All members of the SJM make the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, in order to unite themselves more closely with Christ and to consecrate themselves more perfectly for the salvation of souls in the service of the Church.
The vow of poverty consists above all in the total renunciation of personal property. Everything which the individual religious uses or receives belongs to the community. Even when a religious needs the assistance of plenteous material aids for the sake his pastoral duties, he is obliged by the vow of poverty not to hang his heart upon the things of this world, but to use them, as if he used them not. (cf. 1 Cor vii. 31).
"In the consecrated life, Christ's faithful, moved by the Holy Spirit, propose to follow Christ more nearly, to give themselves to God who is loved above all and, pursuing the perfection of charity in the service of the Kingdom, to signify and proclaim in the Church the glory of the world to come" (Catechism of the Catholic Church 916).
Furthermore, care should be taken by religious that they keep a simple and modest lifestyle, together with the readiness to undertake every task eagerly, and to go absolutely anywhere - even at the expense of personal comfort - if there is more hope to further the Glory of God. In this sense, poverty also includes with it the mobility and freedom necessary for the service of the salvation of souls.
The vow of chastity is of central significance, because through it in a special way the perfect commitment of the religious to Christ, the spouse of his soul, finds expression. The conscious renunciation of marriage and family is not a "no" to friendship and relationship, but rather a joyful "yes" to the highest and most beautiful relationship, to friendship with Jesus. With his undivided love for God, the religious gives witness to the world that it is worth it to give oneself totally to God. Meanwhile, he remains free to serve all people who are entrusted to him, without respect of persons and without letting personal likes or dislikes get in the way.
While the first two vows help a religious not to hang his heart upon possessions or on other people, the third vow of obedience frees him from self-will. By this is of course not meant the rejection of personal reasoning or of one’s own initiative, but rather a voluntary self-subordination in the service of a higher, common mission - for the sake of the love of Christ, who for our sake "became obedient unto death, death on a Cross" (Phil ii.8).
This of course always takes place under the condition that no sin is commanded, since obedience in its final consequence is always carried out for the sake of God. In addition, the SJM connects with obedience a special fidelity to the Pope and to the Magisterium of the Church. The Bishop of Rome is the Vicar of Christ on Earth, the Guarantor of the true faith and the rock upon which the Church stands secure. For this reason, the members of the SJM make an effort "to live out an exceptional fidelity to the Pope and his highest Magisterium, and to prove themselves as worthy workers in the preservation of the unity of the Church and the purity of the faith" (from the decree of papal approval).