Consecrated life

Four members of the Magnificat Community are Consecrated Women Living in the World. The Consecration of a Virgin is one of the oldest sacramentals in the Church, and one of the fruits of Vatican II was the restoration of this rite.  The promulgation of this restored rite for women living in the world was on 31 May 1970.

Through this sacramental, the woman is set aside as a sacred person who belongs only to Christ.  The acting agent in the consecration is God himself who accepts the woman’s promise  and spiritually fructifies it through the restoration of the Holy Spirit.

Joanne Oliver and Lucia Kwa being consecrated in 2002

Joanne Oliver and Lucia Kwa being consecrated in 2002

Val McTavish and Cecilia Healion being consecrated September 2007

Val McTavish and Cecilia Healion being consecrated September 2007

Marist Messenger Article on Consecrated Life

Archbishop Dew receives the vows for Consecrated Life of Women living in the world.

On a Sunday in September two women of the Magnificat Community Featherston committed themselves to lives of consecrated chastity as women living in the world. Cecilia Healion and Valerie McTavish took their vows at the parish of St Joseph, Mt Victoria, where both had been parishioners for some years.

They were sponsored by two other women who had taken the same vows in 2002, Lucia Kwa and Joanne Oliver. These two women were founding members of the Magnificat Community, while Val McTavish was the first to move to Cross Creek near Featherston. Cecilia Healion followed suit, and soon the whole community had moved to the rural property where a retreat centre has been established.

This kind of Consecrated Life is growing slowly in New Zealand. The women who feel called to this life have to support themselves, and quite a few work in key positions in the Church. Some live alone, and others live in a community of like-minded souls.

Pope Benedict has spoken about Consecrated Life. He said,

“Their way of living and working can vividly express full belonging to the one Lord. Their complete surrender in the hands of Christ and of his Church is a strong and clear proclamation of the presence of God in a language that is comprehensible also for our contemporaries; this is the first service that consecrated life makes to the Church and the world.

Within the People of God, consecrated persons are like sentinels who glimpse and proclaim the new life already present in history.”

In his homily during the ceremony Archbishop John Dew began:

“There are two words which for me are holy words which sum up the sacred and contain very powerful images. Those words are REVERENCE and CONSECRATION.
The whole idea of reverencing God, reverencing God and each other, reverencing God and creation – revering and being caught up in the wonder of God  –  for me is very powerful. Reverence speaks to me of the gentleness and awe, peace and calm…… of God.

The idea of consecrating someone or something to God is also very powerful. In this case two women are being sanctified, set apart as sacred, made holy….. that is always for a purpose, in this case to give glory to God, pray for others, and be a sign of God’s love.”

The Archbishop went on to say:

“Through prayer and reflection, through spiritual guidance, Val and Cecilia have discovered the intentions of God for them: the will of God for them, to be consecrated to a life of virginity.

With unparalleled love, they have been drawn into the circle of God’s life.
In that circle we respond to God by living reverently, prayerfully, thoughtfully. We are consecrated, made holy at baptism, then for the rest of our lives we listen for God’s calls and prompts as to how to live. Val and Cecilia have listened.”

“The consecration of Val and Cecilia is a call to greater fervour in spreading the kingdom of God, in giving the world the spirit of Christ.

They have discovered that the best way for them to spread the kingdom of God and give Christ to the world is to live as consecrated women of the world.

Think of the incredible good that they can do through their prayer and good works: think of the abundant blessings they will receive from God and pass on to others. They do this through their prayer, their holy living: they do this for the Church, for society, for families.

The Gospel speaks of being disciples of Jesus; Val and Cecilia have decided to be disciples in a different way.

They will not allow themselves to be satisfied with anything that is less than God. They will be consecrated to God.”

Pope Benedict speaking on World Day for Consecrated Life in Rome
2 February, 2007

“Your evangelical witness, in order to be truly effective, must arise from an unreserved response to the initiative of God, Who consecrated you for Him through a special act of love.”

“In our time there exists, especially among the young, a widespread need to meet God. Those who are chosen by God for consecrated life make this spiritual longing definitively their own. … With their example, they proclaim to the world – which is often disoriented but in reality searching for meaning – that God is the Lord of existence.”

Joanne Oliver and Lucia Kwa, consecration, Wellington, December 2002

Consecrated men and women, “by choosing obedience, poverty and chastity for the Kingdom of Heaven, show that all ties of love to things and to people are incapable of definitively satisfying the heart.” Their lives “constitute a total and definitive, unconditional and passionate response to God.”

“When they renounce everything to follow Christ,” the Pope added, “consecrated people … necessarily become a sign of contradiction, because their way of life and thought often contrasts with the logic of the world. … When faced with such courage, many people who thirst for truth are inspired and attracted by those who do not hesitate to give their lives for that which they believe”

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