The Rite of the Consecration of the Virgins at the Charterhouse of Gosnay
The Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (SASMARS)
The Carthusian nuns have been little known and little studied.’ This is the opening line of a book by Dom Augustin Devaux of the Grande Chartreuse, entitled The History and Documents of the Carthusians, which appeared in 2003. It contains a chapter on the consecration of the virgins. In 2004 an article about the consecration of the virgins in the Carthusian order, by Professor Dr. Hansjakob Becker, of the University of Mainz, appeared in a Festschrift for Prof. Dr. Reiner Kaczynski. These works indicate the importance of the rite in the order and will be referred to in this article.The consecration of a virgin is one of the oldest rites in the Roman Catholic Church. Through the rite of consecration, the virgin, after renewing her promise of perpetual virginity to God, is set aside as a sacred person who belongs only to Christ. By this the Church manifested the importance it attached to the virginity. According to the website of the Carthusians the rite is performed by the bishop of the diocese and the ceremony takes place during Mass, after the Gradual is sung (accessed 22 May 2006). Since the beginning of their union with the order of the Carthusians, around 1145, the Carthusian nuns have received without interruption the consecration of the virgins (Rituel cartusien 9).
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