Since the time of Christ, women have felt inspired to follow Christ in a life of chastity. By the late 2nd century this vocation was established as the Ordo virginum . During the 4th century, it flourished and a liturgical rite of admission was developed, known as the consecratio virginum. The consecrated women lived with their families, alone or in small groups, focused on prayer and service to the local church. For historical and cultural reasons, this way of life fell into disuse during the Middle Ages with the rise of religious orders.
On May 31,1970, at the request of the Second Vatican Council, the vocation was revitalized and made available again through the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity for Women Living in the World.
Consecrated virginity is an ecclesial vocation. The Rite is celebrated by the local Bishop, either in the Diocesan Cathedral or in the parish where the woman is known. It gives a public witness to God’s love present in our church today.
Pope Francis in his Message on the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of the revised Rite of Consecration of Virgins (31 May 2020) shared that the Rite of Consecration exhorts the Consecrated Virgin to:
“Love everyone, especially those in need. Your consecration dedicates you to God without separating you from the setting in which you live and in which you are called to bear personal witness by a lifestyle of evangelical closeness. By such closeness to the men and women of our times, your virginal consecration helps the Church to love the poor, to discern forms of material and spiritual poverty, to help those who are weak and vulnerable, those suffering from physical and mental illness, the young and the elderly, and all those in danger of being marginalized or discarded.”
For more information about the Order of Consecrated Virgins please email: email@example.com