Associates and Affiliates
Associates of the Little Company of Mary were part of the original inspiration of the Founder, Venerable Mary Potter. She sought to gather together people who shared her vision of creating a better world by living lives of faith, hope and love in the service of the suffering and dying members of Christ’s body.
As Sisters of the Little Company were gathered together by a vision of loving service to the sick and dying, through a life of prayer, community and service, in union with Mary, those associated with this Little Company would do the same, while continuing to live in the lifestyles to which they had been called by God. In this manner Associates work towards the building of the community of the Kingdom of God.
Those who have been called to be Associates of the Little Company of Mary share with the Sisters a gift and special call to a more profound living of the gospel message. Through this commitment to live according to their baptismal consecration both the Sisters and their Associates follow their call, each in their own particular pattern, to ‘die to sin and live for God’. (Rom 6:2)
To respond fully to our call requires a continual conversion of heart; ‘in your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus’ (Phil. 2:5) and in this way both the Sisters and Associates gain a new freedom to live in the world without being overcome or compromised by those values which are not of the Gospel.
Associates, as companions of Mary, do not profess canonical vows, and undertake no binding financial or legal commitments with the community. Standing with Mary who is the model of faithful discipleship, Associates and Sisters of the Little Company of Mary seek to acquire those virtues which lead them to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with their God (Micah 6:8)
Following the 1993 Congregational Chapter and the Charism Commission of 1996 where the concept of Associates and Affiliates was revisited the Province established two groups- one called the Associates and the other the Affiliates.
Associates are people who feel drawn to the Spirit of the Little Company of Mary and vision of Venerable Mary Potter. They are led through a formation programme and make a commitment to deepen their own spiritual life, pray for the dying and further the Mission of the Church through the Little Company of Mary Charism. After a time of formation they make their first commitment which is renewed biannually. During formation they have a designated Associate to journey with them as they meet regularly to share faith, prayer, LCM spirituality, ministry and the celebration of life.
Affiliates are people who join with the Sisters in their ministry of Prayer for the Dying of the world in union with Mary on Calvary. Their only obligation is to pray for the dying each day.
If you would do an act that would endear you to your Lord, pray for the dying. Today they need your prayer, tomorrow will be too late.
– Mary Potter, Mary’s Call
How true are these words today as we hear and see each day in the news the awful tragic deaths of many killed in violent circumstances and all those who die each day from natural causes and longsuffering illness.
Walking Humbly with Mary
Mary on Calvary is the perfect example of faithfulness for us. Throughout her life the Holy Spirit had been preparing and strengthening her for that time of maternal grief and loss which was also a time of fulfilment, because on Calvary she became the Mother of all Christians. Mary’s maternal love is the model we are called to imitate as disciples of her Son. In solidarity with her, we seek to live with courage before the world and in humility before God, filled with faith in God’s word, trust in God’s promise and hope in Christ’s rising from the dead.
Mary shared Jesus’ suffering and stayed with him through the darkness of his dying. Her example inspires us and moves us to compassionate love for the sick, the suffering, the vulnerable and the dying. We offer our own lives and all our joy and suffering as an expression of our faith in the abiding mystery of God’s redeeming love.
Mary strengthens and supports us as we seek to draw closer to Jesus and to one another. She is with us as she was with the little company of women and the beloved disciple at the foot of the cross, and with the community gathered at Pentecost. We seek inspiration from her example and courage from her prayers as we too try to live as faithful disciples in community with one another amidst the challenges and struggles of daily life.
Mary Potter drew wisdom and strength from Mary as she sought to discern the will of God. Like Mary, she faithfully followed her calling with generosity and humility in the face of resistance and opposition. She knew what it was to struggle against the conventions of society in order to respond to God’s call. She understood the peace that comes from faithful perseverance and love. Following her, we too seek to become a healing and reconciling presence in God’s suffering creation, surrendering ourselves to God in the same spirit of faith, strengthened by hope and compelled by love.
By living in simplicity and thankfulness, we express the joy of the Gospel as witnesses to others. We pray that they too might hear and respond to Christ’s invitation to discover the fullness of life in Him.
– LCM Associates Handbook 2019.
Many today are called to be Associates or Affiliates and we give thanks for their fidelity to the call and the generous way in which they live out this call through their daily lives and the various ministries they are involved with, where they give expression to the LCM Charism.
Recently we reviewed three words that might give expression to what the role of an Associate or Affiliate is. The three words are:
- Companionship – as we journey together in the company of Mary.
- Compassion – expressed in our ministry of care, concern, empathy and solidarity.
- Prayer – the central focus for our life of personal prayer for the sick, suffering and dying of the world.
At the Annual Associates Meeting of 2019 the Vision and Mission statement was reviewed.
As Associates of the Little Company of Mary.
We are called to go forth as Mary’s chosen companions.
We are in communion, united in prayer for the sick, suffering and dying in the world.
We live and bring the spirit of Mary more deeply into our own lives and into the lives of those we meet on our life’s journey.
Commitment to prayer for the sick, suffering and dying in our world.
Continuing to live in the lifestyle to which God has called us.
Extending the spirit of the LCM into our ministries.
Regular contact with an LCM Community, and an Associate Community in sharing our journeys.
Striving always to explore further, our understanding of our spirituality.
Furthering the LCM mission in the global Church Contact LCM Associate and Affiliate Coordinator.
Ms Beverley Neill
E: firstname.lastname@example.org | T: +61 (0)2 8567 0400