Other Forms of Commitment

Membership of a Secular Institute:

On February 2, 1947, Pope Pius XII declared a new form of consecrated life in the Church. A Secular Institute is open to single lay men and women or diocesan priests who feel called by the Holy Spirit to consecrate their lives more deeply to God through profession of vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Members of Secular Institutes live in their own homes and wear no special identifying dress. They work in or are retired from secular professions. Nurtured by deep personal prayer and Eucharistic liturgy, members are called to live out their consecration in the reality of secular society while infusing Gospel values into their day-to-day environment thereby effecting transformation of society.

Each Secular Institute has its own charism and characteristics and a structured programme of formation. Members find support for their spiritual development and ministry through regular contacts with other members in addition to monthly days of recollection and an annual retreat.

A helpful website is the Canadian Conference of Secular Institutes: http://www.ccis-ccsi.ca/an_index.html

Consecrated Virgins:

The Consecration of Virgins is one of the oldest sacramentals in the Church, and is the oldest form of consecrated life. The rite was restored by the Second Vatican Council. Consecrated virginity is a distinct form of consecrated life in the Church. Through the sacramental a woman resolves to live in perpetual virginity espousing herself to Christ, belonging to God alone. She lives a life of deep personal and communal liturgical prayer.

The Consecrated virgin lives out her vocation individually and completely in secular society. She wears no special identifying dress other than a ring which symbolizes her consecration. She is responsible for her own needs such as medical care, pension, employment etc. She earns her own living and lives in her own home.

A consecrated virgin is free to choose her own way to serve the Church in accordance with her natural gifts. Consecrated virgins usually volunteer their time to serve in their local parish and diocese. The local bishop approves the conditions through which the consecrated virgin lives out her special vocation.

A helpful website is that of the United States Association of Consecrated Virgins: www.consecratedvirgins.org

Canonical Hermit:

This is a special call of a man or woman who lives his/her life in solitude in order to spend extended time in prayer and reflection. He or she publicly professes poverty, chastity and obedience through the Bishop accepting him or her. The Bishop who accepts the person to live this particular vocation directs the person in setting up their lifestyle and guides him or her in the living out of their vocation. The hermit is expected to support him or herself in some form of ministry.