Michelle Piccolo shares her inspiring story of conversion through the passing of her mother, the transformative power of Theology of the Body, and the joy of returning to confession. This episode highlights Michelle’s journey to realizing her call to be a “consecrated virgin living in the world” and the beautiful witness of this “rare” vocation. Take a listen.
(00:10) Emily welcomes Fr. Patrick Gonyeau and shares of her connections to Notre Dame. Fr. Patrick shares about some new updates at his parish, Corpus Christi.
(05:27) This episode’s guest Michelle Piccolo is introduced. Michelle played the piccolo in high school, wrote articles about her local churches, and can deadlift 220lbs. Our guest is the Archdiocese of Detroit’s fourth Consecrated Virgin. Fr. Patrick and Michelle recount how they first met.
(08:55) Our guest is invited to share what her life looked like before encountering Christ. She is a cradle Catholic- and she feels she was poorly evangelized; she did not have a personal encounter with Jesus early in life. In her early 20’s, she started asking the big questions of life. A key moment that brought her “all in for Jesus” was when her mother was diagnosed with cancer at the same time Michelle was facing her own health concerns. Following her mother’s second cancer diagnosis and subsequent passing away, Michelle’s disposition of heart changed to desire to join her mother in heaven.
(14:40) Michelle details the things that helped her grow in her faith. She watched Bishop Robert Barron’s homilies, she joined activities at her parish, she went on a young adult retreat, and she went to adoration for the first time. Also, volunteering to be a lector at Mass, an activity she loves, inspired her to study more. She began to read about the saints, and read about the liturgy. Encountering Theology of the Body changed her life. Attending the Theology of the Body Institute was the catalyst to return to the sacrament of confession.
(31:05) Pursuing Consecrated Virginity: “I just want to do God’s will. After hearing about consecrated virginity, Michelle began seeking out people to talk to about this obscure vocation.
(35:10) “What is Consecrated Virginity? And how did you know you were called?” Michelle felt a desire in her heart to be “single for the Lord.” She brought this to her spiritual director. She felt in her heart a great joy and excitement when she considered consecrated virginity. In this vocation, she does not profess vows of obedience or poverty. Her ring is the only visible sign of her consecration. “I like the hiddenness of this vocation.” Emily reminds us that this is the oldest vocation in the Church, as the Blessed Virgin Mary was the first Consecrated Virgin.
(49:19) “What has been one of the most surprising graces in your life?” Michelle shares that she has been surprised by the witness of her life, that the people around her affirm that they see how God is more present and holiness is closer because of her life as a Bride of Christ.