The Consecrated Virgin and Her Service to the Church

by Therese Ivers, JCL

Some Americans have interesting theories about the part of the consecrated virgin’s vocation which is dedication to the service of the Church. In my work as a vocations promoter in my diocese, I frequently encounter people who value religious and other consecrated people (such as consecrated virgins) by the “cheap labor” value they provide. This is because America is deeply influenced by the Calvinistic work ethic in which a person’s worth and identity has been tied to his value as a productive worker. Others identify “service to the Church” as the erroneous notion of consecrated virgins being obliged insofar as possible to be working directly for the (arch)diocese or parish or religious community since it can be labeled “Catholic”. Both views are incorrect. Can my astute readers identify why, before I publish the reasons in my upcoming book on vocations? Simply register and comment!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Consecrated Virgin and Her Service to the Church

  1. Bride of the Lamb says:

    In my humble opinion, because the service of the church is the service of prayer, especially of praying the liturgy of the hours. The only “specific” “manddatum” for the consecrated virgin at the rite of concecration is:

    Receive the book of the liturgy of the hours,
    the prayer of the Church;
    may the praise of our heavenly Father
    be always on your lips;
    pray without ceasing
    for the salvation of the whole world.

  2. Bride of the Lamb says:

    Of couse it should have meant “mandatum” above, sorry.

  3. researcher says:

    Dear Therese,

    Not only in America but also in other countries-the worth of persons in various institutes or forms of consecrated life is calculated by the clergy and laity according to the extent they can provide cheap labor for a lifetime.

    There are arch[dioceses] which willingly perform the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity which includes dedicaton to the service of the Church – ONLY TO OBTAIN CHEAP LABOR. This is inspite of the fact that consecrated virgins should be paid like any other personnel who do not belong to religious institutes.Most religious institutes lead a high class lifestyle compared to the common people in developing countries and their institutes may afford to provide personnel to work for an honorarium.I also know of poorer religious congregations who are exploited and are resentful about being treated as cheap labor.

    Some years ago a friend who wanted to go to Africa to join a Religious congregation expressed her desire to a superior who had come for a holiday. The only fear she had was the ‘rumours’ of religious women used by clergy for sexual pleasure. To this the superior replied ,” you will have to put up with that as well if you desire to evangelise . The priests there have very stressful lives and cannot go to prostitutes. Priests are married to the church and …….”.

    The view of some people that consecrated virgins dedicated to the service of the church should work in a ‘ catholic institute’ is far from the call of the consecrated virgin to be a spiritual mother to the faithful . This implies service that is integrated with the life of the church which is not limited to church buildings and institutions but the community of catholics.

    Hence it is also not limited to praying the liturgy of the hours .The dedication to service according to the Rite of consecrated is deeper and wider in meaning.

Leave a Reply