Brothers of Our Lady of Mercy

The 25th of March 1837 Canon Scheppers visits the prison of Vilvoorde and was very touched by the desolation of its inhabitants.

That’s how it started

The Basilique of Scherpenheuvel

During his yearly procession on the 19th July 1837 and knelt before the statue of our Holy Mary of Scherpenheuvel, Canon Scheppers decided to found a Brother Congregation, especially to support the prisoners.

Sir Ernst, Minister of justice, whom was asked for advice, declares the prisoners to be accepted in his service. He also promises financial support for maintenance and education of the Brothers.

With borrowed money Canon Scheppers buys a house besides his school and reconstructs it as a monastery. In March 1938 the first two candidates enter the monastery.

The “Melaan”

On the 25th January 1839 Cardinal Sterckx appoints Canon Scheppers as the religious leader of the Brothers of our Holy Mary of Mercy. He approves their rules and presides at the habit of the first three Brothers.

The first three: Brother Romuldus, Brother Vincent and Brother Aloysius

The house in the “Begijnenstreet”, where the school is also set up, is a monastery. In the beginning of the 1840’s the first followers move to the new bought buildings at the “Melaan”

Those first Brothers are simple workers, even old-pupils of the Sunday school. They quickly start as helpers in education.

Although from the correspondence out of the foundation period and out of later testimonies, it is clear that the working domain of the young generation does not lie in the education area.

Source: SCHEPPERS, OUR SCHOOL by An Hermans, printed in 2002