Catholic Culture3As we prepare to celebrate the patronal Feast of Saint John Paul the Great on Thursday, October 22nd, we wish to share an extract from the Decree of the “Appointment of Saint John Paul the Great as Patron of our Institute” promulgated in February of 2012.

This year in particular, we ask for his continued intercession for all religious during this Year of Consecrated Life and in a very special way we ask his prayers to accompany and strengthen the Synod of Bishops in their ongoing work for the Synod on the Family meeting in Rome through October 25th — a matter so dead to his heart!

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Ever since our foundation, we and our Founder have considered Saint Pope John Paul the Great “Father” of our Religious Family. This unites us to him in a special bond of filiation, which is deep and multi-faceted:

  • He is the principal font of inspiration in our proper law. There are almost 1,100 explicit citations that come from the vast and profound Magisterium of the great Pope;
  • His Magisterium has inspired many elements of the charism of our Institute. In other words, the Magisterium of John Paul II does not “decorate” our legislation but rather “animates” the fundamental aspects of our charism[1];
  • The maternal slavery of love for the Blessed Virgin Mary unites us to him. He was formed by Mary, and he made his profession of slavery in his youth, according to the teachings of St. Louis Maria Grignion de Montfort, in whose spirit we want to live our fourth religious vow;
  • He has contributed with his example and teaching to our missionary commitment, inspiring us to follow the command of Our Lord to go to all the world to preach the Gospel.[2];
  • He has taught us to love the Universal Church and “breathe with two lungs.” This is a grace that Divine Providence has granted us from our very beginnings, inasmuch as we were able to found in Ukraine and Egypt and assume the corresponding Eastern rites.
  • In the course of his Pontificate, he exercised special paternity towards our Religious Family, intervening multiple times in the vicissitudes of our nascent community. He did this both directly and by means of his closest collaborators, in order to promote our good, to defend our vocations and missions, to encourage and counsel, to support the canonical approval of our Institute, and many other things. Since he, like every saint, has posthumous missions which are related to his earthly ministry, we trust that from Heaven he will continue to intercede on our behalf as our father, just as he did while on earth.

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Bearing in mind that we as religious have grown up with him, read his writings, received his teachings, participated in World Youth Days with him, been present in numerous liturgical celebrations with him, and prayed at his tomb, our great esteem and devotion to him has grown and deepened.  This is evident recently in the distribution of statues of him in many of our houses and the increased number of times we ask his help and protection;

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Gathering the consensus of the members of the Institute as well as of our Founder;

Having consulted my Council on the 16th of February of the present year and received its unanimous consent;

We hereby appoint Saint John Paul the Great as Patron of the Institute Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará.

We hereby decree that his feast, the 22nd of October, be duly prepared and celebrated every year, according to the current norms and to the superiors’ judgment of utility for the religious sisters.

We desire that John Paul the Great be a font of inspiration for our religious life, our apostolate, our study, our work, and our life in community. As we are convinced that he will be a great heavenly protector, we also desire that he be venerated and invoked.

To the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the advocation of Our Lady of Lujan, we say once more like the Blessed Pope, “Totus tuus ego sum.” We place in her maternal hands all the fruit of this patronage.

Given this 20th day of February 2012 in Rome.

Mother Maria de Anima Christi, SSVM
Superior General

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[1] Cf. Carlos Miguel Buela, Juan Pablo Magno (New York: IVE Press, 2011), 517-540.

[2] Cf Mt 28.19

MORE LINKS ON JOHN PAUL II:

Homily of Fr. Carlos Walker, General Superior of the Institute of the Incarnate Word on April 21, 2014 in Rome on the occasion of the canonization of St. John Paul II.

Inauguration of the IVE Chapel “Saint John Paul II” in Baghdad, Iraq on May 13, 2015

A short video (12:45) in Spanish by our founder, Fr. Carlos Buela, speaking about St. John Paul II as the “Father of our Religious Family”