Regina Virginum is formed of a group of female members of the Heralds of the Gospel living stably in community for over ten years in order to better carry out their mission of evangelization, as described in Article 1 of the Society’s statutes:
“Regina Virginum is a Society of Apostolic Life (…) formed by a group of members of the women’s branch of the Heralds of the Gospel – an international Private Association of Christ’s Faithful founded by Monsignor João Scognamiglio Clá Dias and recognized February 22, 2001 by the Pontifical Council for the Laity – who want to live in community seeking to ‘follow Christ with greater freedom and imitate Him more closely’ (Perfectae Caritatis 1) in order to better devote their lives to the service of the church.”
Although the origins of the group are much earlier, it was only in 1996 that dozens of young women took the definitive step to establish an institute of perfection by expressing the desire to preserve their virginity for love of Jesus and to live in community.
Under the constant guidance of Monsignor João Clá Dias, then still a laymen, a life in community began to take form with the election of superiors for the different houses. Everyone involved freely made the commitment to follow, with the appropriate adaptations, the rule of life of the male branch of the Heralds of the Gospel. The statutes express this in the following manner: “The society is born out of the expression of the charism of the Heralds of the Gospel as specifically applied to the consecrated life of women, in the manifestation of the will to work in common with the methods and for the goals of the aforementioned association, and by seeking to express the characteristics of proper of virginity and of the dignity of women in special way in a secularized world (Mulieris dignitatem 10, 20) , and ‘[b]y virtue of their dedication lived in fullness and in joy, consecrated women are called in a very special way to be signs of God’s tender love towards the human race and to be special witnesses to the mystery of the Church, Virgin, Bride and Mother’ (Vita Consecrata 57).“
By Christmas of 1998, twelve houses had been established with communities of young women living under a common rule in Brazil, Colombia, Canada and Guatemala.
In a solemn Mass celebrated in the Church of Our Lady of Brazil in São Paulo on August 15, 2002, the first group of nineteen young women renewed their consecration of love to Jesus through Mary according to the method of St. Louis de Montfort and they were ceremoniously vested with the habit at the hands of the founder of the Heralds of the Gospel.
On December 25, 2005, the Bishop of Campo Limpo, Brazil, the Most Reverend Emilio Pignoli, canonically erected Regina Virginum as a public association within the Church with the goal of eventually allowing it to develop into a society of apostolic life. Its purpose, drawn from decades of experience in community life, is defined in the constitutions:
“Inspired by the luminous teaching of Vatican II and collaborate in the mission of the Church, the society seeks ‘to penetrate and perfect the temporal order with the spirit of the Gospel’ (Apostolicam Actuositatem 5), transmitting ‘the message of the Incarnate Word in terms which the world is able to understand’ (Evangelica Testificatio 9), particularly by the clear and attractive presentation of beauty – the splendor of truth and goodness – and by helping humanity to rediscover the sacrality of every creature, and, in a particular way, of every person, as the visible reflection of the invisible God (Romans 1:20), with the ardent desire to see realized this mission of the Church as mandated by Jesus Christ, and still repeated twenty centuries later: Adveniat regnum tuum! So that, in the words of the founder, ‘mankind fully obtains the effects of the shedding of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ’ (October 9, 2000), by ‘a change in ways of living, in mentality and in hearts’ (Evangelica Testificatio 52). Their ‘first duty… is to make visible the marvels wrought by God in the frail humanity of those who are called… [and to] bear witness to these marvels not so much in words as by the eloquent language of a transfigured life, capable of amazing the world’ (Vita Consecrata 20). Thus the search for the beauty of the Creator ‘impels [them] to care for the deformed image of God on the faces of their brothers and sisters…’ (Vita Consecrata 75), humiliated, frightened, anguished and tired by the influence of ‘contemporary culture, which is often very secularized and yet sensitive to the language of signs’ (Vita Consecrata 25).”
After formal canonical consultation with the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Regina Virginum was erected as a society of apostolic life of diocesan right by the same Bishop of Campo Limpo, the Most Reverend Emilio Pignoli on December 25, 2006.