Single Consecrated Life

Introduction to the community

One of the earliest ways of living the Religious life was for single people to take a vow of consecrated celibacy and to live in their own homes. This ancient form of commitment is also a contemporary one with people once again embracing this form of Religious life. Some may have an active ministry whilst others follow a contemplative lifestyle. Some have remained single, whilst others are widows, widowers or divorced. In 2002, the Advisory Council (for Religious communities in the Church of England) set up a Personal Vows group in response to enquiries from bishops and others to advise those who wish to take a vow of consecrated celibacy. In 2011, the Advisory Council approved a constitution for the network, and a leadership team was elected which now provides support for those who have professed this vow and arranges gatherings. In the Roman Catholic Church, this form of living the consecrated life was affirmed by Vatican II, which re-established the Order of Consecrated Virgins (OCV). Now an order of Widows is also emerging.

People exploring this call should be single, widowed, or divorced: mature Christians (men or women) already committed to a life of prayer and willing to undertake a period of discernment before taking a temporary vow which may precede a life vow. An appropriate spiritual director and support from a Religious community or through the Single Consecrated Life network is important to ensure adequate formation. We also have a group of Friends who support us in prayer.

The vow is received by a person’s bishop. The bishop (or their appointee) becomes the ‘guardian of the vow’ and the act of consecration is registered with SCL for the Advisory Council.

Contact details

For further information the contact is: Revd Dr Sue Hartley,

Community information



Group leadership of Deans: Beverley Smith, Catherine Wood, Sue Hartley, Dan Berry


Persons in Life Vows: 40
Persons in Temporary Vows: 10
Seekers: 12