The first community of the Brothers of Merciful Jesus was born in 2000 when Father Igor Simonovis, then a diocesan priest parish priest of four small parish communities in the Val d’Arzinc (Concordia-Pordenone), met during a pilgrimage a young Italian-Argentine boy, Julian Gonzalez who asks him to be helped to discern God’s will for him. After a period of prayer and discernment, with the help of his father, Julian decides to follow the Lord in the priesthood, even if he still does not understand where. On the advice of Father Igor, the young man remains in prayer in a spiritual retreat in order to discern his call more precisely. During the retreat, before going to the rectory of Fr. Simonovis to complete his vocational discernment, asks with great intensity in prayer: “Where do you want me to follow you Lord?”.
On 11 September 2000 Julian reaches p. Simonovis in the parsonage, eager to tell him a curious lived experience: during the Eucharistic adoration he had understood that God’s will was to found a new male community that would live and proclaim the Mercy of God as revealed to Sister Faustina and realized with the foundation of the female Congregation by don Michele Sopocko.
This conviction had immediately found confirmation in a passage from the DIARY of Santa Sister Faustina, captured in his hands at that moment of adoration. Reading the passage, the young man had felt strongly that this new community should have particularly welcomed the Lord’s invitation to take care of the children. When he came from p. Simonovis, Julian was convinced that this male community had not yet been founded in the Church. Initially P. Igor categorically refused to accept this intuition. Only after a year and a half of prayer and discernment on the events that took place in the small nascent community, the strength of Grace and the evidence, led him to the belief that this was not an invention but the will of God. Besides Julian, more boys began to arrive. Together they began to organize a life of work and study, of theological formation, of moments of formation in the consecrated life and deepening of the various spheres of the spirituality of Mercy. Thus the first community was born.
The signs of God’s Will
In all this affair, Fr. Simonovis emphasizes that obedience to his p. spiritual, p. Oreste Marcato, was of fundamental importance. Father Marcato, in fact, encouraged him to see and hope that the good Lord would make him understand everything in his time. Many signs of Divine Providence have helped p. Simonovis to understand that the inspirer of his community was Don Sopocko. One of these signs was the presence of the Sisters of Merciful Jesus in Italy. The female Congregation founded by don Sopocko in the 40s in Vilna (Vilnius, Lithuania had opened for the first time a new house in the diocese of Pordenone in the same month and the same day (11 September 2000) in which Julian had arrived in his rectory Many other signs accompanied the beginnings of the community but the most important and definitive sign of Providence was the official approval of his community on 11 July 2005 by Cardinal Joseph Audris Backis, Archbishop of Vilnius, City of Mercy. community has been able to live the spirituality of Mercy precisely to where the holy image of Merciful Jesus was painted and exhibited for the first time to the public and where it is still present today for the veneration of the faithful.The same place where Sister Faustina received the chaplet of Mercy and where for centuries the icon of Mary Mother of Mercy (Ostra Brama) was already venerated.
The places of the project
At first, Providence through Cardinal Backis entrusted the Brothers with a house near the Church of Santo Stefano. Following a chapter in 2008 it was decided to open a training house in Italy. After a meeting of the Brothers with the Holy Father Francis in 2013, the same pope entrusted in 2015 to Cardinal Bassetti the community that is currently located in two houses in Italy. A training house in Pantanelli in the municipality of Baschi (Terni) and another is the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grondici (Tavernelle, Panicale) in the diocese of Perugia. A more contemplative home is found in Brazil in the dioceses of Marilla. In addition, there are two other projects to open a house in Vietnam and another in Paraguay.