By Emily Drooby
While flipping through a photo album, Angela Rose Scannapieco reflected on one of the most important days of her life. On Jan. 28, 2001, she became a consecrated virgin.
Nearly 18 years ago, Scannapieco stood at St. James Cathedral Basilica in Downtown Brooklyn in a wedding dress from David’s Bridal with a ring on her finger. But it wasn’t her wedding that she was attending that day, it was actually her consecration ceremony – the day she ‘married Christ.’
“They never had consecrated virgins in Brooklyn before,” she said.
Scannapieco is one of only about 5,000 consecrated virgins in the world – and one of only two in Brooklyn. A third woman is currently working towards becoming a consecrated virgin.
Their numbers are growing rapidly. The United States Association of Consecrated Virgins told Currents News that while there is no central registry, they believe the number has grown between 10 to 15 percent since December 2015, when there were about 4,000.
Even Scannapieco admitted that she didn’t know what a consecrated virgin was when the idea was first introduced by her spiritual director.
“He said, ‘have you thought about consecrated virginity,’ and I said, excuse me?”
She has now seen more recognition.
“I have spoken at a couple of parishes and things like that, so there is more awareness,” she added. “I don’t know if I have seen people come up to me and say ‘oh I know all about consecrated virginity’, because it’s still not all that well-known.”
Being a consecrated virgin is similar to being a nun, but with quite a few differences. Consecrated virgins don’t live in enclosed or cloistered communities, they don’t wear special, uniformed clothing on a daily basis and they have jobs.
For example, while Scannapieco works at Divine Mercy parish in Williamsburg, another consecrated virgin she knows works in the banking industry.
Scannapieco explained one thing is similar – the calling. “If there is something that doesn’t feel like it’s all together there, then surround yourself with good, holy people and seek some council and they’ll point you in the right direction and then God knows, God will use them.”