This post is being given over to Fr. Daniel Bowen, Vocation Director of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy.
You may have seen pictures or videos of Mercedarian friars and wondered, “what are the steps to becoming a Mercedarian friar?”
There are five steps, and they have been followed by thousands of men in our Order from our beginnings in Spain in 1218 by our founder, St. Peter Nolasco, under the inspiration of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy.
This coming August we will be accepting between three to five men who will be taking the second step as postulants in our Order.
1. Inquirer/Aspirant. In this step, the man is interested. He is asking questions and learning about the Order. As his interest grows, he also becomes an aspirant, or one who desires to become a friar.
After making several visits to our houses in Ohio and other states, he asks for an application.
2. Postulancy. To postulate means to ask, and the postulant has reached the stage where he is asking to join the Order. According to the late theologian and Servant of God Fr. John Hardon, S.J.,
“The purpose of the postulancy is to acquire some knowledge of the religious life and of the particular institute through personal experience. It enables one to become better known to the superiors of the community, and to develop such virtue as will qualify the candidate for acceptance into the novitiate.” (Modern Catholic Dictionary)
In the postulancy, the man moves in with the Mercedarian friars at the House of Studies in Columbus, OH. If he is a priestly candidate, he begins studies at the Pontifical College Josephinum. which is a seminary located in Columbus. The postulant stays at the friars’ house and commutes to school. This period lasts for a year.
3. Novitiate. This is held at our House of Formation located in Lleida, Spain, for one year. This is the time when the man takes the habit and is called a friar. He formally enters the religious institute to prepare for his eventual religious profession.
Inter-provincial in nature, the novice thus gets a handle on the international character of the Mercedarians, since he lives with other Mercedarian friars from different parts of the world – especially South and Central America, and Spain.
4. Temporary profession. This is when the friar makes temporary vows, or simple vows, for one year at a time, for a minimum of three years and a maximum of nine years. His advancement is determined by the friar himself, the Master of Students, and the Provincial.
5. Permanent profession. Permanent profession, or solemn vows, is the act of embracing the religious state by the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience according to the Rule of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy. A rule is a sort of official guidelines. It consists of the “organized methods of living the evangelical counsels,” according to Fr. Hardon.
Our Order takes a fourth vow, which is to give everything, including one's life, should it be necessary, for the redemption of captives and the oppressed. It is sometimes known as the blood vow.
Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy
Do you feel an interest in becoming a Mercedarian friar?
The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy, also known as the Order of Mercy, was founded in 1218 in Spain. The Order has friars who are both priests and brothers.
In the United States, these friars serve in parishes, hospitals, schools and other institutions in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Florida. As part of their charism of redemptive love, they have a sincere devotion to Mary and to the Eucharist.
Single Catholic men age 18 – 40 who think they may have a Mercedarian vocation are invited to visit the website of the Mercedarian Friars USA at OrderofMercy.org. Contact Fr. Daniel Bowen, vocation director, at email@example.com.
Join in the discussion with the Friars at these sites:
YouTube: Mercedarian Friars USA