PONTIFICAL CONFIRMATION OF THE ORDER
In his Barcelona convent, Peter Nolasco was able to receive the great news of the pontifical confirmation of the Order which he had founded. With the bull Devotionis vestrae, on January 17, 1235, in Perugia, Pope Gregory IX canonically incorporated the new Order in the universal Church. For that reason, with its brief text and simple structure, this bull is especially important for the Order’s history. Some fundamental elements proceed from it.
When the bull was sent, the Order of Mercy already existed as an organized religious institution with its Master and its brothers living together like the military orders and it was known as the House of Saint Eulalia of Barcelona.
The Order had requested the bull. In fact, it was addressed to the Master, namely to Peter Nolasco and to his brothers as the response to the plea sent to the pope.
In addition, the bull presupposed that the said religious organization was functioning with the approbation of the appropriate diocesan authority. If the Roman Pontiff had not had reliable documents to that effect, he would not have granted the confirmation bull.
Likewise, it presupposed that from its foundation in 1218, the Order of Mercy was following the Rule of Saint Augustine in what pertained to the organization of life in common. However, it had not yet been officially incorporated in any of the religious institutions approved by the Church. In fact, at the time, the religious institutions approved by the Church formed several groups according to the Rule which they observed in keeping with the dispositions of the Fourth Lateran Council: the group observing the Rule of Saint Basil, the group following the Rule of Saint Augustine, the group serving under the Rule of Saint Benedict and the group of those who had their own Rules with the approbation of the Holy See. This bull ratified the addition of the Order of Mercy to the group of religious institutions which observed the Rule of Saint Augustine.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Yesterday, January 17 -- Feast of St. Anthony -- marked the 775th anniversary of the Pontifical Confirmation of the Order of Mercy within the Universal Church. We thank God for the gift of the Order to the Mission of the Church in world, may it be pleasing and confirmed in His Will that we may always and everywhere be faithful witnesses of the Catholic Faith and the redemptive Mission of Christ in the world.