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Coronavirus Threat Recalls Historic Sacrifice of Eight Mercedarian Friars

Vocation Promotion
March 17, 2020

HAMPSHIRE, Ill., March 17, 2020 /Christian Newswire/ -- A religious order of men that was founded 800 years ago knew how to step up to the plate to help plague-stricken victims, even though it meant their death.

Eight friars of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy heroically gave aid to the people of plague-stricken Palermo in 1625-26, and died as a result of contracting the disease, said Fr. Daniel Bowen, O. de M.

Fr. Daniel is based at a Cleveland, OH parish and is the Order's vocation director in the United States.

"These men generously offered their own lives to the people of Palermo," he said, adding, "This shows that Christians have dealt with such troubles as the coronavirus before, and this will not keep us back from loving the Lord and one another."

"Other religious who had been infected went back after they recovered," he added, "to serve those plague-stricken people without worrying about the risks." He said that there was a ninth person in the effort who also died, a Mercedarian tertiary. Tertiaries, also known as members of the Third Order, are typically lay persons who align themselves with a religious order.

Master General Asks for "Chain of Redemptive Love"

In response to the threat of the coronavirus, the Order's Master General in Rome, Fr. Juan Carlos Saavedra Lucho, O. de M. wrote in a March 14 letter sympathizing with those suffering in a world that is "convulsed." He asked that his friars around the world make a "Chain of Redemptive Love" dedicated to St. Joseph on March 19, his feast day.

This effort would be, he said,

    "...a sign of our concern for those most affected in the world. Together with all of you, I have the faith and hope that after testing, our faith increases and after the storm comes the calm; but we need to be signs of fraternal charity through the antidote of universal prayer in the Church. In this way, I invite you to make fraternal prayer among religious and the faithful in all Mercedarian communities be the footprints of our evangelizing mission."

Thus, the master general was asking his own Mercedarian friars to pray, and to pray together with their parishioners and those whom they serve in this effort.
Go to the Order of Mercy's website and read the rest of the story.

SOURCE Vocation Promotion

CONTACT: Fr. Daniel Bowen, O. de M., 727-348-4060