Honoring the Declaration of Nuper Nonnulli — March 6
Nuper Nonnulli, issued by the Congregation of Bishops and Regulars on March 6, 1858, takes its name from its first words, translated from Latin meaning “recently some”. This declaration dispensed Hecker’s four American companions — Clarence Walworth, Augustine Hewit, George Deshon, and Francis Baker — from their vows in the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, commonly known as the Redemptorists. [Note: Hecker had already been dismissed by the Redemptorists.]
The Vatican authorized these five to work for the evangelization of the United States under the auspices of the local bishops. Thus, March 6 is a significant anniversary date for the Paulists and the Paulist Associates. Hecker, in Rome on March 9, 1858, wrote to his four companions: “The Pope has spoken, and the American Fathers, including myself, are dispensed from their vows. The decree is not in my hands, but Cardinal Barnabo read it to me last evening. The General is not mentioned in it, and no attention whatever is paid to his action in my regard. The other Fathers are dispensed in view of the petition they made, as the demand for separation as Redemptorists would destroy the unity of the Congregation, and in the dispensation I am associated with them. The Cardinal [Barnabo] is wholly content; says that I must ask immediately for an audience to thank the Pope….Now let us thank God for our success. ”
In the next few months, Hecker, Walworth, Hewit, Deshon, and Baker organized themselves under a rule (very similar to the Redemptorist rule formulated by St. Alphonsus Liguori) and founded the Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle in New York City on July 7, 1858.
You may also be interested in reading more about Nuper Nonnulli.