Today we post the second installment for our series on Consecrated Virginity from our guest author, Dawn Hausmann. You can catch the first installment here. Thanks, Dawn!
The vocation of Consecrated Virginity is quite unique and yet embodies what we, as Church, are all called to be before God in eternity, united with Him as His Bride, His Body. The Consecrated Virgin’s calling and life is centered on being the Bride of Christ in the world. She is espoused to Him, her Maker, and is an image of the living Church while at the same time she is to pray for and be a member of the Church. Her life’s mission is of prayer and is to follow the Lamb wherever He leads and to respond to His promptings with a great “yes” to whatever He may ask of her. She lives in the world, not in a structured community or convent as Religious Sisters do, and financially supports herself in whatever career or ministry that she may feel called to undertake in the world.
Regarding commitment, the Consecrated Virgin promises to continue living a life of virginity for the kingdom of God all the days of her life. She is called to a life of chastity, giving a total gift of herself back to the Lord who gives a total gift of Himself to us, His Church. This gift is only made possible by the grace of Baptism which has called us to love as God loves.
The Consecrated Virgin wears no habit as Religious Sisters do, however, she is to dress modestly as fitting for one consecrated to Christ. She is also called to live a life of simplicity and is under obedience of the Diocesan Bishop of which she lives. She lives a life of prayer and is required to pray the prayer of the Church, the Liturgy of the Hours (at minimum, the Morning and Evening Hours although all seven are encouraged). She is normally active and present in her local church community, attending daily Mass when possible.
As for the process of becoming a Consecrated Virgin, this varies from diocese to diocese. In our Diocese of Lansing, a woman would first petition her bishop by writing a letter stating something regarding her feeling a call to this form of consecrated life. Once the bishop acknowledges the letter and if he sees no obstacle to the woman pursuing this vocation then he will give her the okay to begin meeting with a Consecrated Virgin monthly to discuss articles and aspects of living as a consecrated virgin in the world. It is a bit like a mentorship. The process may take a few years or more depending on the situation of each woman coming to discern the vocation. It is also important to know and speak with other Consecrated Virgins who one may meet through friends, acquaintances, through contact of the diocese, or through being a member of the Association of Consecrated Virgins. Once the bishop sees that the woman is called, prepared and adequately ready to enter the vocation, the woman will become consecrated by the bishop in a ceremony that resembles something of a wedding, the Bridegroom being Christ.
This vocation is quite unique and is certainly a special calling for those women invited by God to remain in the world, being the salt and light of Christ, and yet completely given to Him. The Consecrated Virgin is “set aside” for her Lord, to belong to Him.
This description of the life of a Consecrated Virgin is from the view of a woman discerning this vocation. This vocation is very unique and personal to each woman who is being called by Christ to be His spouse. There really is no mold to which each woman will “fit” into this vocation but Christ and the Consecrated Virgin work out the spirituality, the details, and the way of living out this “marriage” in the world.
For more information regarding this vocation, I would encourage you to visit this website for resources: http://www.consecratedvirgins.org/
God bless you in your journey in seeking the Lord’s will for your life.
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