Jessica Hayes, 38, has chosen to be a consecrated virgin, one of only 3,000 Catholics in the entire world who have chosen that path.
This may look like an ordinary wedding with a beautiful bride in a white dress and hundreds of well wishers, but there is one glaring absence - the groom.
For Jessica Hayes was not in church to marry any ordinary man, but Jesus Christ himself.
The 38-year-old had chosen to be a consecrated virgin, one of only 3,000 Catholics in the entire world who have chosen that path.
The virgin has pledged not to have sex for the rest of her life and to dedicate herself to God. However, unlike a nun, she will stay in the community and continue her job as a theology teacher.
Ms Hayes, from Fort Wayne in Indiana, donned a white, long sleeved lace dress, white veil and nude heels and curled her shoulder-length hair.
Marriage: Jessica said everyone was called into marriage and this was her chosen path
She told WANE.com her biggest worry was finding a dress that was pretty while still covering her up as she would have to lie on the floor for some of the service.
She said: "I really wanted to make sure that I was well-covered in a way that still shows the beauty of a bride."
She said she had been praying and soul-searching for years and decided being a consecrated virgin would allow her to be close to God while still living in the world and look after her pupils.
She said: "This is a vocation for women that feel that deeper call to spend their life more in knowing Jesus and making that a public commitment in serving his church, but are also called to live in the world.”
Inspiration: She said she would encourage others to consider a religious life
Ms Hayes said she hoped she would encourage some of her pupils at Bishop Dwenger High School, as well as the hundreds of people, many of them strangers, who came to watch, to consider a religious life for themselves.
She said: “I’m so happy to have had so many witnesses today because there may be others that the Lord is calling in this way that have now heard of this life and can consider it in their prayer."
Fashion: She thought long and hard about the dress as she would have to lie on the floor at one stage
The service, carried out by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Saturday, was not literally a marriage.
However it uses some of the symbols of marriage, including a dress, a veil and a ring, to make the point that women who become consecrated virgins are pledging to spend their life in the service of God.
The practice died out in the Middle Ages, died out until it was reinvented by Pope Paul VI in the 1970s.
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