Jill Boughton
Jill Boughton
Freelance Writer
December 9, 2017 // Special

South Bend native dedicates herself as consecrated virgin

Jill Boughton
Jill Boughton
Freelance Writer

On Nov. 18, Jennifer Sergio publicly embraced a vocation to consecrated virginity, lived in the world. Bishop Timothy L. Doherty presided over the ceremony at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Lafayette, assisted by Sergio’s uncle, Bishop William A. Wack, CSC, of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida.

The occasion came two days before the funeral of Sergio’s grandfather, Dr. James Wack, a longtime parishioner at Christ the King Parish in South Bend. Her mother, Terri Sergio, is the oldest of Jim and Alice Wack’s 10 children.

Bishop William A. Wack, CSC, left, of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida, and Father Neil Wack, CSC, are pictured in St. Mary Cathedral, Lafayette, on Nov. 18 following a Mass at which their niece and South Bend native Jennifer Sergio, center, became a consecrated virgin.

Terri, a retired neonatal intensive care unit nurse, says her second child and only daughter “has always been loving, compassionate and patient, caring for others’ needs, and has been prayerful and contemplative much of her life.” Jenny said she has felt called to the single life for the past 13 years, since she was 20, but didn’t know how to live that out. “It became clear to me that I was asked to be free to serve Jesus wherever and whenever I saw Him and to follow Him wherever He went.” She wanted “to be available to people in a way that others often weren’t, because of family or religious community obligations.” 

Although she considered joining a religious community or taking private vows, “there was still a restlessness in my heart to take another step.” On the internet she came across consecrated virginity lived in the world, an ancient vocation reinstituted in the 1970s. She had never heard of it, but the more she explored, the better it seemed to fit her vocation: “a permanent consecration to be a bride of Christ, to serve my brothers and sisters in a life of prayer and service.”

In her current parish, St. Maria Goretti in Westfield, Jenny sings in the choir and serves as a sacristan and extraordinary minister of holy Communion. She said she feels supported by close friends in the parish who have different vocations, as well as by consecrated virgins who live in other parts of the country.

Jenny earned a doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Indianapolis, deciding on this career after shadowing a friend her freshman year there. Besides working as a physical therapist in downtown Indianapolis, she serves as administrative assistant for the Office of the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana.

   

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