Religious Exhorted to Live Their Virginity with Love

Advice from the Superior of Order of St. John of God

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MADRID, Spain, MARCH 9, 2003 ( On the feast of their founder, members of a religious order were exhorted to live their vocation joyfully in a world that doesn’t always believe in their virginity.

On Saturday, feast of St. John Ciudad Duarte, founder of the Order of St. John of God, the congregation’s Prior General, Brother Pascual Piles Ferrando, invited the members «to live the religious vocation in a fruitful and joyful way, in a world that does not always believe in the possibility that we are virgins,» Ivicon reported.

The superior’s letter, entitled «John of God, Expression of Fruitful Love,» is a reflection on the meaning of the religious vocation of St. John of God’s brothers «at the level of consecration in virginity,» keeping the founder’s example in mind.

Writing to his religious, Brother Piles Fernando said that he hopes «that the testimony of our father will be a stimulus for all and help us to understand, appreciate, love and live our virginity in a joyful way, at a time in which the materialist society thinks little of it, at a time in which the Church has been strongly criticized because of the behavior of some religious and priests, in not living virginity and being the cause of abuse.»

According to the superior of the order, what is needed is «a human and spiritual process that will lead us to maturity and enable us to respond to the exigencies of virginity by living life in a harmonious way.» As a model of virginity, the superior suggested their founder, Juan Ciudad.

With the responsibility of over 300 postulants, novices and scholastics in the order, the superior exhorted his religious to «make a sincere plan, courageous from the start, capable of making us grow by eliminating the weaknesses that might exist in our nature and by really being witnesses of virginity in a world that does not always believe in the possibility that we are virgins.»

Among the aids to a fruitful and joyful living of their calling, Brother Piles Ferrando proposed «prayer, spiritual direction, the fraternity of our communities, and an ascetic life.»

One of the values of virginity in the consecrated life is «the possibility to experience joyful affectivity, in a more serene situation, with less problems, to eliminate from our lives the desire for leading roles, little envies, little jealousies that can appear,» he said.

The order, which is active in 45 countries, has 40,000 collaborators, almost 300 health care centers, and some 300,000 benefactors. Almost one-third of the order’s 1,500 religious are in Spain.

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