This Indiana teacher loves the Catholic Church so much she married Jesus
An Indiana teacher married Jesus Christ over the weekend after becoming a consecrated virgin.
Jessica Hayes, a 38-year-old theology teacher at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne, entered into a “a spousal union with Christ lived in the midst of the world,” reported The Journal-Gazette.
Hayes will keep her job and her name, and she is not becoming a nun, but she may not marry and will live a life of prayer and service to the church, the newspaper reported.
She wore a wedding dress and prostrated herself before the altar Saturday during Mass.
“I’ve seen so many wedding dresses over the years that I think I’ve probably changed my mind very many times,” Hayes said. “I had to really consider the appropriateness of the occasion for my dress. I wanted my shoulders to be covered, and I would have to lie prostrate before the altar, so I really wanted to make sure that I was well-covered in a way that still shows the beauty of a bride.”
She is the first consecrated virgin in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend since Mary Jane Carew, who died in 2012, transferred her consecrated life to the Ecclesial Order of Virgins in 1990.
Hayes said she was inspired after attending Carew’s funeral to join the religious order.
“I had been praying about it for years, trying to seek God’s will for my life and not really finding it in any of the paths that I sought before,” Hayes told WANE-TV. “It was really a consideration of which things brought me the most joy and where my greatest happiness was. It seemed that all of those loves converged on this one thing where I could still be living in the world and be a part of the lives of my students and be studying and teaching and involved in a parish life, but I could also give myself more completely by making this total commitment of my life to serve the church in whatever capacity is needed and whatever capacity my own gifts are available for.”
There are about 3,000 consecrated virgins in the world, with about 200 in the United States.
Only never-married women may become consecrated virgins, and church officials said they must never have “knowing and deliberately” engaged in sexual relations or “lived in open or public violation of chastity.”
Consecrated virgins are seen by the church as the Bride of Christ — and that’s how Hayes sees herself.
“As Catholics and as Christians, we’re all called to that loving relationship with our God,” she said. “So I’m called to live it out in this way. Married couples are called to live that out in their married vocation and their love of their family. It’s a way of life that really anticipates what all of us will live in heaven, that union with ourselves and Christ and a real knowing and loving of him. My path is choosing that closer following now because that’s where my greatest joys lie.”
Watch this video report posted online by WANE-TV: