Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy

My Life for Your Freedom

The Latest from the Order

Please read the latest information about the great moments of our religious life.

A Refection on the Solemn Vows of a Mercedarian Friar

Father Scottston Brentwood - Monday, July 14, 2014

On May 5th Br Daniel Bowen, O. de M. made Solemn Vows in the Order. His good friend and mentor Deacon Chordas was present. Afterward, in Br Daniel's home parish bulletin, the deacon gave this moving reflection:

 

What is happiness? A few parishioners and I experienced a new level of joy as we participated in Brother Daniel's final profession of vows to the Mercedarian Order. On a beautiful day in the quaint town of LeRoy, NY, we witnessed a man's total dedication to God. Brother Daniel's journey continues to ordination as a Transitional Deacon and then, in six months or so, to ordination to the priesthood; but on May 5, 2014, he became an accepted member of and a brother to his Order of the Mercedarians.

 

Amidst his fellow brothers and priests, Brother Daniel beamed the joy of Christ as he answered the questions of his intentions. As he lay prostrate before his Superior of the Order and the altar of sacrifice, the Litany of the Saints was chanted; and so many of us were spiritually transported to a higher level. When he stood up, his face was beaming and his eyes were moist with the tears of gladness.

 

I was so happy for this young man who, as a sophomore at Mayfield High School, was a student in my History class. Now, as a Deacon, I was asked to participate in this most magnificent of events and view a true transformation.

 

We say that faith is a gift from God that many do not embrace. Brother Daniel not only embraced it but also has become a model of its ability to bring peace to all who embrace it.

 

What a beautiful journey for Daniel, who as a convert not only accepted the Catholic faith but took up the call to abandon all the materialistic goods that tempt us and follow Christ. Henry David Thoreau wrote in On Walden Pond: "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation." Brother Daniel is not of that group. He has found his role in this short life we lead. Brother Daniel has become what so many of us have not: a true witness to Christ.

 

After the ceremony, the most powerful event happened ~ at least for me. On leaving the beautiful Church of Our Lady of Mercy in a procession of thirteen priests and many Mercedarian brothers, Brother Daniel came up to me and said that he loved me. In that moment, I felt as if Christ was speaking to me. Believe it or not, I was at a loss for words because I was too busy crying.

 

Brother Daniel is planning to be ordained sometime in the next year. The best part of this for us is that he is planning for it to be in his and our home parish of Sacred Heart of Jesus. This will be a great day of celebration!! Please pray for Br Daniel as he has been praying for us everyday.

 

Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish 

 

 More on Br Daniel

 

 Wikipedia on Solemn Vows

Br Daniel prepares for Solemn Vows in the Order

Father Scottston Brentwood - Monday, April 07, 2014

In August 2006, Daniel Bowen had the courage to follow God's Call to enter the Mercedarian Order as a postulant. This was not an easy transition since he was 35 years old and was making a decent salary as claims adjuster for Progressive Insurance. But, Daniel believed that God was calling him to something "radical" to follow Jesus totally as the first apostles did. So, he began the process of selling some of his things to pay some debt that he had accumulated.

 

After making application to the Order, Daniel was accepted and invited to live at the House of Studies in Philadelphia. There he began a the long journey of formation which included seminary study, human formation, and spiritual formation. After nine months in postulancy, Daniel "took the habit" and began to live the life of a religious in Novitiate. The canonical year of novitiate consisted of a more intense prayer life, classes in the history of religious life, the vows, and especially the Charism of the Order. This year prepares the novice to understand the commitment which they will undertake by making vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and the Fourth Vow of Redemption. On the feast of the Holy Redeemer July 9th 2008, Br Daniel made these temporary vows before the community, his family, and members of the laity.

 

After making simple or temporary vows, Br Daniel came back to Philadelphia to continue his formation in religious life and for the priesthood. As a clerical student, he attended St Charles Borromeo Seminary until receiving his Masters in May 2013. After completing his Seminary studies, Br Daniel continued his formation while being assigned as DRE of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in LeRoy, NY. Here he works as director of the religious education program, as sacristan, and in so many other capacities with the local community.

 

The journey of formation was not always easy for Br Daniel. He, like all candidates, had his good experiences and painful ones, but through it all Our Lady of Mercy sustained him. Br Daniel has grown over the years in his understanding of the consecrated life and especially the Mercedarian Charism. This Charism is centered on the 4th Vow which obligates the friars to be willing "to give up our lives, as Christ gave up his life for us, should it be necessary, in order to save those Christians who find themselves in extreme danger of losing the faith by new forms of captivity (CO #14)."

 

It is in this spirit of self-sacrifice that Br Daniel Bowen, O. de M. will make his Solemn Vows for life through the Order in the service of captive Christians. This will take place at Our Lady of Mercy Parish, LeRoy, NY on the Solemnity of St Peter Nolasco, Tuesday, May 6th at 7pm. All are invited to attend the Mass and a cookie reception afterwords. In the meantime, please keep Br Daniel in your prayers as he prepares to become a Solemnly Professed Mercedarian Friar!

 

For More information on this event please visit:

Profession of Solemn Vows

Our Lady of Mercy Parish

 

The "simple friar" from the small town

Father Scottston Brentwood - Monday, December 02, 2013

Every family has it's patriarchs or those who paved the way for a new generation. The Order of Mercy, being a spiritual family, possesses many of these friars who are deceased and yet live on in our memories. Today we remember one such friar Fr Luigi DiTalia, O. de M. The following is an interview with Fr Eugene, the Order's novice master, who lived and worked with Fr Luigi for many years.

Fr Luigi processing at Mass
Fr Luigi processing at Mass

 

When did you first meet Fr Luigi?

In about 1967, I first came to know Fr Luigi. In the beginning, I had difficulty understanding his Italian accent. But came to know him, little by little, as truly a father for our community. He never asked anything from us what he wouldn’t do himself. He was a great community builder. A great leader of our community and a very humble friar.

 

How many years did you get the pleasure of working with Fr Luigi? (As solemnly professed)

About 6 or 7 years. He was superior and I was novice master. Fr Luigi always had a great sense of wisdom. He would say “Prudence and common sense are essential for religious life and for living the vows”. He just had great wisdom and advice for people for problems and difficulties. One of the things I liked about him was he would meet you one on one. Fr Luigi always kept confidences and really appreciated those who were in the community.

 

What are some of the virtues or positive qualities that Fr Luigi exemplified especially for a Mercedarian Religious?

I think he exemplified poverty. Very much so. He was a person who would be more willing to give than to receive. Though he, also, had common sense in poverty. We never starved. We didn’t have a lot of things, but what we had we appreciated everything more. He was truly a good religious. A kind religious. A genuine religious. He was honest and very sincere.

Fr Luigi accepts the vows of one of the friars
Fr Luigi accepts the vows of one of the friars

I think that not only the Mercedarians loved him, but the people in LeRoy, NY loved him. For so many years he was stationed there. He was known as “the simple friar”.

I think also he was a real leader who lead by example. He was a father to us more than a superior. He could combined those two qualities. Truly a person concerned about vocations. Concerned about the Mercedarian way of life and the fraternal life. This is one thing that he insisted upon. He and Fr Marciano really lived the fraternal life which is a key to understanding the religious life.

 

Can you tell me any story that you remember about Fr Luigi? One of those stories about one of our founding fathers in the USA that we can pass down from generation to generation.

I heard that one time he said in LeRoy he had difficulty with the language. He said one of his first sermons was, “I am Fr Luigi and I love you all!” This was because he had so much difficulty with the English language at first. He did tell a story one time about how he suffered in the war. He said that he was one of the “Brown Shirts” because they had to be at that time. But I don’t remember the details.

Fr Luigi (center) with several of the friars
Fr Luigi (center) with several of the friars

 

Lastly, I know that in those last years there was a time when Fr Luigi had a stroke. How do you remember those last years? They were times when you were realizing that you were not going to have this great presence with you much longer since he was one of the real “rocks” here in the US for the Vicariate. Can you say anything about those last years and how he handled the suffering?

I think that those last few years were difficult for him, but he still had a true sense of being a real Mercedarian and a real model for us in a different way. Though he often couldn’t be at chapel because of his infirmities. I remember him saying the rosary and always at the third hour, the Hour of Mercy he would put on the television and pray the Divine Mercy chaplet.

But what I think really was significant is that he never gave up during these times and he was very serene and accepting of his suffering. These sufferings are for the Order, for the Vicarate. Even though he could not lead he led by his prayerfulness and his holiness. He never gave up. Human existence we can get upset about things, but most of the time he was very accepting of his sufferings.

And, he tried as best as he could to lead others by his example and his advice. At times he would turn to people and talk to people privately. He would give them advice which was very fruitful. He was a leader then by prayer rather than by being in charge. He lead by his example, by his prayerfulness, by his faithfulness and consistency in loving our Order.

Rest in Peace Fr Luigi! May your soul and all the souls of the faithfully departed rest in peace!

 


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