Earlier this week 70 consecrated virgins from all over Spain, from a wide variety of life circumstances and ranging in age from their mid-20s to 80+ gathered in the Cathedral of Valencia to help celebrate the XXVII National Meeting of the Ordo Virginum, the Order of Virgins.
The meeting addressed the chastity of a rite recovered since 1970 from non-religious women
At the meeting, entitled “The attraction of consecrated virginity”, the “appeal” of this renunciation is addressed, “largely unknown at present even though it emerged in the first centuries of Christianity, and whose rite was recovered since 1970 for religious women.”
The act consisted of communion in the cathedral which was celebrated by Cardinal Archbishop Antonio Cañizares who praised the “precious charisma that enfolds members of the order and who have inherited a rich spirituality from the venerable text of the Rite itself as well as from the writings of the Church Fathers.”
The Ordo Virginum does not refer to an “order” in the sense of a specific religious order like the Order of St. Benedict (Benedictines) but is rather a more ancient usage of the term which describes a certain type of person or vocation within the Church.
Because they offer themselves to the Lord in a particularly whole-hearted way, a consecrated virgin is traditionally given the title “bride of Christ,” which prompted the Fathers of the Church to describe consecrated virgins as being a special image of the Church herself.