Questions and Answers about the
Secular Order of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
1. Is this order approved by the Catholic Church? The Founders asked the Holy Father to approve and Bless the Order of Mary, which was later changed to the Secular Order of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The Founders were asked to come to Rome. We received the Apostolic Blessing from St. Pope John Paul II in 1992. He gave the Blessing and it was registered allowing JMJ to be used after professed names. The Order's Rule/Constitution are derived from an approved Rule in the Church. It is the Servite Rule (Servants of Mary). Since we are recognized as an Order with a number of Bishops in the USA, no further action is anticipated.
2. Do you have bishops and priests who are supportive of you locally? Yes, we do. Each Community is required to have a Priest/Spiritual Director. In addition, each community is required to notify the Bishop of the Diocese of the community's existence. If a Bishop does not tell you to cease and desist, he is permitting you to exist in the Diocese. All Chancellor offices should know who and what we are.
3. Can you explain what is meant by "Divine Will"? I understand when one surrenders oneself to God's Will-that is truly a beautiful thing. But I am not sure if this is what is meant here. Divine Will is the emptying of oneself and letting God's Divine Will reign in the soul. Asking the Divine Will to animate and generate every thought, word & deed of the soul. It is becoming one with the Blessed Trinity. Studying Divine Will teaches you about the Divinity & Divine Sufferings of Our Lord and how it differs from His and our humanity, and how we can participate in His Divinity. It has much to do with the Our Father Prayer - "Thy Kingdom Come Thy Will Be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven
4. Are others in the Church accepting of the habit you wear? Our habit is similar to other Secular Orders or Institutes. We have pin identification, official habit stated in the Rule (grey slacks/skirts & black tops) for men & women and requires formation prior to final acceptance.
5. What does it cost me to be in the Order? Spiritually, everything for God demands your total Will. We go along with God's prescription for life eternal in the Divine Will. We do not collect dues or fees for Isolates. Each community may establish a small stipend which is used to bring in speakers, purchase items for the poor and sick, help finance the Order's special needs and have Masses said for the sick and dead. People who cannot donate can give what they want. We also would appreciate donations for those who can.
6. What are the prayer requirements? Pray, Pray, Pray. Live in the Divine Will thereby making all your acts prayers and particularly doing the Dolor Rosary each day. Most do Mass and other forms also. We recommend the Prayer of the Order and Prayer for Vocations daily.
7. What inspired the founding members to begin the Secular Order of Jesus, Mary and Joseph? This is covered in chapter 1 of the Rule. The Servites (Servants of Mary) is an approved Rule in the Church. It is the root of our rule of Life. In additions, we were inspired and used the spirituality expressed in Sister Natalie of Hungary's book - "Victorious Queen of the World". Pope John Paul II's encyclical, Christifidelis Laici, and a personal visit to the Holy Father in Rome culminated the entire movement that exists today. In addition, the Secular Order of Jesus, Mary and Joseph began in St. Petersburg, Florida as a movement of the Holy Spirit to promote family life, atonement and reparation and advanced prayer for the holiness of individuals. The rule adopted is an approved rule of the Church. In addition, the writings of Sr. Natalie of Hungry and His Holiness, John Paul II were used to implement the Rule and Constitution.
8. Can I join the Order if my Spouse will not? If a spouse does not want to join the Order, we can make exceptions if the spouse signs a waiver form stating that he/she gives approval so that the willing spouse may join the Order. Another exception to this Rule is terminal illness, etc.
9. Where can I get materials on the Order? Please navigate to the internet at www.sojmj.com, which is our official website. The web site is well organized and will facilitate the practice of Divine Will in your life as well as providing a plethora of information regarding the Secular Order of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph (JMJ) Order history and development.
10. Is the Secular Order of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (JMJ) affiliated with the John Paul II institute of Christian Spirituality...Hugh Owens...what is his status? What was and is Ron Lee's connection...founder/formulator..? Yes or no.affiliation. We are supporters of the JP II Institute. Most members are associates. Ron Lee was also an Assistant Director for some time and was instrumental in the beginning of JP II Institute. Hugh Owens is a friend of the Secular Order. He is not a member of the Secular Order as he is already a Third Order Augustinian.
1. Ron Lee is one of the founders of the Secular Order of JMJ. He personally was instructed by the Pope to begin the Order and allow it to flourish.
2. The current International Prioress General is Melissa Marie Brasil, JMJ.
3. Ron Lee has been an approved teacher of the Divine Will.
11. Have we official recognition and the blessing of John Paul II and what is the natural process of becoming an approved religious order? We were blessed by John Paul II in November of 1991. We will evolve and seek formal recognition in the future. We are waiting for various souls to be approved by the Church since our spirituality is immersed with their writings.
12. Who is Tom Fahy and what is his involvement with Divine Will? Tom Fahy was appointed the official Divine Will Representative for English speaking people in the United States by Archbishop Carmelo Cassati, Corato, Italy. He is now deceased, but was the founder of the Center for Divine Will in Jacksboro, TN and on the committee for the Beatification of Luisa Piccarreta. Tom distributed many English translations of her works.
13. Who is Father Joseph Iannuzzi? Father Joseph Iannuzzi is a priest who began the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit. The Order is also linked and supported to us and their work to spread the mission of the Divine Will through the spirituality of Luisa Piccarreta's writings. We are "all" friends and support one another as God leads.
14. Is the postulant cross worn in or out of clothing? The postulant cross is worn in. At Community meetings and other official functions, we wear it out as a sign of our profession of faith and identification of profession as a lay religious in the Secular Order.