of the person consecrated and the salvation of the world (EE 5).
Christ became poor for our sake, He loved with an undivided heart, and He came to do the will of the Father. For the sake of all the members of His Body, God gives to some souls "the gift of a closer following of Christ in His poverty, chastity, and obedience through a public profession of these counsels mediated by the Church" (EE 7). Covering the whole of her life in all its aspects, the vows free the consecrated woman to love Christ Crucified and to belong entirely to Him.
Poverty frees her from enslavement to the world and all its attractions. It gives her the ability to pass through this life unhampered by the burdens and concerns of personal possessions, by which we are all too often possessed. Chastity frees her to love the whole Christ, Head and members. Her love is not stifled but expanded until it reaches and embraces the image of her Spouse in every soul. Obedience frees her from the powerful dictatorship of self will. It prepares her to hear and respond joyfully to the whisper of her Beloved. The vows are the soul's response to the call of Love.