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[quote name='MaterMisericordiae' timestamp='1344207517' post='2463129']
It depends on the order but I have heard of a case where a Consecrated Virgin desired to enter religious life and was accepted. Unfortunately, I cannot find the link but I will continue to look.
[/quote]

God reward you! I'm very thankful. :) Its certainly an option I would keep for my situation right now.

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Hi everyone. I was busy today and didn't see all your messages. So I'll try to respond as I can.

The Rite of Consecration of a Virgin began in the earliest time of the Church. Our Lady had the first consecration of virginity at the Annunciation when the Holy Spirit overshadowed her (according to Pope Benedict XVI). St. Matthew the Apostole is said by tradition to have been executed precisely for conferring the consecration upon a princess whom the father wanted to marry off. Anyway, convents came a few centuries later. This vocation pre-dates religious life. Certain communities kept this such as the Benedictines (remember, St. Scholastica was a consecrated virgin before she became a nun with the other consecrated virgins).

The Rite of Consecration has mostly been available to women outside convents as well as inside cloisters except from the 1920's to 1970, but these consecrations began to get rarer after the 11th century and almost non-existent outside of the monasteries. In the 1926 (I think), after Sponsa Christi came out, the Consecration was restricted ONLY to NUNS who had the tradition. Vatican II came about and they decreed to revise the Rite (the Rite has overgone many changes over the 2000 years). So, the committee wrote it and split it into two ceremonies: one is for religious and the other is for women living in the world. Since 1970, when the revised Rite was promulgated, both nuns and women living in the world are able to receive the Consecration. It is restricted to nuns of Orders (only) who have had it by tradition, and those who request it from the competent authority (usually Holy See). Active sisters are not eligible. Women living in the world may receive it (as this is THE most ancient vocation in the Church for women besides marriage) as long as they are lay (they can be members of societies of apostolic life, members of secular institutes, etc. because these are lay and not religious). So, in a nutshell, there are two Rites for nuns. One is the Rite of Profession. The other is the Rite of Profession and Consecration to a Life of Virginity. Most Orders use the Rite of Profession. Others have the authorization to have the Consecration. As for Sisters, they may only use the Rite of Profession because they are not eligible for the Consecration.

St. Thomas Aquinas and others would be totally against the policy of Regina Laudis if what is quoted is true. Consecration to a Life of Virginity is consecrating one's virginity not a confirmation or a seal of the vow of chastity. St. Thomas is VERY clear - as are other theologians over the centuries - that only "primary" virgins may receive the consecration. Now, it is interesting that the Dominicans rejected the consecration from the get-go. Only a handful of Dominicans ever received it for serious reasons. Princess Margaret was one Dominican who did because the Pope was willing to dispense her solemn vows for the King to marry her off so she insisted on getting the Consecration because it can't be dispensed and she couldn't be forced to get married. My understanding is that a couple of her relatives also got it at the same time and that these are the only Dominicans who have received this great sacramental.

Are there communities that have the Rite of Consecration to a life of Virginity? Yes. Certain Benedictines, Carthusians, (some Carmelites by indult because all the mendicants rejected having the consecration- mostly in Europe), and a handful of other Orders have kept this tradition over the centuries.

If you read This House of Brede (Benedictine), you'll see that the nun who enters is a mom... so she of her novitiate class does not have the consecration of virgins.

Edited by abrideofChrist
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[quote name='VeniJesuAmorMi' timestamp='1344205117' post='2463110']
Another question aside from what I asked earlier; if one knew that they wanted to give themselves to Our Lord and decided on becoming a consecrated virgin because they didn't know yet if they had the grace of a religious vocation; then they started looking into the religious life sometime after the consecration if they believed that Our Lord was calling them, how would that work if they decided to enter a religious order?
[/quote]

The consecration to a life of virginity living in the world is a definitive vocation in its own right. The virgin is constituted a sacred person, a spouse of Christ, and is dedicated to the service of the Church. She shares the dignity of being in the consecrated state of perfection along with religious, hermits, and bishops. Only a bishop can consecrate her (this used to be reserved to the Pope). You should think of it as diocesan priesthood for women. Diocesan priests don't just switch to religious orders, they discern their vocation. Further, it is NOT easy to get consecrated. Most bishops are not open to doing it. Yes, a CV can enter a religious order, but it would be a very rare thing. A CV has the charism of the Church herself, she represents the Church. She is commissioned by the Church to do the various corporal and spiritual works of mercy, to be a woman of prayer, penance, and an "apostle to those in the Church and in the world".

This is a very tall order. This is not a limited charism of a religious family (for example teaching or pro life ministry), rather, it is a mother of spiritual children of the whole world charism. Spouse of Jesus charism where she discerns with her Divine Spouse what she is to do on a day to day, year to year basis. One year her focus might be on pro life work. She may feel called to spend time with widows another year or the rest of her life. She has the universal vocation of the Church, because she fully represents the Church as virgin, bride, and mother. The vows of religious and the structure of communal life are a means to an end. They are not spousal in their essence (if they were, then friars would be spouses to whom?). The virgin has a specifically spousal vocation and is supposed to be a mature Christian woman when she is consecrated. She makes no vows. The bishop's prayer of consecration ontologically changes her from a member of the laity to a bride of Christ, and a sacred person. Theologians call this a "constitutive sacramental". Of course, some women are called to combine a spousal vocation with a religious life vocation. These women join the Orders with the Consecration added to the Profession. The spousal life can be lived in many different circumstances - in the world, and in religious life. But, religious life can't be lived in the world! Mary the first Virgin, lived in the world as did pretty much all of the virgins of the first few centuries, which is why the Vatican commission for renewing the Rite redesigned the Rite so that those in the world could again receive the consecration and not have the trappings of religious life (the Rite dropped the habit and promises, etc. that was proper for religious but not women in the world).

Edited by abrideofChrist
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[quote name='VeniJesuAmorMi' timestamp='1344187693' post='2462975']
This is a very beautiful life, but I've never thought of it before. I would love to give myself to Our Lord in the religious life but its nice to know more about this. The information you've posted is helpful. I was also wondering if one has done things in the past without the knowledge that things they were doing were wrong but later after a conversion whey saw that things they experienced in were sinful; does this mean that one couldn't become a Consecrated Virgin even though things were done against chastity, but still has never been with a man?
[/quote]

I think (two important words here) that, as long as the woman is technically a Virgin, she is eligible for the consecration. External displays of affection disqualify her from this, but not being a virgin would. Someone mentioned In This House of Brede-a great read!

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St. Cecelia's Abbey, Ryde has it, [url="http://blog.farnboroughabbey.org/2012/01/08/st-cecilias-abbey-ryde-2/"]http://blog.farnboro...s-abbey-ryde-2/[/url] and they do the Profession and Consecration at the same time.

For a time after the document [i]Sponsa Christi[/i] (1950) came out (and I think way before that) Discalced Carmelite Nuns had it (at least Iron Mountain for sure) as I was just reading this not long ago in the book [i][url="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000PTMC70/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=&seller="]A Few Lines to Tell You[/url] [/i](1957). It says they brought back the Rite of Consecration of Virgins after [i]Sponsa Christi[/i] and that they did it at the same time as the Solemn Profession. (perhaps when I get the chance, I'll get the book and quote it here)

I am not sure when and why they stopped doing this. It would be interesting to learn if perhaps some Carmels actually still do.. I know Valparaiso doesn't as I have the program from one of the nun's Solemn Professions .. the same with Iron Mountain.



[color=#222222][font=Helvetica Neue', Arial, Verdana, sans-serif][size=4][background=rgb(255, 255, 255)][quote name='abrideofChrist' timestamp='1344222404' post='2463285']The Rite of Consecration has mostly been available to women outside convents as well as inside cloisters except from the 1920's to 1970, but these consecrations began to get rarer after the 11th century and almost non-existent outside of the monasteries. In the 1926 (I think), after Sponsa Christi came out, the Consecration was restricted ONLY to NUNS who had the tradition. Vatican II came about and they decreed to revise the Rite (the Rite has overgone many changes over the 2000 years). So, the committee wrote it and split it into two ceremonies: one is for religious and the other is for women living in the world. Since 1970, when the revised Rite was promulgated, both nuns and women living in the world are able to receive the Consecration. It is restricted to nuns of Orders (only) who have had it by tradition, and those who request it from the competent authority (usually Holy See).

...

Are there communities that have the Rite of Consecration to a life of Virginity? Yes. Certain Benedictines, Carthusians, (some Carmelites by indult because all the mendicants rejected having the consecration- mostly in Europe), and a handful of other Orders have kept this tradition over the centuries.[/quote]

abrideofChrist, first thank you for this informative post! I only read your non-edited version before I posted the above. Interesting okay, so the mendicants rejected it, mostly in Europe .. but some Carmels may have it by indult .. interesting.

Also [i]Sponsa Christi[/i] was in 1950. Okay so that makes sense .. then they must have stopped it in or around 1970 when the Rite was revised.

What I wonder now regarding Carmelites is (also other mendicants like Poor Clares), did they have it for many years way back .. is it part of their tradition? It said in[i] A Few Lines to Tell You[/i] that it was restored. But now they don't have it, though perhaps some Carmels do by indult. Very interesting .. I have more detective work to do :detective:[/background][/size][/font][/color]

[color=#222222][font=Helvetica Neue', Arial, Verdana, sans-serif][size=4][background=rgb(255, 255, 255)]p.s. Thanks for including the bit about the Dominican nun, Princess Margaret! I had read a little about her story here, http://doihaveavocation.com/blog/archives/300 but never knew who she was. [/background][/size][/font][/color]

Edited by Chiquitunga
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[quote name='Chiquitunga' timestamp='1344226913' post='2463318']
St. Cecelia's Abbey, Ryde has it, [url="http://blog.farnboroughabbey.org/2012/01/08/st-cecilias-abbey-ryde-2/"]http://blog.farnboro...s-abbey-ryde-2/[/url] and they do the Profession and Consecration at the same time.

For a time after the document [i]Sponsa Christi[/i] (1950) came out (and way before that) Discalced Carmelite Nuns had it (at least Iron Mountain for sure) as I was just reading this not long ago in the book [i][url="http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B000PTMC70/ref=dp_olp_used?ie=UTF8&condition=used"]A Few Lines to Tell You[/url] [/i](1957). It says they brought back the Rite of Consecration of Virgins after [i]Sponsa Christi[/i] and that they did it at the same time as the Solemn Profession. (perhaps when I get the chance, I'll get the book and quote it here)

I am not sure when and why they stopped doing this. It would be interesting to learn if perhaps some Carmels actually still do.. I know Valparaiso doesn't, as I have the program from one of the nun's Solemn Professions .. the same with Iron Mountain.
[/quote]

Thanks for sharing. I didn't know that. I do have documents about the indult of permission to have the Consecration given to a Carmel in Spain - or perhaps a group of Carmels... can't remember and am not going to dig through my papers to find it since it's probably in Latin anyway. The biggest reason I've found that Orders will not do this is because they don't want to "discriminate" against those members who can't receive it. I find this to be sad because it deprives the graces and that special "anointing" for those who have indeed preserved their virginity. When I went to the big gathering in Rome of consecrated virgins - about a week long convention- one of the problems mentioned was the fact that if the Consecration is given to the Community members right at final profession and they leave 5-10 years later... the vows can be dispensed but they are a consecrated virgin. This is one reason why it was traditional in some places to have the consecration conferred after 10, 25 years AFTER solemn profession so that there was a guarantee so to speak of perseverance in the vocation.

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Oh! if at some point you do have the time to dig up that document about the Carmel/s in Spain that received the indult, I would be so grateful!! (two things I have a particular love for, Spanish Carmels and Consecrated Virginity) Thank you for mentioning it anyway. I will look into it. That is most interesting!

Also, I edited my last post since you quoted it a bit, so go back to read it, at least the end. Thanks again for letting me know about Princess Margaret. Here, I will post the article again (very related to the point you are trying to make in this thread) where I had heard of her story before, [url="http://doihaveavocation.com/blog/archives/300"]http://doihaveavocat...og/archives/300[/url] I love what she did!!! :heart:

[color=#222222][font='Helvetica Neue', Arial, Verdana, sans-serif][size=4][background=rgb(255, 255, 255)]

[quote name='abrideofChrist' timestamp='1344227336' post='2463321']The biggest reason I've found that Orders will not do this is because they don't want to "discriminate" against those members who can't receive it. I find this to be sad because it deprives the graces and that special "anointing" for those who have indeed preserved their virginity.[/quote]

This is understandable .. especially in community life. I really wish I could receive the Consecration, God willing, if/when I make Solemn Profession, but I feel I would not want to be made superior in any way to others who could not receive it. [/background][/size][/font][/color]

Edited by Chiquitunga
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[quote name='Chiquitunga' timestamp='1344226913' post='2463318']
I am not sure when and why they stopped doing this. It would be interesting to learn if perhaps some Carmels actually still do.. I know Valparaiso doesn't [b]as I have the program from one of the nun's Solemn Professions[/b] .. the same with Iron Mountain.
[/quote]
:bounce: Please scan/upload it if at all possible, or if you know of somewhere on the internet where one is, please point me to it. I would love to see one!
[quote name='Chiquitunga' timestamp='1344226913' post='2463318']
[font=Helvetica Neue', Arial, Verdana, sans-serif][size=4][background=rgb(255, 255, 255)]What I wonder now regarding Carmelites is (also other mendicants like Poor Clares), did they have it for many years way back .. is it part of their tradition? It said in[i] A Few Lines to Tell You[/i] that it was restored. But now they don't have it, though perhaps some Carmels do by indult. Very interesting .. I have more detective work to do [/background][/size][/font][color=#222222][font=Helvetica Neue', Arial, Verdana, sans-serif][size=4][background=rgb(255, 255, 255)] :detective:[/background][/size][/font][/color]
[/quote]
I would like to know this also.
[quote name='emmaberry' timestamp='1344225385' post='2463305']
External displays of affection disqualify her from this, but not being a virgin would. Someone mentioned In This House of Brede-a great read!
[/quote]
Facepalm. I meant that external PDA stuff does [b]not[/b] disqualify a women from the consecration. Sorry!

Edited by emmaberry
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[quote name='Chiquitunga' timestamp='1344226913' post='2463318']

For a time after the document [i]Sponsa Christi[/i] (1950) came out ...

[color=#222222][font=Helvetica Neue', Arial, Verdana, sans-serif][size=4][background=rgb(255, 255, 255)]abrideofChrist, first thank you for this informative post! I only read your non-edited version before I posted the above. Interesting okay, so the mendicants rejected it, mostly in Europe .. but some Carmels may have it by indult .. interesting.[/background][/size][/font][/color]
[/quote]

Yes, you're right Sponsa Christi was in 1950. The prohibition from Rome for bishops to give the Consecration to those in the world came in 1926 ish. (In the 1920's some French women were consecrated and worked for the restoration of the Rite for non-religious which was accomplished in Vatican II). Sorry for my goof up.

The mendicants rejected this from the beginning, in their European foundations (I hate to assign a beginning date for the Carmelites, but we can at least say from when they started up the women's branches in Europe). Their thought was that Solemn Profession was equivalent and sufficient. It is equivalent in the sense that they receive a true consecration (as do all who profess perpetual vows in active congregations, hermitages, and secular institutes). It is not the same thing though. One is a blessing upon the vowed person (the sister/brother makes TO God) and the other is a consecration by God to a virgin specifically espousing her. One is a you make vows and I (God) bless you as a religious, and the other is you present yourself to me and I (God) espouse you as a bride.

The papers I have on the indult for a/some Carmel in Spain are old. Who knows if the convents even still exist. I would suggest just contacting the different Carmels in Spain if you're discerning and see if they have do it (even if the indult exists, they might not use it). The indult applies to the convents named, so it's not like they'd be in the USA.

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[quote name='Chiquitunga' timestamp='1344229209' post='2463334']






[color=#222222][font=Helvetica Neue', Arial, Verdana, sans-serif][size=4][background=rgb(255, 255, 255)]This is understandable .. especially in community life. I really wish I could receive the Consecration, God willing, if/when I make Solemn Profession, but I feel I would not want to be made superior in any way to others who could not receive it. [/background][/size][/font][/color]
[/quote]

Well, it's like saying no guys in a community [where the Rule permits a handful to be ordained for sacramental purposes] can or should be made priests because some others can't receive it. Why deny this blessing to the Church?

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[quote name='VeniJesuAmorMi' timestamp='1344187693' post='2462975']
This is a very beautiful life, but I've never thought of it before. I would love to give myself to Our Lord in the religious life but its nice to know more about this. The information you've posted is helpful. I was also wondering if one has done things in the past without the knowledge that things they were doing were wrong but later after a conversion whey saw that things they experienced in were sinful; does this mean that one couldn't become a Consecrated Virgin even though things were done against chastity, but still has never been with a man?
[/quote]

VJAM: Please disregard my last post in response to your same question, as my answer is not correct. abrideofChrist put a lot of helpful information in the post right before yours, though.

God bless!

Edited by emmaberry
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[color=#222222][font=Helvetica Neue', Arial, Verdana, sans-serif][size=4][background=rgb(255, 255, 255)][quote name='abrideofChrist' timestamp='1344230733' post='2463342']
Well, it's like saying no guys in a community [where the Rule permits a handful to be ordained for sacramental purposes] can or should be made priests because some others can't receive it. Why deny this blessing to the Church?
[/quote][/background][/size][/font][/color]
That's true. Good point.

[quote name='abrideofChrist' timestamp='1344230478' post='2463340']The papers I have on the indult for a/some Carmel in Spain are old. Who knows if the convents even still exist. I would suggest just contacting the different Carmels in Spain if you're discerning and see if they have do it (even if the indult exists, they might not use it). The indult applies to the convents named, so it's not like they'd be in the USA.
[/quote]
Can you say about how old? Thank you!

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Hi—I’m a consecrated virgin who lurks here occasionally, though I’ve never posted before. I write the blog “Sponsa Christi,” and I first found Phatmass through the various links to my blog over the years!

This has been a great thread—the historical inter-relationship between the [i]Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity[/i] and the development of religious institutes is really fascinating.

About the mendicant Orders and the [i]Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity[/i]:

I believe that [u]one[/u] reason why the nuns of the “new” mendicant Orders (like the Dominicans and Poor Clares) have never had a tradition of using the [i]Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity[/i] is because at the time they were founded, they were considered less institutionally stable than the older Orders. For example, even though Benedictines live in personal poverty, in the Middle Ages their monasteries could still be quite wealthy—often, they would have had many lucrative sources of regular income, like land endowments or the substantial dowries of noblewomen who entered.

But in contrast to this, the mendicant Orders by definition wanted to live a life of even corporate poverty, depending on alms and on the labor of their own hands for their sustenance. My guess is that the Church at the time thought that since a “begging” community was more likely to fall victim to severe economic circumstances, having the nuns NOT receive the consecration of virgins would make the individual nuns’ situations easier to resolve in the unfortunate event of one of their monasteries having to close. (Similar to the reasons why the members of the first “active” women’s religious communities weren’t permitted to profess solemn vows—i.e., because their vocational situation seemed more precarious than that of their cloistered, purely contemplative counterparts.)

I think that the reason why some Carmelite monasteries were given permission to use the [i]Rite of Consecration [/i]in modern times is because, even though we consider them a part of the medieval mendicant movement, the Carmelite spiritual heritage (if not the actual Discalced Carmelite Order itself, which dates from the Counter-Reformation) claims a more ancient affinity with the early desert hermits.

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Also:

[quote]That being said, I would definitely consider discerning a vocation to Consecrated Virginity if I knew that I was not called to religious life -- i.e. not being accepted to any convents but still feeling that strong urge to live a life fully for God.[/quote]

Please bear with me on this, but I have to say it: if a woman feels she might have a vocation to consecrated virginity, she should really discern this as a “first” vocation, and not as a kind of back-up plan in case she is not accepted into any religious community. (My thought is that, if an aspiring woman religious was not able to enter any convent but still wanted to give her life to God alone, it would be better if she considered making a private vow.)

Of course, it’s good to explore—and perhaps come to rule out—different forms of consecrated life when you’re first discerning. And in some cases, I certainly believe it’s possible that God in His providential ordering of circumstances might lead a former religious to her true vocation as a consecrated virgin.

But consecrated virginity lived “in the world” (i.e., as a part of a diocese rather than in the context of a religious community) really does have a distinct charism and spirituality of its own. Also, it’s my sincere conviction that—when the vocation of consecrated virginity is lived out to the fullest—it makes demands on you that are on a level comparable to that of religious life. Because of these things, one’s personal discernment of this vocation should be in response to a positive sense of being called to it specifically, and not as the result of seeking an “alternative.”

So in other words, a vocation to consecrated virginity means much more than simply living a virginal life for Christ without entering a convent!

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[quote name='Sponsa-Christi' timestamp='1344720478' post='2466219']
Also:



Please bear with me on this, but I have to say it: if a woman feels she might have a vocation to consecrated virginity, she should really discern this as a “first” vocation, and not as a kind of back-up plan in case she is not accepted into any religious community. (My thought is that, if an aspiring woman religious was not able to enter any convent but still wanted to give her life to God alone, it would be better if she considered making a private vow.)

Of course, it’s good to explore—and perhaps come to rule out—different forms of consecrated life when you’re first discerning. And in some cases, I certainly believe it’s possible that God in His providential ordering of circumstances might lead a former religious to her true vocation as a consecrated virgin.

But consecrated virginity lived “in the world” (i.e., as a part of a diocese rather than in the context of a religious community) really does have a distinct charism and spirituality of its own. Also, it’s my sincere conviction that—when the vocation of consecrated virginity is lived out to the fullest—it makes demands on you that are on a level comparable to that of religious life. Because of these things, one’s personal discernment of this vocation should be in response to a positive sense of being called to it specifically, and not as the result of seeking an “alternative.”

So in other words, a vocation to consecrated virginity means much more than simply living a virginal life for Christ without entering a convent!
[/quote]

That's a good point. I don't have a spiritual director so discernment has been especially difficult without one. I sincerely feel that I need to check out religious life because it's the one vocation that keeps coming back to me. Whenever I stop discerning, I inevitably get the prodding to discern more deeply. But I will say this -- the one thing that has been the most constant in my discernment is the desire for the supernatural vocation instead of marriage. I have a natural attraction to marriage but I don't think I'd have the same satisfaction or happiness if I married a mortal man instead of living a spiritual life totally consecrated to Jesus. I wouldn't use the Consecrated Virginity vocation as a back-up because that's not an adequate way to discern. You have to feel a calling to it. If I ever discern in that direction, I know it takes years and I'm not even sure that my current Bishop would approve since Consecrated Virginity is so rare nowadays. :)

Also, welcome to Phatmass! I've read your blog several times and I always find it very interesting and informative. I deeply respect your vocation and you are in my prayers. God bless.

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