Servants of the Lord & the Virgin of Matará
Our Religious Family
The Religious Family of the Incarnate Word is composed of a masculine branch (Institute of the Incarnate Word, IVE), a feminine branch (Institute of the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará, SSVM) and a Secular Third Order. The SSVM sisters share the same charism and twin constitutions (our rule) with the IVE.
Founded on March 25, 1984, the IVE is a Catholic clerical institute. Therefore most members of the IVE are priests or seminarians preparing for the priesthood though some are permanent brothers. In addition to the main apostolic branch, there is a monastic branch as well with monasteries in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Like all those in consecrated life, the members of the IVE profess the evangelical counsels by making public vows.
As a missionary order, the IVE fathers are present around the world serving the Church in difficult places with few Catholics, as well as in areas of large Catholic communities. In some places they are part of making known the message of Jesus Christ for the first time, in other places their missionaries face the secularist modern indifference. Above all, the service of the missionary priest is to bring Jesus Christ to souls by his prayer and through the sacraments. Not only do we work together in missions around the world, but we sisters are especially grateful to have IVE priests serve as chaplains, professors, and spiritual directors. They are our fathers and our brothers.
Exclusively Contemplative Members
The Secular Third Order or lay order of the Family of the Incarnate Word is an association of faithful lay people, whose members, while living in the world, wish to participate in the same spirit so as to seek in the most secure and efficacious way their own Christian perfection in all the wide field of the lay vocation and in order to bring about the sanctification of all men by means of their works of apostolate.
For this reason, they desire to and commit themselves to form with the religious of the Incarnate Word one unique family, united by the same faith, the same ends, the same mission, the same charism, the same nature and the same spirit; constituting themselves thus in the prolongation of the action of the religious in the proper environments of the lay life.
East & West
In order to help the Christians of the Eastern churches, who form part of the indivisible patrimony of the Universal Church, we also include an Eastern branch: Byzantine and Coptic rites. In this way we breathe, in the same way as the Church, with two lungs. “One cannot breathe as a Christian, to say it more, as a Catholic, with only one lung; one must have two lungs, that is to say, of the East and of the West.” (John Paul II, OR 08/06/1980).
When our mission in Ukraine opened in 1998, our General Superior recognized the importance of the black habit to conform to the culture, whose liturgy is that of the Greek-Byzantine Rite of the Catholic Church. Religious sisters of this rite traditionally wear black habits. Today in Ukraine and Siberia, our Eastern Rite sisters wear the black habit, which, except for the color, is the same as the blue and grey habit, including the Cross of Matará.