Celibacy steeped in a whole lot of love

By Sister Sarah Hennessey, F.S.P.A.

The vow of celibacy lets this sister live her best life.

Valentine

Valentine’s Day had author Sister Sarah Hennessey, F.S.P.A. thinking about her commitment to consecrated celibacy. In a world preoccupied with romantic relationships and sexuality, what does it mean to give that part of one’s self to Christ? (Photo: Element5 Digital on Unsplash)


A RECENT Valentine’s Day got me thinking about my own commitment to consecrated celibacy. In a world preoccupied with romantic relationships and sexuality, what does it mean to give that part of myself to Christ? For one thing, I realize my celibacy is steeped in a whole lot of love.

I have been living religious life for 17 years now, and my walk with celibacy has changed. When I was first considering life as a Catholic sister, I met a wise, older sister who told me that I would struggle with each of the vows of poverty, obedience, and consecrated celibacy in their own time. So far she has been right. Just when I thought I was totally comfortable in these vows, life changed and caused me to look at them in a new light. I made vows for a lifetime, but live them out day by day. Consciously or not, every day I choose to be a religious sister; I choose to be celibate.

For me celibacy is about relationship: my relationship with Christ and consequently the shaping of my relationship with everyone else in my life. I love fiercely. I am madly in love with Christ, but I also love like crazy my sisters in community, my friends, and my family. And yes, sometimes I am attracted to someone. Sometimes I find myself riding that wave of emotion on the inside and c