Single Consecrated Life
A stool with one leg cannot stand. What about a stool with two legs? It cannot stand either. The minimum number of legs for a stable platform is three. These three legs provide a solid base upon which much weight can be borne. The Community of Caritas is comprised of three legs: families, single consecrated men, and single consecrated women.
This composition is based in a message of Our Lady of Medjugorje given on May 25, 1983. In that message, Our Lady gave some rules for those
A Friend of Medjugorje understood in the beginning formation of the community that this meant that everyone, no matter whether they were married or single, could be consecrated to Our Lady. Some men and women would be consecrated to Our Lady specifically as a single, not entering the vocation of marriage.
Men and women have come from all parts of the world to live in community in service to Our Lady as a single consecrated for a period of years or in a consecrated vocation for life. These men and women each have a vocation story of how Our Lady has called them, what they had to walk away from to get here, and an understanding in their hearts of what it means to
For these single consecrated men and women, their walking into consecrated life serves to purify their hearts and minds, and is a beautiful way for God to make clean their slate to be better “extended hands” for Our Lady.
When the Caritas Community was first forming many years ago, a Friend of Medjugorje wanted the children to show a sign of respect in addressing the single consecrated men and women, but not so formal as to overshadow the special friendship that these consecrated had with the children. Instead of addressing them as “sir” and “ma’am” – the single consecrated are called “Zio” for the men and “Zia” for the women. These words actually mean “uncle” and “aunt” in Italian, which is more of what the relationship is like with the consecrated. This is the building of culture in our own community. It forms bridges of the heart between the children and adults, and between the consecrated and the married who join together to form a wall of protection around the children through witness and love.
Without the obligations of family life, the “Zios” and “Zias” are able to serve in different capacities in the mission of Caritas of Birmingham that would otherwise be very difficult to uphold. A required period of time as a consecrated single for all unmarried individuals who join the community serves as a period of growth with Our Lady and Her way of life that She formed in community, as well as a discernment period for what state in life God is calling these individuals to in the future.