Prayer: The Soul of the Consecrated Life

The Religious Life is a life of prayer. The liturgy of the hours is an essential practice that gives life to our consecration. Here one Mercedarian Friar reflects on prayer and the nourishment that it gives to his religious life.

The Eucharist, the source and Summit of our life.

1) What attracted you to Religious Life? 

Looking back I would have to say that what attracted me to Religious Life was three things: 1) To be more closely united to Jesus through the Vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience, 2) To live a stable and structured life revolving around prayer and service, and 3) To live common life with other brothers united in the Lord.  It is still these three things that keep me enthusiastic about Religious Life.

2) Describe a typical day as a religious?

A typical day always begins with the praises of the Lord in Morning Prayer and Holy Mass.  After Morning Prayer there is the various responsibilities and service of the Community and the Apostolate that need to be attended to.  The community comes together at various times of the day for meals, recreation, Meditation, Rosary, and the other Hours of the Divine Office.

3) Why is prayer important to you? Was prayer always an important part of your life? 

Prayer is an important part of my life because prayer is the way that God relates to me and I relate to God.  Prayer keeps me in union with God and gives me the strength and light to do His will.  Prayer was always an important part of my life in grade school and High School.  Even though it was important to me in college I did not devote as much time to it as I should have.  Because of this I was slow to hear the “Call” of God.

4) What role does the Liturgy of the Hours play in your prayer Life?  Why is it so important to you? 

I love the Liturgy of the Hours.  It is not only a responsibility given to us by the Church to sing the praises of God throughout the day and to pray for the needs of the Church but it is a joy and an honor!  The Liturgy of the Hours keeps me united to God throughout the day.

5) How does the Liturgy of the Hours nourish or sustain you?

At times in our spiritual lives we simply don’t have the words to express to God what we want about what is going on in our lives.  The Liturgy of the Hours always seem to be able to express at any given time what I want to share with God.

6) What challenges do you face in praying the Liturgy of the Hours?  How do you meet those challenges?

The biggest challenge would be to be faithful to those Hours that are not prayed in Community. I need to make sure that a busy schedule does not keep me from those Hours.  To do that you always need to pencil in space for God in a busy schedule.

7) In what other ways do you pray? 

My favorite forms of prayer are silent Adoration before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, reading Sacred Scripture, reciting the Rosary on my own, and walking in the beauty of nature.

8)Is there anything else about religious life or prayer that you would like to share with us? 

Religious Life is a wonderful life, very fulfilling. Prayer is the very soul of that life.


Mercedarian Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament Celebrate their Foundation Day!

“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith”(Heb. 13:7). On this solemnity of the Annunciation, we remember Mary’s “Yes” given to the angel Gabriel. This “Yes” has been imitated by so many holy men and women throughout history in response to the needs of their time. María del Refugio was one of these people. The early 1900’s in Mexico was a time of revolution. The Church was seen as an enemy of the common people and was persecuted severely. Maria, though, believed strongly in the Gospel message. She saw the need for authentic Catholic education which focused on the Eucharist and Mary.

Sr Jeanette, local superior in Cleveland.

She founded a group of sisters in Mexico City on March 25, 1910, the Solemnity of the Annunciation. By God’s design, Father Alfredo Scotti, O. de M., Mercedarian, was chosen to be the director and guide of the Institute. Father Scotti became very interested in the well-being of the Mercedarian Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. On July 11, 1925, the sisters were spiritually incorporated in the Order of Mercy. They obtained pontifical approval on July 22, 1948.

In an age, when  many are questioning if Catholic education is a necessary or feasible it is good to look back at the example of leaders such as Mother Maria del Refugio. The times in which she lived in were not that much different than today. Today, we see that persecution is coming from what Pope Benedict calls a secular “dictatorship of relativism”. The pope has been warning us about “aggressive forms of secularism” which no longer value, or even tolerate, religious voices in public life. Mother Refugio faced the same strong opposition to Catholic education in Mexico. Her sisters have always sought “to work eagerly to extend the reign of Jesus in the Eucharist and filial love for our Blessed Mother of Mercy.” This apostolate is expressed through the education of children and youth and their formation in Eucharistic worship and piety. Obviously, these are countercultural values. But, this sort of renew is the answer to the relativism of our culture. Pope Benedict told educators during his visit in April 2008 that, “charity calls the educator to recognize that the profound responsibility to lead the young to truth is nothing less than an act of love.” Teaching children that their dignity and worth is found in the love that God has for us is a priceless gift. The  Mercedarian Sisters strive to prepare a new generation with a firm grounding in the truths of the faith.

Here in the United States, the sisters work with the Friars at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish. For over 13 years, the sisters have staffed the parish school and placed a special emphasis on promoting an authentic catholic identity. This of course means promoting devotion to the Eucharist and veneration of Our Mother of Mercy. During this time the school has been ranked among the best in the City of Cleveland.

Those who may feel that they may have a vocation to the Mercedarian Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament are welcome to contact them at (216) 281 9304.