Blessing of our church
"It doesn't seem new or old; it's simply a great place to pray."
"It doesn't seem new or old; it's simply a great place to pray." A donor to our building project offered this comment, full of good Christian sense, upon entering the new church. This kind elderly lady and her husband made a long trip (by European standards!), coming all the way from England after being touched by the community’s personal invitation to take part in this special occasion. The couple did not want to miss the solemn blessing of our new conventual church in Chémeré-le-Roi (Mayenne). Like them, many friends and benefactors gathered in our small village in the French countryside on Saturday, September 29, with nearly 1,200 people coming to celebrate this historic event.
Archbishop Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, blessed the church in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary and emphasized the importance of St. Michael, on whose feast this blessing took place. He invited all to pray to this great Archangel for the protection of Holy Mother Church, and he urged everyone present to say daily the well-known prayer to St. Michael composed by Leo XIII. By the time the Ite Missa Est was sung, nearly three hours had passed. But when we love, we don’t count the cost – or the time! During the final procession, the singing of the beloved hymn Mère de l’Espérance ("Mother of Hope"), reminded us all of the special attention Our Lady pays to this quiet corner in western France. Following the hymn, the organ and bells loudly sounded, expressing everyone’s joy at seeing this newly blessed house of God.
After the ceremony nearly 950 people partook of a family-style meal, which was so extensive that it spread across our property into the orchard. This pleasant feast served as an opportunity for all to express their joy in different ways. There was the emotion of the elderly who knew the beginnings of our community 40 years ago; the enthusiasm of friends who continue to follow the happy development and influence of our apostolate; and the wonder of youngsters at witnessing the uncommon event of a church being built from the ground up on European soil. We even saw a family set up their easels at the top of a hill to paint the first perspectives of the newly completed church on this solemn occasion.
The day ended with the singing of Vespers in the new church. It is neither new nor old, but timeless because turned toward the Eternal. It is an edifice truly worthy of Jacob’s ancient declaration: “This is no other but the house of God and the gate of heaven!” (Gen. 28:17)
Who we are?
A COMMUNITY LIVING THE IDEAL OF ST. DOMINIC
Our spirituality to Jesus through Mary
Aided by the Blessed Virgin Mary, we gaze in contemplation upon her son Jesus, who is “the way, the truth, and the life,” who leads us to the mystery of the most Holy Trinity.
Our charism: to preach the contemplated Truth
“What will become of sinners?” The cry of our holy Father Dominic lives on in the hearts of each brother, and awakens a desire to bring to all nations the joy of the Gospel.
Our life: to follow Christ
We profess the religious vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and, as “mendicant friars,” live exclusively on alms.
THE SPIRIT OF THE FOUNDATION
"In a disoriented world where poverty is found, above all, in minds without a point of reference and hearts devoid of hope, we have encountered St. Dominic face-to-face, whose only concern was to save men by leading them to Christ through the mercy of truth. We want to follow in his footsteps, moved by his vision that every word of salvation must spring from penance, from intercessory prayer, and from contemplative study. We too can bear witness that the discipline of a regular life, Gregorian chant and the traditional liturgy, which place the soul amidst the joy of truth and the harmony of beauty, are still relevant “for contemplating and communicating to others the contemplated truth” (St. Thomas Aquinas). Here at Chémeré-le-Roi, we have also chosen the patronage of St. Vincent Ferrer, an apostle during difficult times, and of St. Thomas Aquinas, whose wisdom the Church recommends to us, because it is open to all truth, whatever its source. Through the work of the lay brothers and the study of the priests, we strive “with ardor and with all our strength to render ourselves useful to the soul of our neighbor.” (Constitutions)."
Rev. Fr. Louis-Marie de Blignières,
Founder of the Fraternity
TO PRAY AND TO PREACH, TWO DIMENSIONS OF OUR LIFE
Our contemplative life: liturgical life, prayer, study.
Daily Mass; the Divine Office; silence; the chapter of faults once a week; fasts of Advent and Lent and Fridays throughout the year; two half hours of mental prayer. On Sundays and holy days, the mass is solemnized by the beauty of Gregorian chant. Each day, students spend four to five hours in study. The priests prepare for their apostolates, and the lay brothers participate in conventual life through their work in service of the community. The rest of the day is punctuated by times of fraternal life: the two daily recreations, sporting activities, and walks, which all contribute to a balanced and harmonious life.
Fr Augustin-Mary celebrating the mass at the fortress Krak of the Chevaliers in Syria, for the first time in 745 years
Our apostolate: To preach for the salvation of souls
First and foremost, our Fraternity is a community of apostles who use all means possible to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ to souls, whether it be in the countryside of France or across the world, wherever our apostolic work may lead us. The apostolates of the Fraternity are numerous and take the friars across France and beyond: sermons for Advent and Lent, retreats on the Rosary, summer programs, academic articles, the theological periodical Sedes Sapientiæ, marriage preparation, counseling for couples, spiritual direction, and parish ministry. The Fraternity proposes various activities to young people: catechism courses, “theology on tap”, pilgrimages, summer camps, scouting, and more.