An Authentic Formation: Seeking Holiness as Religious
At the Fathers of Mercy, we believe in developing the whole man, body and soul, to make him the Soldier of Christ he’s called to be.
Our Congregation strives to foster a strong fraternal community life which integrates in the individual man a well-founded balance of prayer, work and recreation. We believe in giving our men a solid formation rooted in sound human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral principles. A man accepted into the Fathers of Mercy seeks to become Christ’s instrument in the work of preaching the Divine Word and administering the Sacraments.
Each year, on August 13th, the men who have been accepted as candidates to our Religious Community, and have gone through the six-week period of Postulancy, are accepted into our community as Novices in a private ceremony. The novitiate year will be spent as “Novices” learning about prayer and the spiritual life, about the religious life and the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and about the history and charism of the Fathers of Mercy. They will study the life of our Holy Founder, Father Jean Baptiste Rauzan, and learn what it means to be true sons of Father Rauzan and apostles of God’s Infinite Mercy. Their studies and daily life will be under the direction of the Novice Master, who will also assist them in discerning God’s Will in their lives.
At the end of the novitiate year, the men who have discerned, with the help of the community, that their vocation is indeed to be a Father of Mercy, will profess their First Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience on August 14th, the Memorial of St. Maximilian Kolbe, which is also the Vigil of the Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Blessed Mother into Heaven. Freely renouncing their natural rights to act as owners, to marry, and to practice self-will, they vow poverty, chastity, and obedience for the purpose of attaining a higher good. That higher good is the novice’s growth in perfect charity by a more exact imitation of Christ. Through these vows, “a person is totally dedicated to God, loved beyond all things. In this way, that person is ordained to the honor and service of God under a new and special title” (Vatican II). After First Profession, the new Brothers will continue their religious formation under the direction of the Student Master and begin their studies for the Sacred Priesthood.
Our holy founder, Fr. Jean Baptiste Rauzan, knew that “without a thorough instruction one cannot properly fulfill such functions as that of directing souls, preaching, and educating youth.” Hence, the Fathers of Mercy take great care to ensure the good spirit of the seminary in which its members arc trained. This means proper discipline, competent staff, sound Thomistic philosophy and theology, proper liturgy, and, above all, loyalty to the teaching authority of the Church. Currently our Brothers study at St. Mary of the West (The Athenaeum of Ohio).
“To revive the Faith among the people, it is necessary that there be true preachers of the Gospel,
full of the Spirit of God Who sends them…”
– Fr. Jean Baptiste Rauzan, Founder of the Fathers of Mercy.