Fort Wayne, Indiana, theology teacher Jessica Hayes dedicated her life to Christ in a ceremony that has not been performed in over 25 years in the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese. The Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity will engage Hayes in a spousal union with Christ, leaving her as the only consecrated virgin in the Indiana diocese.
Hayes, 38-years-old, is a theology teacher at Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne. Her dedication as a consecrated virgin enters her into a “spousal union with Christ,” according to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. Hayes’ dedication will not find her following the path of a nun or other religious sister. Instead, she will lead a fairly normal life in comparison. Hayes will continue her work as a theology teacher, live in her own home, and wear her preferred clothing. She will also keep her given name.
Hayes’ dedication as a consecrated virgin will guarantee that she remains a virgin and will remain unmarried for the remainder of her life. Her life will be dedicated to prayer and service to the Catholic church.
Hayes realized her desire to be dedicated as a consecrated virgin at the funeral of Sister Jane Carew. Carew was also a consecrated virgin. Hayes sought out spiritual guidance as she contemplated the decision to become a consecrated virgin, according to Today’s Catholic News.
“It seemed that all the things I wanted most were in that way of life.”
To Hayes, a consecrated virgin is “someone who has a vocation to a spousal intimacy with Christ.”
“My community is among the laity. My parish, my family, my students — that’s my community.”
Although the act of becoming a consecrated virgin is a representation of a spiritual change in an individual, it does bring with it some hardship and temptation. Living the life of a nun, in a world outside faced with constant temptation, will bring challenges that Hayes is ready to tackle and prove her purity.
“This will be my final and only vows, so a lot of the preparation in the spiritual life was done on my own leading up to that point.”
When asked how she came to the decision to become a consecrated virgin and how she plans to maintain her dedication purity, she stated that silence and solitude guided her.
“An awful lot of silence and solitude in my prayer life. I already had a good foundation for the spiritual life but what I hadn’t had up to that point were good tools for discerning my vocation.”
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