By Fr. Daniel Bowen, O. de M.
A book of more than a century old has revealed that one of the greatest saints of the Western Hemisphere considered the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy as an important an order as the Franciscans and Dominicans.
The book shows that this order, also known as the Order of Mercy, was active and reaching many souls for God in Latin America.
The 274-page Spiritual Writings was written by St. Anthony Mary Claret, archbishop of Santiago, Cuba, who died in 1870 and was the confessor of Queen Isabella II of Spain. St. Claret was also an eloquent preacher, and was the founder of the congregation of what we know as the Claretians, which today has some 450 houses and 3,000 members around the world.
It is a little-known fact about St. Claret that he lauded the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy in his book, Spiritual Writings, possibly because it has never been translated into English.
In the book, St. Claret goes to great lengths to recount the history of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy. He then calls out to “all Christians to have love, confidence, and sincere and fervent devotion to Holy Mary.”
At the book’s end, the saint continues to encourage devotion to the Blessed Virgin and refers to St. Peter Nolasco, founder of the Order of Mercy, saying,
“Let us imitate her virtues, as children of such a Mother. Let's use the beautiful devotion of the most holy rosary, like Saint Dominic; of the crown of thorns and of the way of the cross, like Saint Francis; and of supplications, litanies and the Salve Regina, like Saint Peter Nolasco.”
On a Par with Franciscans, Dominicans
Fr. Daniel Bowen, O. de M., vocation director of the order in the United States, said, “It is edifying that St. Claret considers the Order of Mercy on a par with some of the world’s most well-known religious orders in the Church. Our friars have been familiar faces throughout Latin America for centuries but have come into the United States only about one hundred years ago.”
St. Peter Nolasco, founder of the Order of Mercy, was a contemporary of St. Francis and St. Dominic. All three of these religious orders were founded at about the same time, near 1218, when the Order of Mercy itself was founded.
The supplications, litanies and the Salve Regina prayer (Hail Holy Queen) mentioned by St. Claret remain important parts of the everyday devotions of the Order of Mercy, Fr. Daniel said. The Order of Mercy in the United States sings the Saturday Salve every week and invites members of the parishes it staffs to attend the service and pray with them.
The Order in the United States carries out its apostolate in the spirit of redemptive love in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Florida.
Single Catholic men who are interested in learning more about the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy should contact Fr. Daniel at email@example.com, or go to their website at www.OrderofMercy.org.
If you like, Fr. Daniel will send you at no cost, a PDF copy of the book Spiritual Writings, in Spanish, by St. Anthony Mary Claret.
Test your call to the Mercedarian Friars and get your score.
Learn more about the Friars at these sites as well:
Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter