Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
May 18, 2009
Consecrated virgins – a rare calling for women
She lives a chaste, simple life, alone and obedient to her bishop
“It’s an interior feeling that this is the right choice. For me, the consecrated life is different from the ordinary single life. It’s a commitment and for me it was more than a sacrifice — it was a gift from God,” continued Fowler.
Devotion to prayer and a contemplative life are part of the life of being a consecrated virgin.
But beyond that, the vocation varies for every woman, depending on her own individual circumstances and spiritual gifts.
Like marriage, consecrated virginity is a lifelong commitment.
“It wasn’t drastic for me because I lived a private vow of chastity for many years before I actually received the consecration,” said Fowler. “I think it’s the right vocation for you if it feels right. From my own experiences, it was normal.”
Nolan, on the other hand, said she would love to be married and have children. This is certainly a challenge, but she said that desire is good because she gains fulfillment in other ways, such as a greater connectedness with her friends.
“For me I think it was a struggle because of the name itself,” said Nolan.
“In English, the name consecrated virgin is so countercultural. People use it in ways, like, property virgin or virgin drinks, all that aspect.
“But you don’t want people to just focus on the sexual part of this vocation. The vocation is about a life of commitment and an intentional way of life that brings Christ to others.”
If a woman believes she is being called by God to this vocation and is pondering the consecrated life, Nolan suggests going through a process of discernment.
“If it brings peace, if it brings joy, then that’s a sign that it’s possibly something for them. I would encourage them to have the peace and joy.
“If I didn’t have that, I could not have chosen this.
“It’s not something for everyone. It’s a hard life because you have to be disciplined,” said Nolan, noting that there’s no structured religious community as with nuns.
Fowler also recommends the vocation for mature women who are already established in a life of celibacy.
“Virginity is essential to the consecration, and although the word isn’t popular today, it is still a recognized value in the Church, and I think we have to recognize that and not be ashamed to say that.”
While a rarity in Canada, with only about 60 consecrated virgins nationwide, the rite is gaining momentum in certain European countries, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
“I think it would be wonderful if we could have a meeting of the Canadian consecrated virgins. Hopefully that could be organized sometime in the near future,” said Fowler.
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