The contemplative branch of the Institute of the Incarnate Word was founded on Christmas Day—December 25th, 1988, in order that those members of the IVE who felt called to live the charism of the Institute of the Incarnate Word according to a more contemplative way of life might more fully realize their vocation. Like the Incarnate Word, who wanted to live in silence in Nazareth for thirty years, some of our members consecrate themselves to Him in the contemplative state of life. They want to dedicate themselves to the one necessary thing—they have chosen the better part. As Blessed John XXIII said:
How precious is the contemplative life in the eyes of God and of the Church! . . . It constitutes one of the fundamental structures of the Holy Church; it has been present in all the phases of its two thousand year history, always productive of firm virtues, always endowed with a mysterious and powerful attaction on the most elevated and noble souls.*
Accordingly, we consider our contemplatives as being on the vanguard of all of the apostolic works of our Institute, since by their life of prayer and penance they obtain from the Lord the graces necessary for the salvation of many souls, whether by strengthening our missionaries or by opening the hearts of those we reach. The Second Vatican Council makes the necessary relationship between missionary work and the contemplative life beautifully clear:
Institutes of the contemplative life, by their prayers, sufferings, and works of penance have a very great importance in the conversion of souls, because it is God who sends workers into His harvest when He is asked to do so (cf. Matt. 9:38) God who opens the minds of non - Christians to hear the Gospel (cf. Acts 16:14), and God who fructifies the word of salvation in their hearts (cf. 1 Cor. 3:7). In fact, these institutes are asked to found houses in mission areas, as not a few of them have already done, so that there, living out their lives in a way accommodated to the truly religious traditions of the people, they can bear excellent witness among non - Christians to the majesty and love of God, as well as to our union in Christ."†
Our contemplatives should burn with zeal for the salvation of souls no less than our active members, but rather even more, and so our monasteries of contemplative life should be magnets for the grace of God and lightning rods for His wrath. God grant that we may be able to multiply them throughout the entire world!
Our contemplative branch is fundamentally dedicated to the life of prayer, especially to Eucharistic adoration, to the apostolate of presence‡—above all in mission countries, and to study and research. Because almost all of our monks are priests, the male contemplative branch necessarily cares for the faithful sacramentally through the celebration of Holy Mass and by administering the sacrament of confession. In addition, when they are asked, our monks also may preach the Spiritual Exercises and realize other apostolic activities within our Religious Family (for example, giving spiritual direction).
Currently our monasteries are: the Monastery of the Incarnate Word (San Rafael, Argentina); the Monastery of Our Lady of Succour (Guimar, Tenerife, Spain); the Monastery of Pueyo (Barbastro, Spain); the Monastery of Mary Mother of the Church (Anjara, Jordan); the Monastery of the Holy Family (Sephoris, Israel); the Monastery of Bl. Charles de Foucauld (Tunisia); and the Monastery of Madonna of Sorriso (Canneto, Italy).
The SSVM has six monasteries, each of which prays for a particular intention: in Argentina they pray for peace in the world; in Peru, for the sanctificaion of religious; in the United States, for the Jewish people; in Holland, for the dignity of man and in reparation for offenses against the Eucharist; in Italy there are two monasteries—they pray for the sanctification of priests (Velletri) and for the Unity of the Church.
The IVE does not currently have a monastic foundation supporting our apostolic work in this province—the Province of the Immaculate Conception (the SSVM do have a contemplative monastery). We are, however, hoping and praying that we will soon be able to make a contemplative foundation here in the United States. (If you would be interested in helping to support this new foundation, click here.)
* Discourse of Pope John XXIII to the International Trappist Student Body; Thursday, October 20, 1960.
†Ad Gentes, §40
‡ The apostolate of presence is the mere fact of being in a place—celebrating the Holy Mass, adoring the Eucharist, and making certain the the Catholic Church is present as a witness to Our Lord in every place in the entire world.
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