Three women married Jesus during a ceremony at a Roman Catholic cathedral church in Detroit on June 24.
Karen Marie Ervin, Theresa Anne Jordan and Laurie Beth Malashanko were the first women to become consecrated virgins in the Archdiocese of Detroit, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Under Catholic rules, the women are "mystically betrothed to Christ," and will be lifelong virgins, but they are not nuns.
The women will continue to lead regular lives, work jobs and serve the church.
"It was a little bit scattered it first, because it was the first time we were practicing this vocation in the Archdiocese of Detroit," Jordan recalled. "There was no set procedure or protocol."
Jordan, who is 40-years-old, added, "I felt like it was an opportunity to take my relationship with Christ one step further."
Ervin, a 42-year-old principal of a Catholic school, said, "The focus is on how to be in the world, but not be of it, and [having] this understanding of your role as a bride of Christ, and reflecting your love of Jesus to the world."
In the Bible, the bride of Christ is mentioned as the church in an analogy in Ephesians 5:22-33, according to Bible Gateway. There are other bridal analogies, but no specific verses that say women can be married to Jesus.
There are close to 4,000 consecrated virgins in the world and nearly 250 in the U.S., according to Judith Stegman who heads the United States Association of Consecrated Virgins.
Bishops stopped consecrating women who did not join religious orders (i.e. nuns) in 1139 because they believed women would be better off if they lived in female communities (i.e. convents), Stegman explained.
However, the Second Vatican Council ruled in 1963 that the rite of consecrated virginity ought to be revised, and it was in 1970 for women "living in the world."
Stegman stated: "That’s why it’s so misunderstood. For centuries, we only had the other kind of religious life in the church (for women). People aren't as familiar with it."
Becoming consecrated virgins is not an easy process. Each of the three women in Detroit had to submit a biography, character references and a statement of intent to Archbishop Allen Vigneron.
Jordan said: "It’s not a vocation you can just 1-2-3 get into. It takes a lot of formation, study and prayer."
Ervin said she dated in her 20s, but became interested in her new calling when she turned 35-years-old.
Malashanko, who is 41-years-old, added: "There were religious orders I loved, and there were guys I dated who were great, but nothing clicked until I heard about this."
"I was very happy, very elated to be wedded to Christ," Jordan, who works as a French teacher, said. "I felt aligned with his virginity, his purity and all of his sufferings."