Marie and I had the great pleasure of attending a weekend conference sponsored by the Motherhood of Priests Apostolate in Ottawa at which Fr. Wade Menezes, CPM preached. You may have seem Fr. Wade on EWTN – he is a frequent visitor and conducts his own programs there from time to time. A very dynamic and forceful young preacher, we learned a lot about the Four Last Things: Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell, which I will post on separately.
Noticing his large cross looked much like my small Oblate Cross, I was intrigued. Then he said that their order, was originally called the Missionaries of France and had been founded by Fr. Jean-Baptiste Rauzan in Lyons in 1808. So, after checking, it turns out Fr. Rauzan knew Fr. Eugene de Mazenod and invited him in 1815 on more than one occasion to join the fledgling MoF community. Perplexed as to what to do, (St.) Eugene was inspired by the Lord to instead found his own mission society in 1816, which eventually was named the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. This was to meet the needs of Aix-en-Provence area parishes for missions preaching. Hence, by his example, Fr. Rauzan must have influenced St. Eugene to take this initiative in response to the call by Pope Pius VII to form mission societies to help restore the French church to health.
The Missionaries of France were suppressed briefly around 1830 in response to political turmoil in France which outlawed religious societies. Fr. Rauzan spent the time in Rome drafting up a constitution and rules and in 1834 received papal approval for his order, renamed the Fathers of Mercy and consecrated to the Immaculate Conception. In 1839, they began sending missionaries to the U.S. to help attract fallen away Catholics back to the Church. Now based in the U.S., the Fathers of Mercy home is in Auburn, KY. Their mission remains to preach missions to parishes at the request of the local pastor. And what a great job they do! I was delighted, as an Oblate Associate in Lacombe Province Canada, to discover and revel in the founding spiritual connection between Fr. Wade’s order and the Oblates some 200 years ago.
For more info on the Fathers of Mercy, you can go to: http://fathersofmercy.com/
The Motherhood of Priests Apostolate is a growing women’s ministry formed in Ottawa whose mission is to pray for the sanctification of Catholic priests. They have as many as 200 members. It is a beautiful ministry and we were glad to be part of their annual conference which was open to the public. You can find more info about them at: http://www.spiritualmotherhoodofpriests.ca/
Here are a few photos from this event held at Holy Redeemer Church in Kanata, ON.