Serving God in the Foreign Missions
Greetings! We Mariannhill Missionaries are a religious congregation of the Catholic Church, dedicated to the foreign missions. As religious, we take the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for life, like most religious men and women of the Latin Rite. Entrance into the congregation proceeds through various satges: postulancy (six months to two years), novitiate (one year), temporary vows (three years to six years) and final profession. The vowed life begins after the novitiate.
The vows are our promise to give up everything to follow Jesus Christ more closely, as his disciples and the apostles did (cf. Mt 19:27f), and as Jesus Himself recommended (cf. Mt 8:18-22, 16:24-27, Mk 10:28-30, Lk 18:18-22).
Because we are a missionary congregation our vows have an added dimension, a missionary dimension. Our Constitutions describe this dimension as follows: "Our common ownership [i.e. poverty] has a missionary character. It helps make means available for the task of the Congregation" (Const. No. 218). "Insofar as we succeed in [living chastity], we make the meaning of human community manifest and bear witness to the fact that all men are required to love" (Const. No. 211). "By [obedience] we offer our fellowmen an orientation in regulating their behavior toward one another" (Const. No. 236).
In fact, our whole religious life is permeated by our missionary charism. "Our vocation to the religious life and missionary service constitute one vocation. On the one hand, the apostolic work of our Congregation belongs to the essence of our religious life and, on the other hand, our consecration to God makes us available to mankind. Hence our religious life must be permeated by an apostolic spirit, just as our missionary activity must be animated by the spirit of the [Evangelical] Counsels" (Const. No. 206).
Those who join us must be ready to live and work wherever their superiors send them.
For more information write to:
23715 Ann Arbor Trail
Dearborn Heights, MI 48127
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For those searching out their vocation in life,
Fr. Vergil offers some reflections on vocations.
RELIGIOUS AND MISSIONARY NEWS
Message on Missionary Efforts Celebrates 100 Years, Part 3
Maximum Illud, an apostolic letter written by Benedict XV in 1919, encouraged missionaries to show appreciation for cultural differences in missionary territories. It strongly encouraged local churches to thrive independently once the missionaries withdrew in favor of an indigenous priesthood and episcopacy.
The apostolic letter Maximum illud first turned to the bishops and superiors in charge of the Catholic missions, noting the need to train local clergy. Catholic missionaries are reminded that their goal is a spiritual one, which must be carried out in a selfless way.
The pope underlined the necessity of proper preparation for the work in foreign cultures and the need to acquire language skills before going there. He requested a continued striving for personal sanctity and praised the selfless work of female religious in the missions. Mission is not only for missionaries: all Catholics must participate, through their Apostolate of Prayer, by supporting vocations, and by helping financially. The encyclical concludes by pointing out several organizations which supervise mission activities within the Catholic Church.
Noting the end of World War I, Benedict repeated the biblical mandate to go to the ends of the earth and preach the gospel. He recalled the examples of Francis Xavier in India and Bartolomé de las Casas in the Americas and others to show what individuals can do in the service of God. Many missionaries died as martyrs for their faith and many lived like saints. (continued)
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