Vincentian Marian Youth Association Province of the West
Vincentian Marian Youth (VMY) is an International Association of young people that began in 1830 when the Blessed Mother appeared to Catherine Labouré, a young woman studying to be a Daughter of Charity. Mary asked that young people be organized in her name and that "graces would be bestowed upon them." Today, this group of young people spans the globe in 65 countries with over 110,000 members.
In 2004, the Vincentian Marian Youth Association of the Province of the West was established. Based in Los Altos Hills, California, the Association serves as a central office and supports the following thirteen Western states in the United States: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
The purpose of the Association is simple: to work with young people and help energize their faith and concerns for the poor by connecting them more closely to Jesus Christ, Mother Mary, each other, and the poor.
"The Children of Mary," "Marian Youth," "Vincentian Marian Youth" are three names for the same International Association. The Vincentian Marian Youth was born after the apparitions of Mary, in order to create a place where youth in difficulty live, share and are educated. The Association of the Sons and Daughters of Mary is known internationally by the name Vincentian Marian Youth. This Association was born thanks to Mary's desire that was transmitted to St. Catherine Labouré: I want an Association for the young to be founded ... where I will pour out many graces.
Catherine Labouré and Jean-Marie Aladel played the role of founders and distributors of the message (like you do today). The first steps were taken by a group in Beaune, in the Diocese of Dijon, after the approbation of the movement by Pope Pius XI allowed the message to be spread throughout the world. By 1999 the Association already existed in 49 countries and the International Statutes (In Vincentiana 43 (1999) 89-97) had been approved by Pope John Paul II.
Today, after the first Assembly in Rome in 2000, we have a President and an International Council as well as an International Secretariat in Madrid. Rue du Bac continues to be our place of pilgrimage.
VMY affirms its being and doing within four distinctive characteristics (International Statutes, article 5):
- Ecclesial: because the members, from baptism, are to follow Christ and become part of his people, the Church, to commit themselves to live and work, actively and responsibly, in communion with other apostolic forces in the Church, with their pastors, in the dioceses and parishes where they are established.
- Lay: because it is an Association mainly composed of young lay people. It is registered with the Pontifical Council for the Laity within the framework of Associations of the Faithful (cf. Canons 298-329). This lay characteristic guides the members to be an active and transforming presence in the midst of the world, particularly among the poor, a setting where building the Kingdom takes place.
- Marian: The members of the Association discover Mary in the gospel, as a model for all believers, accepting in faith the presence of God in her Son Jesus and listening to and acting on his word. Likewise, they see in Mary the inspiration that helps them, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to walk through life in faith and with an effective charity that generates justice.
- Vincentian: Through its birth in the Family of St. Vincent de Paul, VMY is inspired by the Vincentian charism and makes evangelization and service of the poor distinctive characteristics of its presence in the Church. Its members commit themselves to be missionaries, as a requirement of its own charism, witnessing to the love of Christ by word and work, always ready to exercise their apostolic work among young men and women and among the poorest.
We are a young International Association committed to youth, the world, the Church and the poor. Currently there are more than 110,000 members in 65 countries.
- Europe: birthplace of the Association, where it first took root. Here the Association has more tradition and experience and also has the challenge of continuing to give life to the Association. It was in Europe that the "post-conciliar renewal" of VMY began and it is present in 10 countries with about 33,000 members.
- Africa: Here the Association is still taking its first steps with very young groups filled with vitality in spite of the situation of poverty and lack of resources. We are in 18 countries with some 6000 members. VMY will soon begin in Chad and Angola.
- Asia: Numerous young communities are full of life. Even though they are limited, they have great devotion to Mary. They are the hope of our Association being present in nine countries having about 16,000 members.
- Americas: Not only a hope for the Church but also for our Association. Here VMY has developed a very interesting common pathway. The members have a Council and their own continental bulletin. They get together once every three years for a meeting-mission. VMY is present in 26 countries with some 20,000 members.
- Oceania: The Association is not yet present on this continent. We are counting on you to establish it, for even if there are other branches of our family present there working effectively, we feel that each branch has its own richness to offer.
So therefore... the things of God emerge: this sprouted, grew, became strong and today some 65 countries have received the message and plan of Mary. VMY continues to transmit a message that guides, strengthens and makes our baptismal commitment more solid, a commitment that calls us to grow and strengthen our roots.
St. Vincent de Paul, Mission, and Vincentian Values
About St. Vincent de Paul (1581 - 1660): St. Vincent de Paul was born in 1581 into a poor French peasant family. Ordained a priest at 19, he later founded the first Confraternity of Charity, a group of rich women who helped the poor. Today, the Confraternity of Charity is called the Ladies of Charity. He also founded the Congregation of the Missions, known today as the Vincentian Fathers and Brothers. Around the same time, he met a devout widow, Louise de Marillac, and together they worked to bring about the formation of country girls to serve the poor. These girls eventually formed the Daughters of Charity. Today, the Daughters of Charity have 23,000 sisters worldwide and are considered the largest religious community of women in the world. St. Vincent de Paul died on September 27, 1660. For more information about St. Vincent de Paul, please visit this site.
Mission: In response to the request of the Blessed Mother to St. Catherine Laboure in 1830, the Association of the Vincentian Marian Youth of the Province of the West commits to guide its young members in closely following Jesus Christ.
In the spirit of our Founders, Saint Vincent DePaul, Saint Louise de Marillac, and Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, we encourage our members to strengthen their faith, increase their devotion to the Blessed Mother, and animate their missionary zeal, especially with the poor.
We commit to collaborate in faith with the pastoral activities of the local Church by strengthening programs which deepen our Vincentian Charism of evangelization and service.
Vincentian Values: Vincentian Marian Youth - Province of the West leads and serves with Faith, Compassion, Integrity, Justice, and Ecological Responsibility.
The Vincentian Marian Youth Association, Province of the West, intends to achieve four principal goals.
1. Forming their members to live out, with deep faith, the following of Christ, Evangelizer and Servant of the poor.
2. Living and praying, like Mary, in simplicity and humility, making their own the spirituality of the Magnificat.
3. Keeping alive a missionary spirit, especially through experiences among the poor and abandoned in our society.
4. Preparing the members individually and communally to collaborate and become invested in their local parish and diocese.
In order to assure its dynamism and make decisions, the VMY Association works with Councils within different organizational lines (center, diocesan, provincial or regional, national and international).
- International Level
The Director General of the Association is the Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity. He exercises this function through the intermediary of a Subdirector General named from the Congregation of the Mission .
The General Assembly is convoked at least every five years and is the highest decision-making organization in VMY. One of its objectives is to elect the International President and the lay members of the International Council from among the young representatives of the different countries. It must also suggest revisions to the Statutes, review the financial status of the Association and promote the spiritual vitality and ministry of the Association.
The life of the Association is animated at the international level by the International Council . This Council is composed of the Director General, the Subdirector General, a General Councillor of the Daughters of Charity, the Lay President and four lay members of the Association elected by the General Assembly. These are the "Major Superiors" (cf. Canon 318) of the Association. The International Council meets several times a year. It is convoked and presided over by the Lay President or, in exceptional cases, the Director General. It meets in order to:
- Suggest reflection themes on important aspects of the life and activities of the Association.
- Assure communication with and among the National Associations through letters, visits and other means.
- Evaluate the carrying out of projects that were approved by the previous General Assembly and prepare for the following General Assembly.
- Study and approve the preliminary budget and the annual financial balance sheet presented by the International Secretariat.
Since 1 September 1999 , there has been a International Secretariat that is located in Madrid (Spain). It is composed of five members whose principal commitment is to form the executive staff of the International Council. Its specific functions consist of: promoting the vitality of the Association, being a link, an avenue of sharing and information between the different National Associations, a means of deepening its own identity, facilitating the means that allow the Association to succeed in its objectives in the different countries. At this time, the Internal President is Maria Nelly Yasmine Cajuste (Haiti) and the members of the International Council are Dorys Maribel (Ecuador), Denise El Khoury (Lebanon), Francis de paul Ravazaha Voahanginirina ( Madagascar ), Maria Jesus Garcia Olveira ( Spain ), Fr. Pedro Castillo ( Venezuela ) and Sr. Asunción García ( Spain ). They efficiently direct other administrative functions:
- Communications and maintaining the general archives;
- Administration and maintaining relations with the Vincentian Family;
- Follow-up on the commitments from the 1 st General Assembly;
- Animation, formation and expansion of the Association;
- Develop a monthly international bulletin;
- Oversee the web site, which serves as a place for all our members to meet, share and receive formation information, and which we invite them to use frequently: www.secretariadojmv.org
- National Level
In each country there is a National Council, composed of a Priest Advisor and a Sister Delegate (normally a Vincentian Priest and a Daughter of Charity), a National President and several lay members.
The major leadership and decision-making body is the National Assembly that elects the National President and the lay members of the Council. It establishes work models and makes the most important decisions.
In each country there must be a National Secretariat, or at least a person principally dedicated to the leadership of the Association.
There are also smaller Councils: Regional or Provincial, Diocesan and Local.
- Regional Level
The group or local center is the basic element that gives life to the charism and spirit of VMY. It is here that we are enlivened, thanks to weekly meetings, and where we invite the youth to follow a process of formation and maturation in the faith, to experience living Christian community, to have a spiritual experience and gradually commit to an apostolic task according to the Vincentian Charism. We live all of this by means of social interaction, retreats and meetings at the diocesan, provincial, regional, national and international levels.
Each group is guided by an adult advisor (normally a Vincentian priest, Daughter of Charity, adult VMY member, or another religious or secular priest). The Advisor is a person that neither walks ahead nor behind, but walks along side the youth, who learns from them and with them, offering them tools and experiences that allow them to be agents of their own history thereby becoming responsible adult Christians.
Each Center has its own Local Council, responsible for creatively achieving the four goals of the Association.
Vincentian Marian Youth Association
Province of the West, U.S.A
26000 Altamont Road
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022-4317
Phone: (650) 949-8919
Fax: (650) 949-8883
The Vincentian Marian Youth Association, Province of the West, sponsored by the Daughters of Charity, provides support for the VMY associations located in 13 Western US States.
VMY plans to organize, or work with the parishes to help coordinate, many events intended to help youths grow closer to Mother Mary, Jesus, each other, and the abandoned poor.
The events that VMY plans to hold (or hopes to assist the parish with) can be broadly categorized under the folowing categories.
Categories and Events
- Faith Formation: Prayer Meetings, Workshops, Religious Congress, World Youth Day, Vincentian Feast Days, Marian Consecration, Pilgrimage
- Fun and Social Activities: Sport Tournaments, Social Gathering
- Leadership Formation: Workshops, Leadership Picnic, Retreats, Camping
- Music Ministry: Teen Mass, Taize, Mass at Juvenile Hall
- Service Projects: Christmas Caroling, Missionary Trips, Serve Food at Homeless Shelter, Provide Service for the Underpriviledged, Visit Nursing Homes, Assist Elderly
- Youth Detention Ministry: Mass at Juvenile Hall, Bible Study
For a complete list of events and up to date information on specific VMY events, please go to the VMY Home Page by clicking here.
- God Walk VMY - August 4 - 12, 2007
This summer the Vincentian Marian Youth Association, Province of the West, is sponsoring an exciting adventure in love and service. This is a pilgrimage spanning five days, walking on foot between locations in Oakland and San Francisco, where we will be serving the community in various ways including working at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, visiting the elderly, cleaning parks and more. It’s an adventure into the heart of being a disciple of Jesus Christ in the Vincentian spirit. Together we will learn how to more deeply love our brothers and sisters, and how to more concretely love our Lord Jesus Christ by serving his poor. Please stay tuned for more information about this event and how you can become a part of this exciting opportunity! “Enough talk, let’s walk!”
- Taize: Compassion - June 8, 2007
On June 8, 2007, VMY, with the help of Pray 4 Fun of St. Patrick's Parish in San Jose, will host another Taize Prayer Night. The theme for the evening is Compassion. Please come join us from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Seton Provincialate Main Chapel for a prayerful hour of meditative music as we contemplate the presence of Christ as he moves us to a life lived in compassion. This will be followed by an hour of fellowship from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Vincentian Marian Youth (VMY) Association?
The Vincentian Marian Youth Association is an international association of young people that began in 1830 at the request of the Blessed Mother Mary. Mother Mary transmitted a message to Saint Catherine Laboure and asked that an Association for the young be founded, where Mother Mary will "pour out many graces". Today, VMY has 110,000 members in 65 different countries, and VMY is under Canon Law.
The Vincentian Marian Youth Association, Province of the West, is based in Los Altos Hills, California, and supports thirteen Western states in the United States.
The mission of VMY is to help youths grow closer to Mary, Jesus, each other, and the poor.
How is VMY different from other youth ministries?
VMY does not belong to any parish or diocese. This is VMY's greatest benefit. VMY has the ability and necessary resources to bring youth groups from all over the world to participate in projects, which can range from serving food at a nearby homeless shelter to taking a missionary trip to help the poor in a developing country. VMY, in a sense, serves as an umbrella organization to help bring youth groups together to achieve a common goal: to love Mother Mary, Jesus, and each other, especially the abandoned and the poor.
While each group has its own strengths and talents, when the groups come together, VMY hopes that barriers are broken. There is no "my group is better than yours" feeling. Rather, there is a feeling of a larger community, the worldwide Church, coming together to serve God and each other.
What age group does VMY serve?
VMY serves people of all ages. Typically, VMY members are from 13 through 40 years of age. If you are under 13 or over 40 (and you are still "young at heart"), you are more than welcome to take part in VMY.
Why should I join VMY?
If you want a chance to grow closer to Mother Mary and Jesus, a chance to nurture your spirituality, a chance to meet a lot of interesting people like yourself, a chance to lessen the sufferings of your fellow brothers and sisters, a chance to develop your leadership skills, a chance to go to beautiful places at very little or no cost, and a chance to have an AWESOME and FUN time, then YOU SHOULD JOIN VMY.
Do I have to be a Catholic to join VMY?
VMY participants, and the individuals that VMY serves, can be of any religious background. However, VMY members must be Catholics.
Is there a fee to join VMY?
No. It is free to join VMY.
What are the requirements to join VMY?
To be an active member, you must:
- Commit yourself to the Christian and Vincentian lifestyle. In other words, you must love the Christian faith and follow its teachings, and you must love the poor and try your best to serve the poor whenever possible.
- Have a sincere desire to help build the Church and to work towards the betterment of yourself and those less fortunate than you.
- Take part one time in the Annual Marian Consecration Ceremony.
- Try your best to attend the meetings and participate in the activities of the Association.
- Carry out a task, when you volunteer for it, conscientiously and to the best of your abilities.
Please note that you do not have to be an active member to participate in VMY's events. To participate in a VMY event, you just have to register for the event and follow the guidelines stipulated for the event.
What are the time commitments to join VMY?
This depends completely on how active you are.
- If you volunteer to be a core team member, more time will be needed of you, especially when the upcoming event requires your attention.
- If you are a member, but you are not on a core team, you only need to help with the event for which you have signed up.
Please note that if you just want to join VMY on an event but not become a member, then you just need to register for the event and come have fun with the youths.
How do I join VMY?
To join VMY, please call (650) 949-8919.
Do I need to fill out a Release and Waiver Form in order to attend one of your events?
Yes. If you are under 18 years of age, please have your parent or a legal guardian fill it out. If you are 18 and over, you can fill out the form yourself. To print out a Release and Waiver Form, please go to the Resources section of our main VMY Home Page. There, you can print out the Waiver Form. To go the Resources section of the VMY Home Page, click here.
I direct a youth group. I would like to integrate VMY into my program. I also want to ensure that my group retains its identity. How do I integrate my group with VMY and still maintain my group's identity?
VMY has no intention of "pulling" you away from your group. We do not ask that you to take on VMY's identity while losing yours. In fact, out of the four goals that we have, goal #4 clearly states that VMY intends to help you become more invested in your parish or diocese. Therefore, when you integrate your group with VMY, we prefer that you retain your group's identity and continue with your work. VMY is, after all, an umbrella organization created to assist youth groups such as yours.
We do ask, however, that you add on "Vincentian Marian Youth" to your group's name. This helps us when we coordinate events that involve many groups (which is typically the case). Also, this helps to create a sense of a larger community.
Also, we ask that your group adheres to the principles of VMY, which most likely you are already doing. VMY's principles are simple: to love Mother Mary and Jesus, and to love and serve the Poor when possible.
I would like to form a VMY Association in my parish. Can you help?
We will do our best to help you in whatever ways we can. Please call us at (650) 949-8919.
What are some of your events? How do I register?
Please go to our main VMY Home Page. There, you will find information on upcoming events and how to register. Click here.
Will pictures be taken at your events? What if I do not want my picture taken or used?
We will never use your picture in any of our printed literature (e.g., brochure, flyer, newsletter, website) without your explicit consent.
At each event, when you check in at the registration desk, you will be given a form. On this form, you can deny or give us the permission to use your pictures. If you are under 18 years of age, your parents must give us the permission.
Please note that VMY is sponsored by the Daughters of Charity. We exist to help youths and the Poor, and we were formed to provide resources. We do not make any money, and we have no intention of using your picture for any financial, material, or other gain. If you do give us the permission to use your pictures, be assured that we use them for only honorable and legitimate causes (e.g., in a newsletter sent to VMY members).
- Chapel of Miraculous Medals
- International Association of Charity
- Vincentian Family
- Company of the Daughters of Charity
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul
- International Vincentian Marian Youth
- Miraculous Medal Association
- Vincentian Lay Missionaries
- Vincentian Marian Youth - Southeast Missouri
- Vincentian Marian Youth - Faith in Action Together - Anchorage, Alaska
The following organizations have generously donated their talents and time to help the Vincentian Marian Youth Association, Province of the West. Thank you to their generosity.
VMY Home Page
For more information, including bulletins and resources, please visit the main VMY Home Page by clicking here.