Consecrated Virgins

Some women in the Catholic Church have discerned that their vocation is to live a life completely devoted to Jesus Christ, consecrated as his bride and an image of the Church’s spousal love for the Bridegroom.

The oldest form of consecrated religious life is to be consecrated as a virgin living in the world. The Blessed Virgin Mary was the first consecrated virgin in Christianity.

Since the early days of the Church, many women have been consecrated in the Ordo Virginum, including several saints and martyrs determined to live a life of celibacy and chastity in the midst of the world.

Women are consecrated by a bishop in a solemn rite where she receives a ring to wear and the Liturgy of the Hours to pray. As a sacred person, she is under his authority and serves him in his diocese.

Unlike nuns or sisters who live together in religious communities, consecrated virgins live on their own and wear no habit. They support themselves financially while witnessing to Jesus Christ in their ordinary lives and professions.

Exclusively for women, the vocation waned by the 15th century until a revival began in the mid 1800s. The Rite of Consecrated Virgins was restored by the Second Vatican Council in 1970.

Consecrated virgins living in the world:

The Church’s oldest vocation:

I should like you to be free of anxieties. An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and he is divided. An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy in both body and spirit. A married woman, on the other hand, is anxious about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. I am telling you this for your own benefit, not to impose a restraint upon you, but for the sake of propriety and adherence to the Lord without distraction.

1 Corinthians 7: 32-35

A deeper commitment to Christ:

A vocation specifically for women:

Women who are held in high esteem:

“Virgins who, committed to the holy plan of following Christ more closely, are consecrated to God by the diocesan bishop according to the approved liturgical rite, are betrothed mystically to Christ, the Son of God, and are dedicated to the service of the Church.” By this solemn rite (Consecratio virginum), the virgin is “constituted . . . a sacred person, a transcendent sign of the Church’s love for Christ, and an eschatological image of this heavenly Bride of Christ and of the life to come.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church 923

Manifesting the Bridegroom and his Church:

An image of the Church as a bride of Christ:

Worthy of special consideration is the reflection that the most delicate fruit of virginity consists in this, that virgins make tangible, as it were, the perfect virginity of their mother, the Church and the sanctity of her intimate union with Christ. In the ceremony of the consecration of virgins, the consecrating prelate prays God: “that there may exist more noble souls who disdain the marriage which consists in the bodily union of man and woman, but desire the mystery it enshrines, who reject its practice while loving its mystic signification.”

Pope Pius XII, Sacra Virginitas, 25 March 1954

A unique vocation:

Swimming against the tide:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Having no reasons not to be Catholic:

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