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.
The scapular of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy has been in demand by many of the faithful over the centuries. In recent months, its demand in the U.S. has increased.
The Order of Mercy (Mercedarians) is looking for a cloistered religious community who would like to make the scapular for distribution. The Mercedarian community in the U.S. is growing in size, and due to the importance of this part of their apostolate, they are expanding their website to include a page that will make the sacramental available.
The Mercedarians were founded by St. Peter Nolasco in 1218 to redeem Christian captives from their Muslim captors. In addition to the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, their members take a special fourth vow to give up their own selves for others whose faith is in danger. The Order exists today in 17 countries, including Spain, Italy, Brazil, India, and the United States. In the U.S., its student house is in Philadelphia, and it also has houses in New York, Florida, and Ohio.
The Order is seeking a scapular maker in the United States, and is willing to pay a fair price for bulk orders. This would be a great cottage industry for a religious community.
For more information, contact Fr. Joseph Eddy, O. de M., at 267-670-0503 (cell), or firstname.lastname@example.org.