In the history of Catholic-Link, we’ve never recommended that you read an article from Cosmopolitan, but that changes today! On September 12th, Cosmopolitan.com published an article titled, “I Am Happily Married to God — as a Consecrated Virgin” and we highly encourage you to read it, as well as share it with your apostolate.
It is not the typical type of article that you would find in Cosmo, but this piece is beautifully done. The article features the story of 35-year-old Carmen Briceno who has been a consecrated virgin for the past seven years. Though stories like Carmen’s have occasionally been featured in secular publications, rarely are they done in a way that is accurate and tasteful. Cosmo could have made the idea of getting married to Jesus seem entirely crazy to an audience that most likely does not understand it, but this story is reported in a very respectful and fascinating tone. It included many inspiring quotes about choosing to live in this way and the process of discerning the call.
“I did not give up romantic relationships for an idea. I fell in love with a person, Jesus Christ. I understood the lifelong commitment this would mean, so I made sure I was confident this was God’s will for me.” – Carmen Briceno
Carmen Briceno is not alone in her decision to live as a consecrated virgin. The article in Cosmo states that there are an estimated 3,500 women worldwide who have given their lives to Christ in this way. The video below tells the story of Jessica Hayes and shows parts of the ceremony of the Rite of Consecration.
5 Things to Know About Consecrated Virgins
1.) They are not nuns or sisters. – Consecrated Virgins live a life of prayer, but do so individually rather than as a part of a religious community. They are free to live and work in the secular world. They are not financially supported in any way by the Church.
2.) It is one of the oldest sacramentals of the Church. – “The custom of consecrating women to a life of virginity flourished even in the early Church. It led to the formation of a solemn rite constituting the candidate a sacred person, a surpassing sign of the Church’s love for Christ, and an eschatological image of the world to come and the glory of the heavenly Bride of Christ.” [Prænotanda to the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity]
3.) A consecrated virgin has a profound spiritual relationship with the local Church. – They live out their vocation under the authority of the local bishop and are encouraged to serve their parish, as well as attend daily Mass. According to Canon 604 the consecrated virgin is “consecrated to God, mystically espoused to Christ and dedicated to the service of the Church, when the diocesan bishop consecrates [her] according to the approved liturgical rite.”
4.) Only a woman who has never been married can become a consecrated virgin. – “In living as a spouse of Christ, a consecrated virgin anticipates what will be the reality for all the faithful in Heaven, where they “neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels.” (Matthew 22:30). Consecrated virgins serve as a witness and reminder to the fact that Christ is the ultimate fulfillment, not only of the longings of the human heart, but also of all time and history.” – Sponsa Christi
5.) “The consecrated virgin offers the gift of her physical virginity to Christ, as a sign of the dedication of her entire being to Him. Through the Rite of Consecration, the Church receives the gift of the virgin and calls down upon her the grace of the Holy Spirit that she may never fail in her resolve to live in perfect continence for the sake of Christ and His Church.” [Taken from Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, “Vocations to the Consecrated Life,” St. Louis Review Online, August 13, 2004]