More Women Looking to Become ‘Consecrated Virgins’ Vatican Says
There has been ‘rapid’ growth in interest in taking vows of lifelong celibacy, Catholic Church says
by Chris Baynes
An increasing number Catholic women are taking life-longchastity vows in order to “dedicate themselves” to God, according to the Vatican.
The Holy See has issued new guidance on consecrated virginity in response to growing interest across the world in the little-known spiritual “vocation”.
Consecrated virgins are unmarried women who pledge to remain celibate for their entire lives, eschewing romantic or sexual relationships to devote themselves exclusively to being mystical “brides of Christ”.
Unlike nuns, they take on no role within the church. Instead of joining a religious order, they continue to live in their own homes and work in conventional jobs.
There are thought to be up to 5,000 consecrated virgins across the world, including an estimated 200 in the UK.
While rare and little-known even within the church, the lifestyle is considered to be Christianity’s oldest form of total devotion to God, with roots in ancient Rome.
During the Middle Ages, the practice all but disappeared following the emergence of communal forms of consecration, such as convents.
But in the 1960s the Vatican revived the ancient Order of Virgins, which reintroduced the concept of women being betrothed to God while living alone or with families rather than in religious communities.
The Vatican this week issued guidance on consecrated virginity in response to requests from bishops, who it said had reported “rapidly” growing interest among women in their congregations.
… Last year three women committed to lifelong chastity at a consecration ceremony at Detroit’s Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament.