A high school theology teacher Jessica Hayes is now a consecrated virgin –a woman who has been consecrated by the Catholic Church to a life of perpetual virginity in the service of God. She is to spend her time in works of penance and mercy, in apostolic activity and in prayer. Hayes decided to dedicate her life to God after years of praying and soul-searching.
She said: “My students asked if they should call me Mrs. Hayes when I come back to school next week, and no, I’m still Ms. But I am married to Jesus. I think that in some sense, we’re all called to be married. It’s just a matter of discerning how. So, my marriage is to Christ and someone else’s marriage is to their spouse.”
After being consecrated Hayes will not be able to get married to anyone else or to have sex for the rest of her life. As a bride of Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, she has to preserve a perpetual state of virginity to the end of her days. Hundreds of people, including friends, family and curious strangers attended the service to take a look at the extraordinary wedding.
Hayes, who has now taken Christ as her spouse said: “Now that I’ve made a public commitment, that’s really an encouragement to me to live up to that because people know that this is who I am and my life needs to be lived in conformity with that.
So, it’s one more step in that direction that others expect this way of life from me and I need to live consistently in my words and actions that love for Jesus. I’m so happy to have had so many witnesses because there may be others that the Lord is calling in this way that have now heard of this life and can consider it in their prayer.”
Ms Hayes wore a white dress and received a ring and veil to symbolize her marriage to Christ alone and readiness to give herself to the Church. She also got an edition of the Liturgy of the Hours, a set of daily prayers she has committed to offering. There are approximately 230 consecrated virgins in the United States and 3,500 around the world at the moment.