International Meetings of the Miraculous Medal Association
Second International Meeting of the Association of the Miraculous Medal Association
Second International Meeting of the Association of the Miraculous Medal Rome, October 24-28, 2005
To all members of the AMM
Called together by the Director General, we eighty-seven delegates from twenty-nine countries around the world met in Rome, Italy, for the Second International Meeting of the AMM. Our meeting occurred during the 175th anniversary celebration of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to Saint Catherine Labouré and takes place four years after the First International Meeting of the AMM.
The theme for our meeting has been “loved by the Father, guided by Mary, and committed to the mission of the Church.” The goal of our Meeting was “Review the road traveled since the first Meeting in 2001, in order to continue discovering our vocation within the Church and to continue moving forward in our commitment to missionary work and service to the poor.”
A. Our Journey
We have found a number of positive points in the course of reviewing our journey since our First International Meeting in 2001.
- A.1. The AMM has established and increased its presence in a number of countries around the world.
- A.2. The AMM has strengthened the presence and participation of young people and men who wish to share and live out their faith on the basis of the charism of the Association.
- A.3. A new image of the AMM has emerged through a deeper and more integrated program of formation.
- A.4. The AMM undertakes a variety of its apostolates in response to the new poverties of our time.
- A.5. The AMM has renewed the apostolate, demonstrating that devotion leads to committed action among the poor.
- A.6. The AMM has taken its place and assumed its role within the Vincentian Family, which enriches the local Church and society.
- A.7. The International Statutes have strengthened the identity of the AMM, because they present elements for unity at the international level.
At the same time, we have noted some challenges to which our Association is called to respond in the coming years:
- B.1. Continue to deepen awareness of the person of Mary as the first and most perfect disciple of Christ, the mother of the Church and model for evangelizing.
- B.2. Strengthen and commit to the advancement of the Laity in the AMM, so that they assume their responsibility in animation and in formation and in governance and in administration of the Association. Encourage them in their role through human, Christian, Marian and Vincentian formation.
- B.3. Further ensure the integration and participation of young people within the AMM by sharing the Marian message and the apostolate of service to the poor especially through spiritual and apostolic life.
- B.4. Through twinning programs and exchange of experiences, promote a sense of solidarity and mutual understanding between different countries in which the AMM exists.
- B.5. Integrate the AMM into parishes, preferably in areas where the Vincentian Family is already present, and in this way promote continuity of the Vincentian charism.
- C.1. Apostolate
Within the variety of apostolates in the Association, we want to emphasize and commit ourselves to the following:
- C.1.1. Prayer is an essential part of the life of our Association. We will be men and women of prayer and we resolve to pray before and after our apostolic work so that prayer permeates all our actions. We will pray for others and we recognize that this prayer is an expression of our apostolate.
- C.1.2. All members of the AMM will keep in mind that the apostolate essential to the AMM is evangelization through promotion of the Miraculous Medal message. This is expressed in the Domiciliary Visit, works of charity, and other apostolic activities that respond to the new poverties.
- C.1.3. In order to respond to the new poverties we will continue encouraging evangelization and service projects like the following: promotion of women, support to immigrants, dysfunctional families, formation of children and youth with a preventive focus, nutrition programs, abandoned children, street children, victims of war, abandoned elderly, those sick with HIV/AIDS, care for prisoners, family and school violence, drug dependency, natural disasters, and collaborating with ministries of the Congregation of the Mission, the Daughters of Charity, and the other branches of the Vincentian Family.
- C.1.4. Some groups of AMM carry out various development and human promotion projects by addressing concrete needs within their country or by twinning with the AMM in other countries.
- C.1.5. To evaluate existing apostolates to guarantee quality of service that the AMM offers to Mary’s most beloved children.
- C.2. Integration of Youth into the Association
The AMM wants to open its doors further to youth and adolescents. Therefore we propose to:
- C.2.1. Offer youth an understanding of what the AMM is and what we do.
- C.2.2. Be in greater harmony with youth in order better to know them, to value them, to earn their trust, and show mutual respect.
- C.2.3. Invite youth to take a greater part in our activities, and to make time for prayer and reflection with them.
- C.2.4. Identify and train leaders in order to attract new youth to the AMM.
- C.3. Formation
Aware that holistic formation is essential to the vitality of the Association, we commit ourselves to:
- C.3.1. Continue in our centers the formation that the International Coordinating Council offers us.
- C.3.2 Develop a pastoral plan in which there is a program of formation.
- C.4. Communication
In order to spread the message of the Blessed Virgin and form the members of the Association, we commit ourselves to:
- C.4.1 Encourage the use of media appropriate to its audience.
- C.4.2. Create dynamic places for exchange and communication between different countries and different people.
- D.1 Logo: The international AMM accepts the logo of the AMM in Spain as the distinct insignia for all fully registered members of the Association.
- D.2. Solidarity: to express their commitment, to practice solidarity, and to support the work of animation by the International Coordinating Council, participating countries accept an annual financial assessment set by the Council.
E. Proposals to the Director General
These proposals to the Director General will be discussed at the next meeting of the International Coordinating Council, to be held in Paris during January 2006
- E.1. To send a circular letter to the Visitors and Visitatrices, to stimulate an interest in the AMM and the creation of new groups.
- E.2. To support the creation of regional meetings of the AMM.
- E.3. That the headquarters be in Paris and that the next International meeting be in Paris.
- E.4. To strengthen the ties of the AMM with the Vincentian Family.
- E.5. To fix a date each year for the members make a collection to support the activities of the International Council.
- E.6. To create the position of coordinator of AMM Africa, who should be someone that lives in Africa.
- E.7. That a delegate for youth be on the International Council.
- E.8. That there is delegation of Youth at the next International Meeting.
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.
Presentation of the Association to the 2004 International Assembly of the Congregation of the Mission
Fr. Charles Shelby,former International Director made this presentation about this "largest branch of the Vincentian family" to the delegates at the CM General Assembly in 2004.
Report on the International Association of the Miraculous Medal Charles F. Shelby, C.M.
The first purpose of this presentation is to describe the changes that have taken place in the International Association of the Miraculous Medal, the AMM, since the last General Assembly in 1998. Second, I will also share some plans and challenges for the future, and I will affirm the importance of your support. The Association is active in many countries of the world, but my focus here is international.
I do not have the time to present, and you do not have the need to hear, an explanation of the AMM or of the Miraculous Medal. You already know it well enough.
Still, I will remind you that there is but one AMM in the world. The AMM in the various countries is just that, the AMM in that country. Unity is not uniformity. The diversity of the AMM is one of our strengths. The Director General has always respected and affirmed the uniqueness of the AMM as it exists in each country and culture.
Where We Were in 1998
At the time of the General Assembly in 1998, the AMM had just received newly revised and approved international statutes. They are in Appendix 2 of this presentation. These statutes renewed the AMM in the spirit of the Vatican Council II. Although the AMM has a long history, this was a new beginning, and it was less than seven years ago.
It was the insight of our last Superior General that the AMM was the largest branch of the Vincentian Family, and that its millions of members could be a formidable force serving and advocating on behalf of the poor. In January 1998 Bob Maloney asked me to represent the AMM to the Vincentian Family at its annual meeting of leaders. In July I was invited to the General Assembly in that same capacity.
First International Meeting of the AMM
Our statutes do not provide for an assembly of the AMM, but they do not forbid a meeting. Thus it happened that the first international meeting of the leaders of the AMM occurred in October of 2001. The theme was “A New Image for a New Millennium.” Among the results of the meeting was a request for some international structure beyond the person of the Director General.
'The New International Structure of the AMM
To make a long story short, by the summer of 2002 this structure was in place:
• An International Coordinator, delegate of the Director General, is responsible for promoting the national structures of the AMM, for offering formation materials, for establishing a web site, and for publishing a newsletter. In 2002 I was appointed the first International Coordinator.
• A Coordinating Council of the AMM—consisting of a CM priest, a Daughter of Charity, and a lay person—represents different countries and languages, assists the International Coordinator, and meets with him once each year. The current council members are: Father Janusz Zwolinski, CM (Congo), Sister Marie Yonide Midy, DC (Haiti, living in Paris), and Mrs. Martha Leticia Tapia (Mexico).
We have met three times—in November of 2002, July of 2003, and February of 2004. Our current plan is to meet each year at the time of the meeting of international leaders of the Vincentian Family.
Growth of the AMM
There have been two ways that the AMM has grown since 1998. First, it has been newly established in some areas of the world. Second, it has developed in areas where it already exists. There are 56 locations for the AMM around the world. The complete list is Appendix 1 to this presentation. Web Site and Newsletter of the International AMM
I see the role of a coordinator as one who enables people and groups to work together, to collaborate, and to benefit from one another. It implies building and maintaining a network.
In this age, the Internet is the premier medium for communication, and the international AMM communicates primarily through the Internet. Email is used for virtually all correspondence. The web site of the International AMM, amminter.org began in July of 2003 and is in three languages, English, Spanish, and French. The site is a resource for leaders.
• Official documents—international and national statutes, and final documents from meetings
• Formation materials—talks, articles, and catecheses
• A calendar of events and a discussion forum
• A quarterly electronic newsletter, the AMM eBulletin (eBoletín en español)
Challenges Facing the International AMM
(There is not time to discuss the challenges facing the international AMM, but I have included a few in the written version of this talk, in case you want to read them.)
The international AMM will certainly be successful, because it is the work of the Miraculous Virgin Mary. Nevertheless, it has its challenges.
1. I have a full-time job in addition to being International Coordinator. (I am responsible for one of the larger national locations of the AMM. I am committed to giving 10% of my time to international work, but that fills up quickly.) The members of the Coordinating Council and the Vincentian Family give generous support, but they also have other duties.
2. There is no funding for the international AMM. The greatest expenses are travel for the president and the council, and the cost of the webmaster and web site. So far, all the expenses have been borne by my office in Perryville. We have a plan to ask a small assessment (one or two cents per registered member) to help with the expenses, but I have not yet taken the opportunity to announce it to the AMM national leaders. In very round figures, the cost is about $10,000 per year. Of course, we would welcome contributions. We also hope someday to have a small fund for helping the AMM get started in poorer countries.
3. The third challenge is translations. Practically all materials come to me in only one language. They must be translated into the other two. I do most of the translation into English as my schedule allows. With help, we do fairly well translating into Spanish. We have real difficulty getting materials into French. Plans for the AMM—What We Will Not Do
In looking at the plans for the international AMM, I’d like to begin by saying what we will not do.
1. We will not impose uniform practices beyond the international statutes. This is Mary’s Association, and we would be foolish to try to impose our will on her as she guides the AMM in the variety of cultures in which it flourishes.
2. Neither the International Coordinator nor the council will ordinarily visit different countries. Of course, sometimes it may be possible for a nearby member of the Coordinating Council to attend a meeting or event. The two main reasons for not traveling are the expense and the time required. Plans for the AMM—Activities
Now, here are some things that we plan to do. 1. We have an ambitious catechesis program on the web site, with a schedule of fourteen lessons planned for this year and seven already planned for 2005.
2. We are developing a set of procedures for establishing the AMM in a country.
3. We would like to have a second international meeting of AMM leaders in October of 2005.
Role of the Congregation of the Mission
Finally, what can the Congregation of the Mission do for the AMM?
Please continue your support. It is deeply appreciated, and it simply continues what Mary began when she revealed the Medal to Saint Catherine and entrusted its promotion to the C.M. The spiritual leadership of directors and advisors gives stability to the AMM.
Important, too, is your understanding of the direction of the AMM in the “new millennium,” as we bring God’s love and Mary’s concern to the church and especially to the poor. Together we share a common mission of evangelization and service.
Thank you. I look forward to your questions, whether during a session or later. I see you as valuable collaborators in this ministry, and I welcome your ideas and comments. If you want to contact me after I leave the Assembly, my email address is: email@example.com
First international Meeting 2001
- Material to be added