The priests of Notre-Dame de Vie, founded in 1964, form the sacerdotal branch of NDV Institute. Some diocesan priests, longing for a stronger spiritual life, came to Notre Dame de Vie, Venasque. Encouraged by the witnessing of members of the Women's Branch, the priests felt the call to live this vocation at the heart of their priesthood. Venerable Marie-Eugene understood then that the moment had come to organize a group which would share the same spirit and organization as the rest of the Institute. This would ensure the primacy of the spiritual in the life and in all forms of ministry of the diocesan priest. Venerable Marie-Eugene announced with great joy the birth of the Sacerdotal Branch during a Mass which he presided at Notre-Dame de Vie, on December 29, 1964.
If we have decided to do something here, it is not to put up a store, nor to start an association, but in order to reinforce the value of the priesthood, to strengthen the spiritual life of priests and help them to exercise their priesthood in an efficacious manner.”
Venerable Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus, August 8, 1962
In the context of the new evangelization, the priests of Notre Dame de Vie are sent to the world as Christ was sent by the Father. They live their consecration to God in the spirit of Carmel, through the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. They are called to walk towards holiness and lead those entrusted to them towards holiness, especially through silent prayer, by making them discover the love of the living God, so that all may exert in the world their baptismal priesthood.
Diocesan priests who are NDV members receive their apostolic mission from their bishop. Membership in the Sacerdotal Branch of the Institute normally strengthens their engagement in the Church, particularly in the diocese where they are incardinated. While diocesan priests do not usually live as a community, in the Institute, they have a family where they can go for spiritual renewal and develop familial ties with other members.
Priests who are incardinated in the Institute receive their apostolic mission from the Superior General of the Sacerdotal Branch. They can be sent on a mission anywhere in the world where they work either alone or as a member of a team at the service of the charism of Notre Dame de Vie.
The Sacerdotal Branch shares the same ideal and forms a single spiritual family with the lay members of the other two branches. About 100 members of the Sacerdotal Branch perform their ministry in several dioceses of France and in other countries. These include:
- Europe (Germany, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania)
- Asia (Philippines, Japan, Taiwan)
- Africa (Chad, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Benin)
- America (Mexico, Guyana, Canada)
The Sacerdotal Branch of NDV maintains houses of solitude in which priests desiring to take several days of rest and retreat are welcome. Several such houses exist at Souveilles, Venasque, France; Encanto, Angat, Philippines; Sarkany, Latvia; and in Benin.
All priests, before or after their ordination, need to make a period of solitude to realize the living and active presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in souls, and to learn to render their actions docile to that of the Holy Spirit. They should take all dispositions to perfect this docility. The Institute of priests of NDV would like to answer to this need”.
Venerable Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus, February 20, 1962