Preparation Process for the Consecration of Virgins Living in the World
Prepared by the United States Association of Consecrated Virgins
15 September 2000, Our Lady of Sorrows
1. Candidates must have suitable character and sufficient qualities of maturity as an integrated person. By age, prudence, and universally attested good character, the candidate must give assurance of perseverance in a life of chastity dedicated to the service of the Church and of her neighbor. Psychological health, character, and maturity are to be attested to, if necessary, by using experts.
2. Candidates must be free to accept a life of consecrated virginity lived in the world. It is required that she have never been married or lived in public or open violation of chastity. She should demonstrate in some way that her call to perpetual virginity has been tested over time.
1. The individual completes the Application Form and submits it with the required documentation to the diocesan bishop.
2. Three acquaintances submit letters of reference to the diocesan bishop.
3. In addition to the Application Form and the letters of reference, the following are required: documentation of Baptism, First Holy Communion, Confirmation, and citizenship, and assurance of financial independence.
4. The applicant's spiritual director testifies in writing to the diocesan bishop that the applicant has been receiving regular and appropriate spiritual direction.
5. The diocesan bishop reviews the application and supporting documentation and letters. He accepts or rejects the application.
Period of Preparation
1. The purpose of the period of preparation prior to reception of this sacramental of Consecration is to help the candidate better understand and live this divine vocation to which she is called. This period should further test and strengthen her resolve of perpetual virginity.
2. Ordinarily, the period of preparation is for not less than two years, but length of time will, nevertheless, depend on the candidate's progress and readiness.
3. The period of preparation is carried out with the assistance of the spiritual director and a preparation coordinator who is well acquainted with the Consecration of a Virgin and who is appointed by the diocesan bishop to help coordinate the preparation process for the candidate. Should the Diocesan Bishop request it, the spiritual director may carry out the preparation coordination for the Consecration. In any case, however, the preparation coordinator should well understand the nature of the Consecration itself and the practicalities of life as a consecrated virgin living in the world. Ideally, the preparation coordinator would be a consecrated virgin.
4. The spiritual director and/or preparation coordinator is to provide guidance in development of prayer and the vocation of consecrated virginity itself. This spiritual guidance should include the model of the Church as Bride of Christ and the consecrated virgin as an 'icon of the Church.' Guidance in prayer should include especially an understanding of the Liturgy of the Hours.
5. The preparation coordinator and the candidate periodically evaluate the progress of the preparation process. They will keep the diocesan bishop apprised of this progress.
6. At the conclusion of the period of satisfactory preparation, the preparation coordinator is to write a letter to the bishop recommending that the candidate receive the Consecration of a Virgin for a Woman Living in the World, according to Canon 604. The spiritual director will write a letter also attesting only to the fact that the candidate has been receiving regular and appropriate spiritual direction throughout the period of preparation.
1. A file of all applications, letters, documents, and progress reports of the candidate is to be retained in the office of the diocesan bishop. A copy of her certificate of Consecration should be added to her file after her Consecration has taken place.
2. A certificate attesting to the Consecration is to be kept in the diocesan archives. The Consecration of a Virgin for a Woman Living in the World should be noted on the consecrated virgin's Baptismal record.