This invitation is for sturdy, enterprising souls , delighting in challenges and interested to increase the glory of God to swell the numbers of the Brigittini Servitores Sanctissimi Salvatoris Institute, a religious institute with a central mission of liturgical prayer, so that it will grow enough to survive.
Yes, it is pioneering in terms of living as simply as the our American forefathers did, but not in attempting something brand new, but rather with the specific role of doing something which has been done in and for the Church throughout the ages.
There is nothing new about liturgical prayer. Indeed, it existed even before the birth of our Lord, at the time of King David. Some of songs of praise went on eat the earliest times of the Christian era, but the full blown praises through established forms of the Divine Office came into being after the formation of religious orders in the 6th century. Since then, it has never completely faded, albeit the volume of public celebration has decreased in times of oppression of the Catholic Church such as the French revolution, Spanish civil war, Communist governments. Sadly, the volume of prayer winging its way from earth to heaven has also decreased in our times.. Yes, it is sad, because it was not an external enemy which has done it, but those inside the barque of Peter and even of ten with good will, but unduly influenced by the current secular philosophies. Some of this stemmed from misinterpreting the message of Vatican II.
In the wake of Vatican II there has been some rethinking of religious life. In the course of this urge to update, some orders modified themselves, others disappeared. New orders came into being; they usually were active. With the accent on external activities, liturgical prayers were shortened, simplified and the Latin was replaced by the vernacular. However, the very spirit of renewal gave the impetus for the religious attached to the traditional Latin liturgy not only to return to the traditional mode of liturgical prayer, but indeed to establish a form of religious life more contemplative in bent, with the liturgical prayer in its center. This group consists of both existing communities, which, after experimenting with new ways, returned to the traditional form and new foundations dedicated to amore contemplative form of life and using the traditional Latin liturgy, often referred to as the “Extraordinary Form”..
In God’s vineyard nothing is new. Later on, If time permits, a subsequent article will show how in different times, new religious orders were practically tailor-made to give effective help to correct particular current ills or deficiencies. In the same way, other traditional communities have come into being today with the aid of Divine Providence to reset the imbalance of our times. There are now Benedictine, Carmelite and Franciscan, Augustinian and Redemptorist communities besides others not so widely known, and in good standing within the Church which follow the traditional Latin liturgy. Many of them had a rough time when starting, in terms of resources or even candidates, but then invariably, expansion followed.
At present, the Brigittine Servitores is the only Brigittine group adhering to the traditional Latin liturgy. Of the two usual problems, resources and vocations, the vocations are more pressing. It is true that we do not own property and our present residence is a rented trailer in in a trailer park. However, there is space for two more candidates, heating and cooling systems are adequate.. A very great blessing is that the church is practically next door. As I see it, it is time to have more when we are bigger and if our own history and the history of others is any guide, God will always provide. This simple living may even be a good way to weed out those with no taste for truly embracing the vow of poverty and attract sturdy souls who can be moulded into religious capable of taking their part in building up the community.
There have been several inquiries and even some visits, but not such enthusiasm for this way of life that a commitment would result. My experience of visits remaining simply visits of interest is not very different from the experience of other Superiors with whom I am in contact. Those who come here are good souls and desirous of deepening their spiritual life , but given the fact that they often do not have access to daily – or sometimes even weekly – Tridentine Mass and regular spiritual direction means that they had no means at their disposal for a preliminary preparation. Of course it is not completely unheard of that in some cases the call to religious life is so clear that no prolonged discernment is necessary, but when this is necessary, a suitable, spiritually nourishing setting is an advantage. In our case, some of our visitors found such a setting for themselves either during our exploratory talks before their visit or after it. This is why we are encouraging visitors who give us much joy and add some spice to our life – but of course there is some preliminary checking to ensure that such a visit would be fruitful and not simply a waste of time for both parties.
So please come and see us! Furthermore, if you are already at the point that you are seriously considering entry, please do not worry about having to know Latin and having to be familiar with the Divine Office on entry. A formation program has already been set up and you will be able to progress step by step, rejoicing on the way of being already in God’s vineyard, Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam (for the greater glory of God:
The next letter will deal with some specifics of Brigittine life, explaining how it is I similar or different from .other, predominantly contemplative forms of religious life. Please pray that I shall find the time for it reasonably soon!
Please note: You can also see this article on the “Editorials” page, alongside with other, previous editorials.