The first part of the postsynodal exhortation Vita consecrata (March 25, 1996) contains many doctrinal advances on the evangelical origin of this form of life, on the three evangelical counsels, on consecration and founding charems, all seen in the light of the Transfiguration. The second part leaves open several questions which relate to an ecclesiology of communion. The third part describes the missionary field which it understands to go from education to the universal search for God. In conclusion, the consecrated life is compared to the perfume of Bethany, precious because of its being offered freely. This document is exceptional in its capacity to inspire thought and renew action.