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LoveZoe11

Conscrated Virginity

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LoveZoe11

Hi everyone,

I have been discerning for about five years now. At first I felt called to religous life, but recently I've felt more of a call to simply be a bride of Christ, a Conscrated Virgin.

The issue is: my diocese is seriously lacking in vocation resources for women. Also, I don't believe there are any CVs in my diocese (Springfield MA)

Does anyone on this forum know of any resources for discerning a CV vocation?

Does anyone know if it is possible to be conscrated by a diocese other then the one you live in? (I know the Archdioses of Boston has a strong CV formation program for example)

Any help, and of course, prayers would be greatly appreciated.

 

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TheresaThoma

I don't really know that much about CVs but I do believe that you have to be consecrated in the diocese that you live in. I know some bishops may ask a woman to meet with CVs outside of the diocese during their discernment if there are not others in the diocese. It would probably be worth it to reach out to both your diocese and to the Archdiocese of Boston to help you discern.

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Sponsa-Christi

The general understanding is that yes, you need to be consecrated by your own bishop which for the most part translates into the bishop of the diocese you live in (though there might be some exceptions if, say, you're a full-time student living only temporarily in a place, for example). It is possible that the bishop who is the head of your diocese can delegate the consecration to another bishop, but it's your dioceses' bishop who is the one that needs to make that call.

I think it would certainly be reasonable if, seeing that another nearby diocese had a formation program already in place, it was suggested that you use their formation program but be ultimately consecrated in your own diocese. It's also not unusual at all for CVs to join other CVs from nearby dioceses for social things or special events. (I was invited to attend the Year of Consecrated Life celebrations for the diocese next door, for example.)

 

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Lou

I wondered if I could add to this question!

My little addition which I hope doesn't distract from the main topic LoveZoe11... I'm discerning a vocation to monastic life but also feel a call to consecrated virginity. I've read mixed reports about how some monasteries allow nuns to take the Rite of Consecrated Virginity at Solemn profession: often in traditional Benedictine monasteries. I wondered if anyone knows if this is common practise or if it occurs often now or in what traditions? Trappist/ Carmel/ Poor Clares/ Benedictines?? 

It would be great to know how the two vocations can be one or can grow in tandem!

<3 

Edited by Lou

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LoveZoe11

Thanks for the advice everyone! (and sorry for the double posts!)

I have contacted my diocese vocation office and hopefully they will be able to give me some guidance 

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Sponsa-Christi

@Lou Numbers-wise, it's fairly rare for the consecration of virgins to be an option in monasteries. If you feel strongly called to the dual vocation of consecrated virgin and nun (which I would totally appreciate!), you'd probably want to use this criterion to narrow down your list of communities to visit. 

The consecration of virgins is something that only happens in certain religious families, most notably the Benedictines and the Carthusians. Most medieval Orders, like the Poor Clares and Dominicans, did not carry on this ancient tradition by the time they were founded. However, I know the Poor Clares do have a strong tradition of using bridal imagery in their profession ceremonies, so if your call is more towards a "bridal" spirituality in general rather than the Ordo Virginum in particular, that might be something to consider. 

Most Benedictine reform movements, such as the Cistercians and Trappists, also dropped the consecration of virgins from their profession ceremonies. (I've heard in passing that there were specific, thought-out reasons for this--like a focus on greater simplicity or something--but I don't really know enough to comment intelligently on this topic). In the 1950s, some Carmelite monasteries were given the privilege of using the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity, but I'm not sure if this is a tradition that is still carried on in any Carmel today. In the same time period, there were also a handful of active Benedictine communities who were allowed to use the consecration of virgins, because they were able to trace their foundations to European cloistered monasteries that had a long-standing custom of using the Rite. Unfortunately, the active communities that had this privilege opted to do away with it after Vatican II. :( 

In terms of actual monasteries that still use the consecration of virgins today, I think the most well-known ones would be Regina Laudis in Connecticut and St. Cecilia's Abbey in the U.K. (both are Benedictine). I know there is also a Benedictine community in the Netherlands that uses the RiteI presume also that all of the current monasteries of Carthusian nuns continue to use the consecration of virgins--but of course, a call to the Carthusians is a very specific vocation in its own right. 

 

@LoveZoe11 In terms of resources for women discerning consecrated virginity, to be honest there's simply not that much out there right now, especially not in English. The U.S. Association of Consecrated Virgins has some materials, and I have a (right now, not-very-well tended!) blog. When a good book or article does pop up, often the best way to hear about it is by word of mouth from other discerners or CVs. To that end, if you look around on social media, there are also some facebook groups and pages that might be useful.

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Lou

@Sponsa-Christi Thank you so much for writing such a thorough response! St Cecilia's in the UK has attracted me in the past but the website is so off putting! I'll continue to pray, I feel my overriding vocation is one to the monastic life, so perhaps that will be enough to override all else. Something to hold though. Thank you!

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Veiled

CV here, grateful that Sponsa Christi can respond. The USACV just put out a book on formation for consecrated virgins. While it remains the diocese that decides how formation should proceed, the book might be helpful for someone who's never heard of the vocation. The USACV has other resources for discerners as well, and an information conference where you can go and learn from CVs and other discerners in a retreat-like atmosphere.

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