Testimonies of Brothers
What attracted you to join the Order of the Holy Cross? How was your experience in the formation of the Order in Brazil?
1) Fr. Matthew Hincks ORC
I got to know about the Order after I made a Consecration to my Guardian Angel. This was done at a parish in Maryland while I was studying at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. After making the Consecration I wanted to learn more about the Opus Angelorum, and found that for English speaking candidates it was located in Fatima. Then I made a pilgrimage there to find out more about it.
I was attracted to the Order because of its devotion to the Angels and to Eucharistic adoration, since there are few orders for men that have daily Eucharistic adoration as a part of their charism.
The Order’s seminary is down central Brazil. I found the weather and the climate in there to be almost ideal. There is almost no humidity. The sun shines most of the day, even during the rainy season. I was not sick a day in the five years that I was there. We were able to maintain a fervent prayer life throughout the time of our studies. Besides daily Mass, there was the praying of the Rosary, a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament, benediction in addition the praying of the Divine Office, which we prayed in Latin. The philosophy and theology courses were solidly orthodox. The professors were dedicated and well prepared. Community life was well organized, and disciplined. The Masses and the Liturgies were celebrated with reverence and devotion.
2) Fr. Francisco DeAngelis ORC
What first attracted me to the Order was the Sacred Liturgy, Fr. Basil´s direction, and Fr. William´s conferences. My experience in Brazil was at first difficult, but I was able to adapt, perhaps because of my young age and surely by GOD´s grace. The Brazilian experience greatly widened my horizons and made me a warmer person and gave me a greater grasp on what human nature is (as a phenomenological enterprise or adventure into human nature). It is a great experience for an American!
3) Fr. John Eudes ORC
I had the opportunity to make a vocational discernment retreat in Grosse Pointe, Michigan under Fr. Basil Nortz ORC. During that retreat, the conferences on the four fundamental spiritual directions of the Order had a profound impact on me. Moreover, I also had a profound love for the Sacred Liturgy, which love I share with the members of the Order. That experience was what drew me to the Order. Going to Brazil was something that God wanted and so I went in faith. It was a difficult experience at first, but I grew to love the people, culture and the natural beauty of the country. The formation we received was something that one can never pay back and so it was all at once humbling, enriching and led me to a deeper sense of gratitude for the love shown to me by God through the Order.
4) Br. Juan Maria Alvarez ORC
I got to know the Order of the Holy Cross into 2007 when my family started to participate of the parish where the priests of the Order helped out with Masses and confessions. In July of the same year I participated in my first retreat in the Opus Angelorum. The first thing that attracted me to the Order was the Passio Domini (the weekly commemoration of the Agony, Suffering and Death of Jesus on the Cross). This still attracts me to this day.
Formation in Brazil has been a wonderful experience. Our monasteries are full of young people. We’re able to have a very solemn liturgy. I have come to known the life and work of our Mother Gabriele Bitterlich (learn more about here: https://opusangelorum.org/history/) I have deepened my spiritual life with the help of our priests. I have formed lasting friendships in Brazil. What’s beautiful about Brazil is that a lot of people seek our help to grow in the spiritual life. We have a vast retreat apostolate, we have large waiting lists for our retreats. Obviously, the Brazilian culture is not the same as the American culture. It is above all a Latin culture (very person and family oriented). The Brazilian people are very welcoming people.
5) Fr. Eusebius Schwald ORC
When I got to know the Order, I really loved the spirituality and was convinced that the Lord called me to this spirituality. I liked the solemn liturgy, Eucharistic adoration and the fidelity to the Church, and the authentic piety of the members. When I was told that my novitiate and study would be in Brazil, I didn’t reflect much about it. I was ready for the adventure. I had certain images of Brazil in my mind, like jungle, the Amazonas and palm trees and monkeys. But when I arrived, it was quite different. I felt at home soon, I picked up the language by interacting with people and I saw that I could easily live there. People are friendly and welcoming, I made many friends and learned a lot from the culture. I just love the beauty of the nature, the vastness of the country, I felt like in a paradise. Most of professors understood my language and the library is good, I found many books in my language. I was happy to receive very solid Catholic doctrine and spirituality, unlike what I heard of other seminaries. And it’s just different when you see your philosophy/theology professors on their knees before the Blessed Sacrament after classes, doing their holy hour! I also enjoyed studying with Brothers from Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, India, the Philippines, Portugal, Austria, Germany and the US! It’s very nice to experience this international brotherhood, sharing the same spirituality!