Jessica Hayes, 38, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, recently became one of about 230 consecrated virgins in the United States. Hundreds attended the ceremony at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne out of curiousity and interest in Hayes' unusual vocation, according to the Daily Mail.
Unlike a religious sister, a consecrated virgin doesn’t join a religious community. A consecrated virgin provides her own home and livelihood and is expected to commit to prayer and volunteer service. In 1970, Pope Paul VI reinstituted the rite, which had fallen into disuse.
Hayes, a theology teacher at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne, said she decided to become a consecrated virgin after years of prayer and consideration.
The Diocese of Pittsburgh celebrated its first Rite of Consecration of a Virgin in July for Sheila Ryan, a retired school teacher.
Discover more about consecrated life with the many Year of Consecrated Life resources on our website.