Recently, brothers from the Fulton Sheen Seminary of the IVE, in Washington DC – traveled to Argentina. Father Christopher Etheridge, Deacon Wilian Valle, and 5 brothers spent the Thanksgiving holiday and the following week with other members of the IVE family which included time at the “Finca”, the first IVE seminary and motherhouse, with several 3rd order host families. The spirit of charity and joy made a deep impression on those who took part in the trip.
The IVE is a missionary order founded by Fr Carlos Buela in 1984 in San Rafael, Argentina with the specific goal of evangelizing diverse cultures. By living by the principles of the Incarnate Word, each person, community, and culture is able to be brought to individual perfection. Currently the IVE is in more than 40 countries and includes a male and female branch, a contemplative branch, and a secular 3rd Order.
The primary purpose of the trip was to gain a deeper understanding of how the IVE began and to grasp the Institute’s charism. San Rafael is not only home to the first seminary but also to a vast group of apostolates. Within a few square miles there are also IVE parishes, houses of mercy for the handicapped and less fortunate, elementary and high schools, a minor seminary and aspirancy. By the grace of God, many IVE missions around the world have been said to radiate charity. One certainly gets the impression that this charity can be traced back to San Rafael.
The brothers spent most of their time at the Finca visiting the various apostolate listed above and spending time with the seminarians. The general feel of the environment was one of hard work, simplicity, and joy. A few of the highlights included the St. Andrew’s soccer tournament, Mass and adoration in the seminary church, and of course drinking mate and exchanging Argentine and American folk songs on the guitar.
Aside from the San Rafael, the brothers also had the chance to visit with 3rd Order families and to make a pilgrimage to several holy sites. The most notable of these sites being the home of recently canonized Saint Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero. Many of the families have sacrificed a great deal for the IVE and for the service of the church. One host family has eleven children, seven of which are either IVE missionaries or in formation for the missionary life. However, each of the families had a lively spirit and were eager to hear about the apostolates that are taking place back here in the United States. The brothers appreciated the chance to learn about the Argentine culture or above all about the beginning years of the religious family.
As we enter the New Year, we give thanks to God for this trip to Argentina. God always works through individuals—cultures, times in history, and people. May this unique opportunity bear fruit in the coming year as the brothers seek to live out the IVE charism in an ever-fruitful manner.