I have been wondering lately, would any readers be interested in something like a closed Facebook page (or a private blog, or some kind of forum—assuming I can figure out how to set up a forum) for consecrated virgins, candidates, and women seriously discerning this vocation who feel called to embrace a more structured and demonstrably “consecrated” way of life?
Based on some of the comments I’ve received on this blog (such as the first anonymous comment on this post), as well as many of the relationships I’ve developed through email correspondence, I’ve come to believe that I am not the only one who is inclined to interpret the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity in a more strict and literal fashion.
This is absolutely not intended at all as a criticism of those who hold different views than I do—the Church hasn’t yet given any authoritative clarification on many of the practical aspects of a consecrated virgin’s daily life, so I recognize that right now it’s completely legitimate to have different opinions.
However, it seems that oftentimes those of us who do feel called to live our virginal consecration in a more radical way can tend to feel sort of isolated (despite the growing influence of various consecrated virgins’ associations worldwide).
Although as consecrated virgins we all receive the same Rite of Consecration, sometimes in striving to live a distinctively “consecrated” lifestyle, at times I personally feel almost though I’m living a de facto different vocation than the virgins who feel called to live out their consecrated lives in a more “hidden” way. And I’m guessing that my experience in this is not an entirely unique one.
My hunch is that there are probably greater numbers of “radical” (or at least “radically-inclined”) consecrated virgins than most of us realize, and I think it would be great if we could connect online for the purpose of offering mutual sisterly support.
I also think that it would be good to have a place where we could have open discussions amongst ourselves about things like: how to deal with certain practical issues, how to best interpret ambiguous areas of the Rite, how we explain our vocation to family and friends, relating to the wider community as a consecrated virgin, and dealing with some of the spiritual challenges unique to consecrated virginity. My thought is that it would be very helpful to have a place where we could run problems and concerns by others who have truly “been there.”
I don’t think that everyone in this proposed Facebook group/private blog/forum would have to agree with each other on absolutely everything—after all, part of its purpose would be to learn from each other and to try to see our concerns from different angles.
But just to make sure that we were all basically on the same page, this would be a group for consecrated virgins and candidates who believe that:
1. the call to be “dedicated to the service of the Church” should mean a literal dedication to direct service of the Church under normal circumstances;
2. consecrated virgins should strive to live the evangelical counsels of poverty and obedience in at least some sense;
3. consecrated virgins are called to have at least some kind of serious and meaningful bond with the diocese for which they were consecrated;
4. while consecrated virginity involves a great deal of joy, it also necessarily entails some very real sacrifices;
5. in fulfilling their obligation of prayer, consecrated virgins should be asked to meet at least some objective standards (such as praying the Liturgy of the Hours or attending daily Mass);
6. consecrated virgins are called to be public witnesses in the Church, and therefore should be as open about their vocation and identity as priests and religious Sisters are called to be about theirs;
7. young women should not be discouraged from discerning vocations to consecrated virginity simply because of their age.
If an online group of this sort would appeal to you, let me know. Either leave a comment at the bottom of this post (anonymous comments are okay here); or send me an email: sponsa.christi.author [at] gmail [dot] com (put “CV online group” in the subject line).
I would appreciate input, not only about who’s interested, but also about the best way to go about organizing this kind of online community (e.g., would it be better to start a private multi-author blog, or to start a Facebook group?).
Finally, I want to restate once again that this is NOT in any way intended as a disparagement those who generally disagree with my interpretations of the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity. Nor am I trying to create factions or cut off dialogue.
I completely appreciate the fact that—as far as the ambiguous areas of this form of consecrated life are concerned—all consecrated virgins have the right and the obligation to live out their vocation according to what they in conscience determine to be the mind of the Church. If you’re a consecrated virgin who is doing her best to follow her conscience, there’s no way I could fault you, even if I might disagree with some of your interpretations on an objective intellectual level.
It’s just my thought that, since consecrated virginity lived in the world is such a challenging vocation as it is, it might be helpful if consecrated virgins who share a similar (and perhaps less widely-accepted) understanding of our vocation were able to “meet” one another.
Just for some clarification—I have no plans to discontinue this blog, even if my idea for an online community is successful!
Also, for the purposes of this proposed online community of consecrated virgins and discerners, the seven above-mentioned points are, for the most part, non-negotiable.
My intention in trying to start an online community is not to argue for a specific interpretation of the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity, but rather to encourage mutual sisterly support among consecrated virgins who already share a similar understanding of our vocation.
If you disagree with my thoughts on the most appropriate way to live out a vocation to consecrated virginity, that’s perfectly fine! You’re still more than welcome to comment on this blog.
However, I’m envisioning the proposed online community as a place where virgins who feel called to live a more “strict” or “radical” consecrated life can share our thoughts and experiences without feeling as though we constantly need to justify our desire to live a more demonstrably “consecrated” lifestyle to other participants in the community.