On Saturday March 25th, our Religious Family gathered at the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs in Auriesville in Upstate New York for a triple celebration. His Excellency Edward B. Scharfenberger, Bishop of Albany, as well as with the local faithful and many members of the IVE Third Order and parishioners from all along the East Coast joined us in this very special day.
First, we rejoiced with the whole Church in honoring the Incarnation of the Son of God in the womb of the Virgin of Nazareth at the bidding of the Archangel Gabriel. No mystery can outshine this core truth of the Christian faith. As St John Paul II exclaimed: “God had never been so close to man – and man had never been so close to God – as in that precise moment: in the instant of the Incarnation mystery!” (Angelus Message on August 2, 1981).
Secondly, we marked with great joy and gratitude the 33rd anniversary of the founding of the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) in San Rafael, Argentina in 1984 by Fr. Carlos Miguel Buela, IVE. The IVE which is a religious institute of religious priests and brothers forms the cornerstone of the Religious Family of the Incarnate Word. In addition to this institute, the Religious Family includes us, the sisters of the Institute Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará (SSVM), and the Secular Third Order of the IVE (laity).
In thanksgiving and a great spirit of faith, celebrations took place around the world on March 25, 2017 — from the Vatican to mission outposts and other major cities.
The Annunciation, therefore, is both a key family celebration as well as the core of our spirituality. As we read in our Constitutions:
The spirit which animates the Institute from its beginning, and which must determine its own identity within the Church, is the spirit of faith and love with which all its members must live the mystery of the Incarnate Word and His reference to all creatures: “the Word is expressive not only of the Father, but of all creatures… (and as regards to creatures) He is both expressive and operative.” (Summa Theologiae I, 34,3)
Thirdly, we celebrated the establishment of the IVE monastery at Auriesville, the first one in our Province. The monks of our Religious Family have various monasteries and care for a number of shrines around the world, including Seforis (home of St Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary) in Galilee, the Shrine of Our Lady of El Pueyo in Spain, and the spirituality center for the Diocese of Tunis in North Africa.
The saints of the shrine are especially dear to our Province, since the IVE Novitiate is under the patronage of St. Isaac Jogues and Companions, many of whom suffered and died for the faith here, and the SSVM Novitiate is under the patronage of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, who was born on the grounds.
The center of the day was, of course, the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass where we encounter our Eucharistic Lord: the source and summit of the Christian life. The Mass was celebrated in the Colosseum central pilgrim church which is normally only open during the warmer months.
But the enthusiasm and prayers of the gathered assembly fit well into a snow-covered late March day, and was reminiscent of the spirit at the March for Life! Where come wind, come snow, nothing can steal our Christian joy in knowing that Christ has conquered in His saints!
As the main presider, Bishop Scharfenberger wore the new chasuble made by our sisters in honor of the North American Martyrs and the gift of the IVE Monastery. It is a tradition of ours to prepare custom ecclesiastical embroidery work for ordinations, important feasts, and new foundations whenever possible.
This chasuble features Our Lord with the rays of His Divine Mercy surrounded by the North American Martyrs as well as the Jesuit shield and the IVE shield on the front. The back is ornamented with an image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary along with an Ave Maria emblem and a Cross of Matara.
Following the Mass, we had a reception in the Visitors’ Center with our many pilgrim guests, members of the Religious Family, and the outstanding team of the “Friends of the Shrine” who have worked for many years to preserve the shrine and continue its mission.
As is our tradition, we also took turns offering folk songs to add to the festivities.
As warm weather comes, so too will more events during the summer months, beginning with the liturgy of Holy Week and Easter, the Men’s Conference hosted there in late April 2017, and Centenary Celebrations of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13th. Details of these and other upcoming events can be found on the Shrine Facebook page (@ourladyofmartyrs).
North American Martyrs, pray for us! Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, pray for us!