consecrated virgins

I heard about consecrated virgins and I thought that is exactly what I want to do, marry God!!! But, im not a virgin, bummer. Are there any consecrated people who are not virgins or nuns? People who have gone through a lot in life and have just decided their greatest love was God all along. That is me in a nutshell. I don’t feel called to be a nun but I would like to marry God. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s how I feel.

Hi. I do wonder if one needs to be a virgin before making the vow to be a consecrated virgin as it might be the case that the consecration only asks that one becomes a virgin from the time one is consecrated. I also wonder that if one is free to marry God whether it might be the case that as long as one is in a state of grace then one can become a consecrated virgin. :slight_smile:

In regards to consecrated virginity, the woman being consecrated must have never given her virginity up. So, while a rape victim could since she never willingly consented to giving up her birginity, a woman who has engaged in intercourse cannot. This does not prevent you from making a private vow, I don’t think though!

yes, you have to actually b e a virgin.

I know how you feel, although I technically never had intercourse, I think my violations of chastity in other aresa would make me ineligible, though I am not too clear on the exact criteria. however, I don’t think I could justify it in my own conscience.

looking back,i do feel that this was supposed to be my calling, too bad I didn’t know and screwed it up.

yes there are other options, a secular institute is part of consecrated life. you could also join a secular third order if you don’t feel called to be a strict religious, not quite part of consecrated life but close enough. and ther are also consecrated hermits as well


Who can be consecrated?

The 1970 Prænotanda to the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity states the following requirements for women living in the world to receive the consecration:

  1. that they have never married or lived in open violation of chastity;

  2. that by their, prudence, and universally approved character they give assurance of perseverance in a life of chastity dedicated to the service of the church and of their neighbor.

  3. that they be admitted to this Consecration by the Bishop who is the local Ordinary.

The consecrated virgin in a particular way images the Church as virgin-bride of Christ, and, because of this, it is assumed that a woman who aspires to Consecration has been living tranquilly a private resolve of perpetual virginity for the sake of Jesus Christ for several years. She has the gift of physical virginity to offer to Christ, as she has not knowingly and deliberately engaged in sexual relations at any time during her life. [It is important to note that women who may not have the gift of physical virginity to offer to Christ may still make some form of personal consecration to Christ or pursue another form of Consecrated Life, such as being a member of a religious institute or a secular institute, or living an eremetical life.] A woman who has engaged in sexual relations before Baptism, or a woman whose marriage has been annulled, is not eligible to receive the consecration of virgins. In cases in which the loss of physical virginity was not intended by the woman, for example in case of rape or involuntary incest, she remains eligible for the consecration of virgins.

It is the Bishop who determines the conditions under which the candidate is to undertake a life of perpetual virginity lived in the world. A period of discernment and preparation, normally under the direction of a spiritual director, precedes the Consecration in order to ensure the virgin’s understanding of and readiness to receive this sacramental.

The Consecration is irrevocable. As a definitive act on the part of the Church, it constitutes an individual in a particular state of holiness. Therefore the virgin presenting herself for Consecration must be mature and ready to embrace the vocation for a lifetime. She has tranquilly lived a private promise of perpetual virginity for some years before seeking the Consecration of a Virgin. The Church has never stated an upper age limit.

It is understood that a woman aspiring to the Consecration of a Virgin is able to support herself by work or pension or independent means and has provided financially for her medical care.

The candidate for the consecration practices her faith and accepts the teaching of Scripture and the Church. She has a well-grounded spiritual life, possesses a capacity and readiness for personal growth, and is able to give herself totally to God and to the Church.**

You can probably consecrate the rest of your life to God…just not as a virgin.

I think I missed my calling ;( 2 bad I was a wild child when I was younger, lol!

Some of our saints, quite a few in fact, were the same and had some pretty wild days in their past.

You might be able to enter religious life or join a secular order or a third order, you might marry or commit yourself to the single celibate state and to Jesus and His Gospel. It is all a matter of putting the past behind you and looking at where you are now and discerning where God may now be calling you. Probably your best means would be a talk with a priest, spiritual director(best of all) or even a religious or nun asking guidance to understand just where God might be now calling you (discernment).

God is not a “my way or the highway” sort of God. He continually calls us to holiness and presents options or choices of the road to take to holiness. Even after one has fully committed oneself to a certain vocation or lifestyle, God continues daily to call to holiness. - one will be making decisions and choices all one’s life - hopefully led by The Holy Spirit.

“Marry” means to unite.

Catholic Catechism

796 The unity of Christ and the Church, head and members of one Body, also implies the distinction of the two within a personal relationship. This aspect is often expressed by the image of bridegroom and bride. The theme of Christ as Bridegroom of the Church was prepared for by the prophets and announced by John the Baptist.234 The Lord referred to himself as the "bridegroom."235 The Apostle speaks of the whole Church and of each of the faithful, members of his Body, as a bride “betrothed” to Christ the Lord so as to become but one spirit with him.236 The Church is the spotless bride of the spotless Lamb.237 "Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her."238 He has joined her with himself in an everlasting covenant and never stops caring for her as for his own body:239
“Marry” means to join together or to unite.

**THIS **can provide more info.

Thank you for the link…and here we go yet again… - it is an opinion on the subject of vocation with which theologians can disagree vigorously. However, there are Church Documents pre V2 and after V2 that commend the single state of life as a valued vocation in The Church. In fact, in Vita Consecrata (The Consecrated Life) by St John Paul II the Church gives thanks for those in the single state under the heading “Thanksgiving for The Consecrated Life” .

“Together let us thank God for the Religious Orders and Institutes devoted to contemplation or the works of the apostolate, for Societies of Apostolic Life, for Secular Institutes and for other groups of consecrated persons,** as well as for all those individuals who, in their inmost hearts, dedicate themselves to God by a special consecration**.”

If you would like to read several Church Documents, there is a link in my signature. I am very reluctant indeed to get into this contested area of vocation or not vocation yet again - but I will if I decide I should. It means I have to go back through a veritable mountain of research to state with links what The Church has stated…i.e. time consuming!

To my mind, you either embrace the whole of what The Church has to say or you pick and choose what you want to believe and what you do not want to believe.

Nowhere whatsoever has The Church ever stated that the single state of life cannot be a vocational call. It is the opinion of SOME theologians and others - not The Church and those theologians and others who support what The Church has to state on the subject - one of those theologians played a large part in writing the CCC. I can quote him with link. He is deceased now, but I think his cause is up for canonization or so I have been told.

From the moment we are baptised we have a call and vocation from God and one to holiness. It is to me simply ridiculous and nonsensical, illogical to state that one has no vocation unless entering into Holy Orders, consecrated life or marriage. It is even more illogical and nonsensical to state that one can only strive for holiness in priesthood, consecrated life or marriage. We have many saints who were in the single state of life, including a Doctor of The Church.

The Church has written a whole Document on the Apostolate and Mission of The Laity.

Edit - it would be very sad indeed and a hijack if this thread veered off into a highly contested area. Consecrated Virginity is a beautiful and highly valued vocation that is again coming to life in The Church and a work of The Holy Spirit. Consecrated Virginity was probably the very first vocation ever established in The Church and in the early days of Christianity - it is an ancient work of The Holy Spirit indeed.

So my vocation:

-not marriage
-not to be a nun
-desire to marry God but not a virgin

single life not considered a vocation.

beg God to mystically marry me.
Please pray for me as I am discouraged.
All I want is to be married to God
I don’t fit in to become a nun because I have mental illness
I cant be a consecrated because im not a virgin
I don’t want to marry anyone but God

The Lord will have mercy upon me and will show me my place in the world.
I have full confidence in Him that if there is not a “place” or vocation for me in the church that is approved by the church that He will guide me. He won’t leave me abandoned.

Prayer for you and your intentions

I don’t think you have to be a virgin to be a concecrated virgin. You just have to love God and be willing to give your life to him from that point on.

No I wrote to their website, you def need to be a virgin.

I just checked the website too. I had no idea that it was such an official thing. I thought it was just people who made a promise between them and God to stay Celibate, but still live a lay life. I’m unaware if there are there any consecrated people who are not virgins or nuns

I’m a single mom and recently looked into the vocation of joining a secular institute. It is very much like being a consecrated virgin in that there is formation, and vows, and belonging (in an official way) to Christ alone. Members of secular institutes live and work in the world in their chosen jobs/careers, serving Christ and His Church through all they do.

Here is a website for those in the United States: United States Conference of Secular Institutes.

I contacted a few groups, but as my son won’t be 18 for another 4+ years, most said I’d be too old to enter formation (I’ll be over 50).

But it didn’t seem like my vocation at all. :shrug:

If I did still feel called to consecrated life, however, I’d start by talking with my pastor and getting spiritual direction. Perhaps I could make private vows, for example. But as I said, my inquiry into secular institutes did not inspire me in the least.

So perhaps my vocation is simply to be a holy woman. :thumbsup: Works for me. :smiley:

As is every vocation and call from God, it is just that…i.e. an invitation from God. I am now over 35 years in private vows with a rule of life and quite specific way of life. The priest religious who helped me discern the vocation and call, invitation, from God was a theologian and lecturer in our seminary then. He is now many years deceased.

My current spiritual director (priest and religious) applied to our Archbishop for me to have a Home Mass for the purpose of renewal of the life vows. His Grace gave permission and the Home Mass and renewal of private life vows in the laity took place with a very small number of friends and family.

Private vows to the evangelical counsels are not a consecrated life in The Church. It is a call and invitation from God to remain in the laity in every way without any distinction or formal recognition, rights, in any way whatsoever in The Church other than those assigned to laity. For me it was a call and invitation from God to embrace my Baptism in the lay state of life as a very important state of life in The Church. For me, it was an invitation to make private vows to the evangelical counsels. In fact I had been living that way of life long before I made private vows nor even knew they existed as a valid option in The Church and Canon Law.

Before making the private vows for life, I did heaps of research (most all can be found in the link on my signature) and also consulted (my original SD then deceased) a theologian priest and religious lecturing in our Catholic University back then (a very well known priest etc.). In fact, I had no idea back then that I was indeed living a certain way of life until my SD (priest religious theologian) pointed it out to me that with annulment (subsequently granted), to consider either religious life or private vows. That way of life is now enshrined in my rule of life approved by my now SD after a quite major revision recommended by him.

The headings in the paragraphs of my rule (and my decision) are the petitions of The Our Father, which is a whole way of life that is a Gospel way of life in the footsteps of Jesus. In The Our Father (Pater Noster) Jesus has summarised all that He has commanded and taught us as a beautiful quite short prayer and is thus a fully prayerful way of life pleasing to God in each of the petitions. The Our Father is a whole way of life and path to take to holiness - it is a whole and entire rule of life.

Those who state private vows to the ECs in the laity is not a valid vocation are speaking against what The Church states.

Be all the above as it may, my advice **always **is to discern any vocation with a spiritual director and to have spiritual direction for the whole ongoing ourney. A call and vocation, invitation, from God is no light matter in deciding what to do with one’s life. Private vows to the ECs in the laity (the lay state of life quite consciously embraced) is not necessarily an easy vocation at all - although in all vocations some experience it as a struggle, some do not.

My journey has been a real roller coaster ride over the years. At times it has been a real struggle plagued by serious illness and rejections, major losses in life - at times it is my Joy in every way. For all that, I have never ever succumbed (Deo Gratius)to temptations to think I was not following The Lord’s call vocation and invitation to me personally; that The Lord would always support me with His Grace come what may - and that consistency come what may is a Grace granted.
Long and short of it all - I am still hanging in there after all this time and all that has transpired.

So perhaps my vocation is simply to be a holy woman. Works for me.

Very ell said indeed - and absolutely spot on!:thumbsup: Holiness of life is the call and vocation of baptism - whether The Lord calls one into different state of life or not is completely up to Him. We have two official Church Documents that address the mission and vocation, apostolate, of Laity.

Starting with spiritual advice is the very best way of all to travel. I too looked into Third Orders and Secular Institutes without ever feeling any real attraction for various reasons.

Vatican Documents on the Lay State of Life:

Apostolicam actuositatem (Decree onThe Apostolate of The Laity)

Christifideles Laici (** Papal Exhortation on TheVocation** and Mission of the Lay Faithful)

I think that is a very misinformed blog post and should be taken with large grains of salt.

First of all, the fastest growing vocation in the Church for women outside of human marriage is becoming a Bride of Christ in the Ordo Virginum (Order of Virgins), also known as becoming sacred virgins or “consecrated virgins”. This blog post erroneously thinks that it is “consecrated single life”. The Church doesn’t define sacred virginity as “consecrated single life”. She defines the sacred virgin as “Bride of Christ” dedicated to the “service of the Church”. The sacred virgin is NOT single, but married. Her whole identity is being Bride of Christ, unlike religious who can be male and who need not be virgins (The title “Bride of Christ” requires female virgins for its fullness).

Second, religious aren’t by essence or nature “Bride of Christ”. Nor are they somehow different from consecrated persons. They are what is philosophically known as a “species” of consecrated life, of the consecrated state. That means that religious share being consecrated with other types of vocations, and that those vocations are equal in dignity and in consecration. If religious were by essence, Bride of Christ, then male priests could NOT be religious. That is why vowed life in the different forms of consecrated life are open to MEN and WOMEN. Sacred virginity, on the other hand, is the ONLY form of consecrated life that is open only to virgin females. It is rather ludicrous to lump them in their own category and “consecrated single people” as a different one, when religious are all technically “consecrated single people” (with the exception of the very few who happen to be married but separated).

Third, sacred virgins do not make vows. That is one of the things that distinguishes them from other forms of consecrated life in the consecrated state. Their consecration is directly given by the bishop, who is the only person authorized to impart this solemn consecration. In other forms of consecrated life, the consecration is mediated by the Church by the person who accepts the vows of profession in the name of the Church.

Fourth, numbers alone show that consecrated virgins are the fastest growing group not only in the USA but around the globe. There is a reason. Many women long to be a Bride of Christ. This is the only vocation in which that title belongs to them by right and in which they are Bride of Christ in the fullest possible manner. Part of this is because this is the only vocation which requires perpetual virginity - virginity from birth to death - so as to mirror the Church’s own virginity. Again, looking at numbers, you will see that there are approximately 350+ sacred virgins living in the world in the USA alone, (we don’t know and can’t accurately estimate the number of sacred virgins who are the religious with the special permission to receive the solemn consecration of virgins at/after their solemn profession of vows but it is estimated in the 100-200 nuns range) and the numbers continuously growing. What other form of consecrated life has gone from 0 to ~350 in the USA alone for the last 40 years? Even popular religious communities such as the DSMMEs don’t hold a candle in numbers.

While it is a well meaning post, people who are discerning their vocation deserve accurate information about vocations and to make an informed vocational decision, they shouldn’t be exposed merely to someone’s favorite handful but to all so that they can know what they are rejecting in making their choice.

You do not have to be a consecrated person to enjoy the heights of mystical prayer. I would suggest that you consider learning about the different stages of prayer. If you haven’t already, start meditating and working on the life of virtue. As others have already stated, one of our Doctors of the Church was a lay woman. She was St. Catherine of Siena. You don’t need to be a consecrated person to enjoy the mystical union of prayer. Few reach those heights of mysticism because it takes great generosity and purification. Learn from the sound teachers of prayer (St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Francis de Sales, etc.) All are called by virtue of their baptism to this but few reach it. If your desire for “marriage” with Christ is more a desire for intimacy with Christ in prayer, then it is probably better to get to the point where you are fulfilling your baptismal call to holiness as best you can as a single person before discerning a possible vocation so that you don’t close doors because you equate intimacy with only consecrated state.

** SeraSemper**: “While it is a well meaning post, people who are discerning their vocation deserve accurate information about vocations and to make an informed vocational decision, they shouldn’t be exposed merely to someone’s favorite handful but to all so that they can know what they are rejecting in making their choice.”


I think that all faithful Catholics called to evangelisation should also have at least a working knowledge of the various vocations so as to be able to explain them if ever asked. The various vocations are of great importance to The Church - as they should be since they are calls by God to a certain way of life/role in The Church with attendant duties.
For that same reason, we all should have some understanding too.

Catholic Catechism:

#796 The unity of Christ and the Church, head and members of one Body, also implies the distinction of the two within a personal relationship. This aspect is often expressed by the image of bridegroom and bride. The theme of Christ as Bridegroom of the Church was prepared for by the prophets and announced by John the Baptist.234 The Lord referred to himself as the "bridegroom."235 The Apostle speaks of the whole Church **and of each of the faithful, members of his Body, **as a bride “betrothed” to Christ the Lord so as to become but one spirit with him. 236 The Church is the spotless bride of the spotless Lamb.237 "Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her."238 He has joined her with himself in an everlasting covenant and never stops caring for her as for his own body:239

**Pope Establishes Dicastery ‘for Laity, Family and Life’ **

Posted by ZENIT Staff on 6 June, 2016

Excerpt: The new dicastery will merge from 1 September 2016 the existing Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for the Family. On that date both dicasteries will cease their functions and will be suppressed, following the repeal of articles 131-134 and 139-141 of the apostolic constitution Pastor bonus of 28 June 1988…

"…The section for the lay faithful will inspire and encourage the promotion of the **vocation **and mission of the lay faithful in the Church and in the world, as individuals, married or unmarried, or as members of associations, movements and communities.

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