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Dr. Trimiko Melancon to become consecrated virgin in New Orleans

The award-winning scholar and justice advocate has been noted in recent years for her work as a writer and filmmaker in the area of Black history.

(Michigan State University)

Dr. Trimiko “Miko” Melancon, a Black Catholic academic from Louisiana, will be received this weekend into the order of consecrated virgins—reportedly becoming the first such Black woman in the history of the state.

The news was announced in the Archdiocese of New Orleans this fall, with a Mass scheduled for Saturday, December 16, with Archbishop Greg Aymond at the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis King of France.

“With praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God, we are pleased to announce Miko Melancon, a young adult parishioner, will be received into the Order of Consecrated Virgins Living the World,” reads a social media post from her home parish, St. Peter Claver Catholic Church.

“Join us for this historic occasion!”

(Archdiocese of New Orleans)

An award-winning scholar and filmmaker in the areas of African-American history, Black women’s studies, and literature, Melancon is a graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA) and received a doctorate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

She joined the faculty of Michigan State University in 2021, one year after her documentary film “What Do You Have to Lose?” was released to positive reviews, covering the history of race in the United States and the modern Black justice movement. 

Malenacon previously served as a professor at Rhodes College, Auburn University, and Loyola University New Orleans, where she directed the African & African-American Studies program. Her work as a writer has been published in the Huffington Post, Ms. Magazine, and BBC World News, according to MSU, and she has served on the editorial board of the College Language Association Journal.

She has also studied in the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at her alma mater XULA, where her fellow students have expressed excitement about her upcoming Mass. Melancon will become just one of roughly 260 consecrated virgins in the United States, according to data from the United States Association of Consecrated Virgins (USACV).

The vocation of consecrated virgins was originally restored by the Catholic Church in 1970 following the Second Vatican Council. It is specific to women and distinct from the vocations of cloistered nuns and religious sisters, though all three involve a lifelong commitment to celibacy. 

According to the USACV, Melancon is one of three women who will be consecrated across the country in the coming weeks.

“In the rite of consecration to a life of virginity, the bishop consecrates the virgin who has publicly affirmed her sanctum propositum, thereby constituting her in the public state of consecrated life in the Church as one who is perpetually, mystically espoused to Christ,” wrote Dr. Judith M. Stegman in the latest issue of the USACV’s The Lamp newsletter, released this week.

Melancon’s vocation will be celebrated in the presence of friends and family in New Orleans, as well as the Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary, the historic Black fraternal order based in the city. Her pastor, Fr Ajani Gibson, has requested that third- and fourth-degree members “turn out” for the Mass in full regalia.

The liturgy is scheduled to begin at 11am CT on Saturday in the cathedral, and will be followed by a reception. The event is open to the public. Those Knights and Ladies expecting to attend are asked to RSVP on the order’s website.

Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger.

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