What is Consecrated Virginity?

According to the Code of Canon Law, a consecrated virgin is consecrated to God by her diocesan bishop, enters a public state of consecrated in the Church, and is betrothed mystically to Christ. Her life is one of perpetual virginity.

What isn’t a consecrated virgin?

The consecrated virgin does not join a religious order or live in community. She does not wear a habit or use the title “Sister.” She lives her life individually under the direction of the Bishop, but is not supported financially by the diocese.

She lives a simple, modest life, in which she witnesses “by her virginal life given exclusively to Jesus Christ.” (from Archbishop Burke, Questions and Answers in “Preparation Process,” USACV Information Packet, revised August 2009)

As of 2018, there were 254 consecrated virgins in the United States.

Here are some more facts about consecrated virginity, taken from the Conde of Canon Law:

  • Can. 588 §1 In itself, the state of consecrated life is neither clerical nor lay.
  • Can. 599 The evangelical counsel of chastity embraced for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven, is a sign of the world to come, and a source of greater fruitfulness in an undivided heart. It involves the obligation of perfect continence observed in celibacy.
  • Can. 604 §1 The order of virgins is also to be added to these forms of consecrated life. Through their pledge to follow Christ more closely, virgins are consecrated to God, mystically espoused to Christ and dedicated to the service of the Church, when the diocesan Bishop consecrates them according to the approved liturgical rite.
  • §2 Virgins can be associated together to fulfill their pledge more faithfully, and to assist each other to serve the Church in a way that befits their state.

To being discerning life as a consecrated virgin, it’s helpful to prayerfully consider some of the scriptural and practical questions about celibacy.

Visit ConsecratedVirgins.org for a wealth information about consecrated virginity.

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