Nicole Bettini, 29, of St. Peter in Forest Lake has become a consecrated virgin during a consecration rite Nov. 17, 2007 at St. Peter. She serves as the parish's director of youth and family apostolate and as coordinator of confirmation. Archbishop Harry Flynn was presiding at the Mass.
Q: What is a consecrated virgin?
A: A consecrated virgin is a woman who is a spouse to Christ, that Christ has called to be his bride. The bishop consecrates her through the church to our Lord as his spouse. Q: Does that mean celibacy?
A: Yes. It means everything is consecrated - one's virginity, one's entire life, that Christ is foremost. Everything in one's life is centered on Christ. Q: Why did you choose to become one?
A: Because [Christ] invited me to it. It's really a personal invitation, of seeking God's will. I looked into religious life in college, discerned that wasn't it and then was really open to marriage. . . . It really comes down to an invitation from him, just as a woman would be proposed to. Q: How does this differ from joining a religious order?
A: The difference is there aren't vows with it. In the consecration, you're set apart. You're consecrated to Christ, espoused to him. With the religious profession, you make the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as well as [to] the community. Q: Is it permanent?
A: This is irrevocable. Once one is consecrated a virgin in the church, it's a permanent state that they now live in. And, it doesn't entail what one does, it's who one is. It's a vocation that finds its fulfillment in heaven. So, it's permanent. Q: What happens during the rite of consecration?
A: It's always celebrated within the context of Mass. So, you have the Liturgy of the Word. And then, the bishop calls you forth. There's an examination, there's the Litany of the Saints, where I lay prostrate as they call for the intercession of Mary and all the saints. Then, I go before the bishop and kneel before him and make the resolution to continue to live in perfect chastity. Then, there's that prayer of consecration where I am before him. Then, I receive the veil, the ring and the Liturgy of the Hours. Then, the Liturgy of the Eucharist is celebrated. Q: You met with Archbishop Flynn recently. What did you talk about?
A: It was a very personal conversation. There's a spiritual father-daughter relationship in this with the bishop. So, he reminded me, specifically, that the vocation be hidden with Christ in prayer. That was probably one of the key moments during our conversation, the reminder that he had for me of what is at the heart of this vocation. Q: How do you think your decision to become a consecrated virgin will benefit the church?
A: That's a very humbling question to answer. As I reflect and read on the vocation, it talks about the church, and the consecrated virgin is one of the crowns, one of the flowers, the fruits of it. The whole vocation, to think about being espoused to Christ, just blows me away in awe and wonder. I can only pray in humility as I live out the vocation through my prayer and complete trust, that, as he draws me closer to his heart and my heart is conformed to his, that my prayer and my life will be a witness, will be a light to the world. It's a vocation that's lived in the world.