Woman dedicates virginity to Jesus in rare ceremony

Published October 8, 2006

EAST AURORA, N.Y. - She stood at the altar in a white gown and veil, but she was there for no earthly man. Lori Rose Cannizzaro was dedicating her virginity to Jesus.

Saturday's rare Catholic ceremony turned the 42-year-old into a "consecrated virgin." Fewer than 200 women in the United States and 2,000 worldwide have declared their perpetual virginity this way, according to the U.S. Association of Consecrated Virgins.

"There are people who think I'm nuts," Cannizzaro said.

The rite is available only to virgins who agree to abstain from sex so they can dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ, and Cannizzaro spent the past two years taking seminary classes in preparation.

Cannizzaro, who is not a nun, will continue to live on her own and work as a cook at Christ the King Seminary in a Buffalo suburb. She said she knew more than a decade ago that she would be better off single.

"Dating wasn't working. I wasn't connecting," she said. "Not that I never wanted to be married or never wanted children."

Amish attend burial of man who shot girls in school

GEORGETOWN, Pa. - Dozens of Amish neighbors came out Saturday to mourn the quiet man who killed five of their young girls and wounded five more in a brief, unfathomable rampage.

Charles Carl Roberts IV, 32, was buried a few miles from the one-room schoolhouse he stormed Monday.

His wife, Marie, and their three small children looked on as Roberts was buried beside the grave of the infant daughter whose death nine years ago apparently haunted him.

About half of perhaps 75 mourners on hand were Amish.

Meanwhile, leaders of the local Amish community gathered Saturday afternoon to decide the future of the schoolhouse, and of the school year itself. The prevailing wisdom suggested a new school would be built. Another group will decide how to spend more than $500,000 in donations. Some of it is expected to cover medical costs for the five surviving girls. They remain hospitalized, and one is said to be in grave condition.

Plant's neighbors return home after chemical fire

APEX, N.C. - Residents trickled back into town Saturday after a fire at a hazardous materials plant, relieved that there were no serious injuries or damage to their homes while they were forced out for two nights.

Apex Fire Chief Mark Haraway said officials don't know what sparked the fire late Thursday at EQ Industrial Services plant, or what specific chemicals or hazardous materials burned.

In March, the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources fined EQ $32,000 for six violations at the plant, including failing to "maintain and operate the facility to minimize the possibility of a sudden or non-sudden release of hazardous waste."

EQ spokesman Robert Doyle said the violations might not be related to the fire, and the state said the company passed inspection in September.

Elsewhere ...

California: State regulators have fined Mammoth Mountain Ski Area $50,000 for several job safety violations related to the deaths of three ski patrol members earlier this year.

Virginia: A storm that dropped as much as 9 inches of rain forced the evacuation Saturday of about 100 people in Richmond, caused scattered flooding in the southeastern part of the state and likely contributed to the deaths of two fishermen.

Michigan: Detroit teachers, who last month returned to their classrooms after a 16-day strike over their contract, approved a three-year contract that includes eventual raises.