Elizabeth Black, new principal at St. Stephen Catholic School, was consecrated according to the Rite of the Consecration of Virgins Living in the World by Bishop David Walkowiak during a Mass on Sunday, Aug. 8, at 3 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew. This vocation is for the whole Church, and all the faithful of the diocese were warmly invited to attend the Mass.

This ancient vocation, the vocation of the Roman martyrs Agnes and Lucy, among others, is a mystical espousal to Christ and a visible reminder of the union that we are all called to live with Christ in heaven. The virgin is consecrated in a solemn rite by the bishop of the diocese, and she is an image of the Church’s single-hearted love for Christ. During the Rite the virgin receives a wedding ring as the symbol of her vocation.

To learn more about this vocation, read a write-up by Elizabeth at adoremus.org.

Elizabeth was born and raised in Ada, MI, and is a member of St. Stephen Parish in E. Grand Rapids. She was homeschooled in high school and completed her bachelor’s in classics from Christendom College in Front Royal, VA, and a master’s in liturgical studies from the Liturgical Institute at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, IL. She recently returned to West Michigan from northern Virginia where she was Dean of Faculty and Curriculum at Oakcrest School in Vienna, Virginia.

Read more from Elizabeth in her own words about her discernment of this vocation and how it is lived out:

  • How did you discern your vocation? I discerned into this vocation “backwards.” Having discerned that God didn’t seem to be calling me to either religious life or marriage, I made a pact with Him that I would focus on pursuing my baptismal vocation and leave the rest to Him. This gave me great peace, and it was about a year or two later, in prayer, that He gave me the desire to be united to Him more closely but not in the context of religious life. At this point, I didn’t know about consecrated virginity and so was very confused to have a desire for a way of life that I didn’t think existed. I mentioned this to my spiritual director at the time, and he told me about the vocation to Consecrated Virginity Lived in the World. I knew instantly that this was what I had been called to.
  • How long have you been in formation/preparing for this vocation? I was in formation for seven years in the Diocese of Arlington, VA. During this time, I met frequently with a formation director and the vocations director, and I also had regular spiritual direction. I studied the history, theology, and spirituality of the vocation, met with other consecrated virgins, and established a plan of life. I was also able to complete my master’s in liturgical studies from the Liturgical Institute.
  • What will daily living as a consecrated virgin look like for you? The vocation is primarily one of “being”; in other words, my vocation is to be a bride of Christ, to be united with Him through a deep prayer life, and to serve Him by serving the Church. This vocation is lived in the world, and my life and work is at the service of the Church. The way each virgin lives her vocation varies on her skills and charisms, and she discerns this together with the bishop. Concretely, I am living my service as the principal at St. Stephen School.

Additional resources about vocations to consecrated religious life are found on our website here.