New on the Mercedarians’ website is an video showing what life was like in a 1951 Mercedarian monastery in Spain. Most interesting is to see the celebration of the Saturday Mass of Saint Mary, along with the singing of the Salve.
“The friars in the video are taking part in one of the oldest rituals of our Order, ‘the Saturday Salve,’” said Fr. Joseph Eddy, O de M. “This beautiful rite, which we still do today, was started by our founder, St. Peter Nolasco (d. 1256) to give honor to Mary on her day, Saturday. This immemorial Marian custom was also performed in thanksgiving when the redeemers returned with the redeemed Christian Captives.”
The eleven minute video is in Spanish but the images are stirring. “We don’t wash clothes in outdoor cisterns any more — at least in the U.S.,” said Fr. Joseph, vocation director of the U.S. province. “But the noble history of the Mercedarians, the devotion to communal prayer, and the spirit of fraternity among the friars is the same.”
The fourth vow of the Mercedarians — to give one’s life for someone in danger of losing their Christian faith, is no mere relic of the past. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), 19 Mercedarians were declared by the Vatican in 2011 to be martyrs for the Faith, a major step on their road to sainthood.