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Belonging to God Alone Through Consecrated Virginity English

Disciple Profile Carol Bruce

When did you learn that a consecrated virgin was a vocational path offered by the Church and what initially appealed to you about it?

From the time I was a teenager, I felt God’s call to be His alone. This led me to enter the Oakford Dominicans when I was 20. After my first profession of vows in that community, the Lord showed me another path. His seal remained upon my heart and as it says in the Song of Songs, “I sought no Lover but Him.”  The years passed quickly as I cared for my aging parents and assisted them in their last years. Still, there was an unfulfilled desire of my heart to live my consecration to Him in vows once again. After reading the Association of Consecrated Virgins website, the option of a consecrated virgin came to my attention. According to Canon 604, this consecration allows a lay person to make a formal public vow of consecration to God alone and to the service of the Church. I knew that this was what God was calling me to do.

Tell me how long you have been intentionally embarking on the vocation of consecrated virgin and the nutshell version of your journey.

When Our Lord asked us to take the narrow road, He never promised it would be straight. I investigated many other communities: religious orders, secular institutes, and the like. I intentionally began the formal process during Christmas of 2019 and a year later I contacted Father Joe Kim asking for his help finding a spiritual director, which is required for the applicant. Father graciously offered to fulfill this role and that was a defining moment. For a year Father Joe Kim spiritually guided me and his acknowledgement of my readiness to make public vows was my long-sought answer.

Was there a particularly important figure, or aspect of the life of a consecrated virgin, that inspired you while on this path?

Originally my mother instilled and nurtured my deep love for God. Additionally, Mother Colette of the Poor Clare Monastery in Los Altos Hills helped my decision. Mother Colette and I have been friends since we were teenagers and I see her at times when assisting the monastery. She knows my life well and when I expressed my desire for consecrated virginity, she immediately said yes. Lastly, our pastor, Father Phong, has given me many opportunities for ministry/service, for which I am deeply grateful. My particular call is to pray and fast for priests, a ministry I have engaged in for many years.

One aspect that inspired me was the Prayer of Consecration rite that I read many times. These lines especially stood out to me:

“Lord, look with favor on your handmaid.

She places in your hands her resolve to live in chastity.

You inspire her to take this vow;

now she gives you her heart.

 Only you can kindle this flame of love and feed its brightness.”

These lines help emphasize it is only the Spirit who calls out such love as I have for God. It is a divine gift, and not something human beings achieve on their own.

Can you expand on the "requirements" for consecrated virgins.

Since one is both a virgin and “betrothed” mystically to Christ, one does not marry or adopt children to form a family; the Church is one’s family. One must be completely responsible for all aspects of day-to-day living in caring for oneself and one’s property which one can own. There is no vow of poverty.

As in all consecrations, one must discern God's will to live such a life. It is a vow, thus for a lifetime. To give one's whole life to and for the Church as one perceives daily: family, neighbors, co-workers is to minister in prayer and action. I love my God more than anyone or anything. Finding one’s vocation is what love looks like.

Where do you see the role of consecrated virgins in the global church?

Although the global Church requires active ministry to evangelize, there is also the great need for the silent, hidden, prayer as Jesus gave us in his first 30 years and Mary gave us with her example. We are leaven in the world-at-large with prayer, sacrifice and fasting as a part of that silent witness. For me, teaching, nursing, caring for the elderly, ministering to those most in need like the lepers in India, these paths have led me to walk more closely with Jesus and to seek His peace for each of these I meet. As a consecrated virgin, I am called to bring to the world a healing deeper than medicine. It is only in being totally His that this is possible, for me.

Pamella Sullivan
Pamella Sullivan

Carol Bruce is one of seven siblings and the only sister. A nurse for 32 years, she continues working in a cancer research group at Stanford. She is an active parishioner at the Church of the Resurrection, where she has been a life-long member. You can find her driving her '65 Mustang, walking her dog, Buster, cooking, or baking.


Read about Consecrated Virginity According to Canon Law by clicking here.