“I see clearly that not only there will be a female and male congregation, but I also see a great association of lay people, to which all may belong to praise Divine Mercy through the works of mercy for the sake of the next”
(Fragment of a letter from Saint Faustina to Blessed Father Michael Sopočko, April 1936).
Father Igor Maria Simonovis was a diocesan priest who lived in Concordia-Pordenone in the northeast of Italy (near the border with Austria). While it was still pastor of four small parishes in Val d’Arzino, in one of his canonical born the first community of “Brothers of Merciful Jesus”.
In 2000, a young boy Italian-Argentine, Julián Marcelo Gonzalez, nineteen, during his first pilgrimage to Medjugorje, in the shadow of Mary, Queen of Peace, knows the father Simonovis and asks to be helped to discern the will of God upon him. After a period of prayer and discernment, with the help of his father, Julian decides to follow the Lord in the way of the priesthood, although still does not understand where. The young remain in prayer and before heading to the rectory of Father Simonovis, to continue his vocational discernment, he asks with great intensity in prayer: “Where do you want to follow the Lord?”.
On September 11, 2000 Julián reaches Simonovis father in the rectory, eager to tell a curious experience lived: during the Eucharistic adoration had understood that it was God’s will that be founded a new community that lived male and proclaim God’s mercy, as revealed to Sister Faustina and realized with the founding of the women’s congregation Father Michael Sopocko.
This belief was quickly found confirmation in a passage from the DIARY of Saint Sister Faustina, that happened in his hands at the time of worship. Reading the piece, the young man had felt strongly that this new community would have to accommodate especially the Lord’s invitation to take care of children, to defend their souls from evil. When he came to p. Simonovis, Julian was convinced that this community men had not yet been established in the Church.
At first Father Igor refused categorically. Only after half a year of prayer and discernment on the events that happened in the small community rising, the power of grace, and the evidence led him to the belief that this was not an invention but the will of God. In addition to Julian They began to get other guys. Together they began to organize a life of work and study, theological training, moments of formation to the consecrated life and study of the different aspects of spirituality of Mercy. Thus was born the first community of “Brothers of Merciful Jesus”.
SIGNS OF GOD
In this whole affair, father Simonovis emphasizes that obedience to his spiritual director, Father Oreste Marcato, was of fundamental importance. Father Marcato in fact, encouraged him to see and hope that the good God would understand everything in its time. And many signs of Divine Providence helped Father Simonovis understand that the inspirer of the Community was Sopočko. One of these signs was the very presence of the “Sisters of Merciful Jesus” in Italy. The female Congregation, founded by Father Sopočko in the 40s in Vilna (Vilnius, Lithuania) had opened for the first time a new house in the diocese of Pordenone, the same month that Julian had arrived in his rectory. The other important and definite sign of the Providence was then the official approval of the Community, on 11 July 2005 by Cardinal Joseph Audris Bačkis, Archbishop of Vilnius.
The Community has since then the canonical status of “Public Association of the Faithful” in view of becoming Institute of Consecrated Life. Our religious lifestyle is in a semi-contemplative, where pastoral activity is seen as arise from the relationship with the Lord, then to a contemplative life, also marked by moments of silence and meditation.
Since then, the small community was able to live the spirituality of Mercy right in Vilnius, a place particularly favored by the Divine Mercy, there where the sacred image of the Merciful Jesus was painted and exposed to the public, where Saint Faustina received the Chaplet of Mercy, where for centuries it has venerated the icon of Mary Mother of Mercy.
Since 2010 the Community has included in Italy, in order to better provide for the formation of its members. It is currently headquartered in the Diocese of Perugia – Città della Pieve, under the pastoral care of his bishop, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti.
THE PROJECT OF GOD FOR US: Knowing Pleading Administer and disseminate the infinite mercy of God
The entire project of the Community of the “Brothers of Merciful Jesus” is based on the personal commitment to the service of God in the Church. To serve the Divine Mercy implies on the one hand to meet you and the other propagation.
KNOW THE MERCY OF GOD
To know the Divine Mercy one must experience it, so each brother Merciful Jesus when he experiences the mercy grows in awareness of the greatness of God’s goodness and the smallness of their existence. Knowledge of Mercy before being a purely intellectual action is existential. The experience of his own misery and that of others, makes the Brother more and more aware of the infinite love of God.
For this reason, fraternal life has a special place in the Community. Grow in fraternal love, humbly enduring their own and other people’s misery for love of God and his Church, it helps to grow in the knowledge of the Divine Mercy.
So every day the Lord gives to the Community infinite possibilities to grow in the knowledge of His love. The Brothers strongly feel the desire to experience this love to live reconciled and to reconcile others. Preferred source for knowledge are of great mercy, after Sacred Scripture together to Tradition and the Magisterium, the “Diary” of Saint Faustina Kowalska and the theological work of his spiritual director, Blessed Michael Sopočko. In addition to the lives and writings of the saints of Mercy.
BEG FOR MERCY OF GOD
Those who experience God’s love she feels the need to communicate to others this treasure.
So the brother of Merciful Jesus knocks at the hearts of others insisted they may discover this treasure. This commitment always begins with prayer. In fact, the brother of Jesus the Merciful must pray always and everywhere because all know and experience the Divine Mercy. After the Mass, which opens the treasures of Divine Mercy; and the Holy Rosary, with whom turn to the Mother of Mercy; the Hour of Mercy takes a special place in our days. At that time we meditate on the Passion of Christ and pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
PREACH THE MERCY OF GOD
The experience of Mercy received in our lives and implored and obtained for us and for the whole world, then confirms the commitment to spread the message that Jesus has entrusted to Saint Faustina as his secretary, traveling as Apostles, in the wake of Merciful Jesus.
Preach God’s mercy, to offer moments of catechesis, retreats, conferences are all occasions valid and sometimes necessary for Him to be known.
MANAGE THE MERCY OF GOD
An important commitment to the project of the Brothers is therefore the sacramental framework, specifically that of the sacrament of Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick. And, next to the field sacramental service of spiritual direction, because souls can know more clearly and more quickly realize the Most Holy Will of God, which is Love and Mercy itself. And ‘vast reality where a brother of the Merciful Jesus can engage in the pastoral context. Where there is a moral poverty there will be a Brother of the Merciful Jesus, but especially where there are desperate souls so that, by the grace of the Lord, to grow up in an infinite trust in God. That confidence that we all overflows from the heart: Jesus, I trust in you!
Particular attention in the design of the Brothers, is to pray and to take care of children, especially those who are in any kind of danger to their lives physical, moral and spiritual.
THE PLACES OF THE PROJECT
Providence has entrusted to the Brothers a house and a church in order to accomplish His will. It was the Cardinal Bačkis Vilnius to give them the place of God’s plan. It is the Church of St. Stephen with the adjacent house, near the train station, in one of the morally poorest of the city. The Brothers have received with great joy this gift because it responds fully to the project that God has inspired them.
In the more than ten years of service in Vilnius Brothers they could engage, especially the spiritual care and material of so many needy abandoned children, victims of various addictions, and poor homeless.
Currently in Panicale (PG) we are at the Sanctuary Madonna delle Grondici.
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The page of our story in italian.