Fr. Jonathan Inskip is the Marian order's newest priest. He was ordained May 16 at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Kamloops, B.C. Photo courtesy of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception

Marian order ordains first Canadian after more than 300 years

By  Kathleen Wolfe, Catholic Register Special
  • May 30, 2015

KAMLOOPS, B.C. - After more than 300 years in existence, the Marians of the Immaculate Conception are rejoicing at the ordination of their first Canadian priest.

Jonathan Inskip of Salmon Arm, B.C., was ordained in the order of the Marians on May 16 in Kamloops, with 20 of his brother priests and seminarians from the order’s American province of Stockbridge, Mass., in attendance. The celebration took place at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, presided over by Bishop David Monroe.

The order, founded in 1673 in Poland by Blessed Stanislaus Papczynski with the express intention of defending the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, has suffered a trying history. The Marians dwindled to just one 76-year-old member by 1909, but revived.  In 1941, the order began an additional mission of spreading the devotion of Divine Mercy, shared by a then-obscure Polish nun, now St. Faustina Kowalska.

The Marians are thriving again, and will ordain five new priests this year, including Inskip.

Inskip began formation toward priestly ordination 12 years ago, attending Christ the King Seminary in Mission, B.C., and visiting other orders. But it was the unique elements of the Marians, which was not originally on Inskip’s “radar,” that eventually cemented his vocation.

“I think what makes our community unique is how God has worked in our history,” said Inskip. “We were almost extinct, down to literally one man, and God preserved us for a purpose. He entrusted us with the Divine Mercy message.

“It’s been a long journey, and I’m finally here. It’s just incredible to know He has called me to be a priest and that now I’ll be a priest forever.”

Fr. Kaz Chwalek, provincial of the American chapter, expressed confidence in Inskip’s ability to help further the order’s mission.

“He is very consistent, he has a deep responsibility, so there is a lot of potential in him,” he said. “He has deep faith and a desire to offer himself to serve the people and serve the Lord, and in that way I am looking forward to his future as a good Catholic priest, as a priest who is a priest for the people.”

Chwalek sees the fittingness of the Divine Mercy message with the three-fold charism of the Marians: defense of the Immaculate Conception, care for the dying and souls in purgatory, and availability to the Church’s needs.

Noting the Marians’ ideal of “sensing with the heart of the Church,” Chwalek highlighted the current need in the world for mental, emotional, spiritual and bodily healing through the love, acceptance and mercy of God.

“We see our mission particularly as renewal through the mystery of His mercy,” Chwalek said. “He doesn’t want people trapped in their own brokenness.”

The Marians host conferences to share the Divine Mercy message, including conferences for doctors and medical personnel where a holistic approach to bodily healing is encouraged. 

Inskip will now go on to pursue licentiate studies in Rome.

(Wolfe is a freelance writer in Saskatoon.)

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