BROTHER MARTIN DE PORRES MACKENZIE, M.I.C.M., PROFESSION OF FIRST VOWS, APRIL 28th, 2018 A.D.
Congratulations are in order to Brother Martin de Porres MacKenzie on the occasion of his Profession of First Vows in the religious community of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, known by the initials M.I.C.M. for the Latin version of their name. The community is located in Still River, Massachusetts, a village of the town of Harvard.
Brother Martin is the son of parishioners Neal and Alison MacKenzie. He himself was very active in the parish as an altar server with the Society of St. Tarcisius (as the fraternity of young men and boys who regularly serve at our Latin Mass have chosen to call themselves), and also as one of our parish sacristans before he entered the Brothers as a postulant in the summer of 2015.
To seek to lead a consecrated religious life in community is considered to be the “state of perfection” in Catholic spiritual life, both because it seeks to imitate the common life of the first Christians in Jerusalem after Pentecost and because it anticipates in some way our “last end” in the heavenly homeland. Over the last 20-plus centuries the Church has seen many such religious communities appear like buds at spring which enliven the life of the whole Church.
Their essential character is the radical witness to the Gospel by binding oneself to the living out of the three Evangelical Counsels of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. Their particular character varies greatly according to the inspiration of the founder (or founders) and the need of the Church of their day which their community sought to meet. The Church’s religious families run the gamut from the contemplative monastic orders, like the Benedictines, to the more active apostolates. Some are world-wide in scope, others are very small and local. Some have perdured and evolved across the centuries, others have existed only for a short-span of time.
If the “human element” is always a stress-factor in the life of the Church as a whole, it is inevitably so within the life of any religious community. One can take, for example, the life of St. Thérèse of Lisieux in the small Carmel of about 20 Sisters to get a clear idea of the inner workings of an enclosed community of fallible human beings and how “sanctifying” it can be. How much our religious deserve the support and encouragement for their perseverance, from those of us “in the world”.
Besides Brother Martin we have several other young people from our parish who are in religious life at present. Two Sundays ago Sister Mary Provencher was at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes during a home visit with her family. She is imminently preparing to take the novice’s veil and a new name “in religion” with the community of the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth.
Frater Gerard Sagredo Juhasz, O. Praem., has made his First Profession with the Norbertines at St. Michael’s Abbey in California. Sister Maria Battista Nyaga continues her noviciate with the Benedictine Sisters in Missouri.
The last fifty years have seen great disruptions and decline in the once-flourishing religious life of the United States. These four vocations to religious life, however, in four young people who have been part of our parish, are a most encouraging sign that young hearts can indeed still be moved to be generous with God, and to seek Him where He prompts them to go.