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MEETING OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF THE AMM
The meeting of the International Council was preceded by two days of activities.
On April 19th Fr. Gregory Gay, C.M., the Director General presided at a Eucharist at the Basilica
of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The different branches of the Vincentian Family from the
metropolitan area were also present.
April 20th was a day for the team to be together. Accompanied by the Visitatrix and the
Provincial Council of the Daughters of Charity a tour was made of the archeological area of San
Juan Teotihuacan and a visit to the community of the Daughters of Charity who serve in the
Hospital of the Chronically Ill in Tepexpan, Edo. de Mexico.
The work of the meeting began March 21st at 9 a.m. with the Eucharist celebrated in the Parish of
the Miraculous Medal in Col. Vertiz Narvarte of Mexico City, D. F.
Participants:
Fr. Gregory Gay, C.M., Director General
Fr. Benjamín Romo, C.M., Internacional Coordinator
Sr. Blanca Libia Tamayo, D.C., General Councillor of the Daughters of Charity
Fr. Henry Grodecki, C.M., Responsible for the English-Speaking Countries
Mrs. Olimpia Freire de Almeida Ruano, Responsible for the French- and Portuguese-Speaking
Countries and for Spain
Martha Leticia Tapias Salinas, Responsible for Finance
Sr. Carolina Flores Moreno, D.C., Executive Secretary
The meeting began with a prayer and with the gratitude of Fr. Benjamín to those members of the
council who had come from a distance to participate. He explained that Luis Alfonso Rodríguez
Norato was absent because of visa problems. We experienced his presence from his brotherly
message and from the detailed news from the countries for which he is responbile.
Sr. Carolina was asked to keep the minutes for the meeting.
The meeting was carried out by the following agenda:
1. How are we?
This question guided our sharing.
Father Gregory—In his visits to various countries he always tries to take a moment to meet with
the Vincentian Family. These meetings are very encouraging since they help him see the good
things that are done in the spirit of Saint Vincent. He expresses his interest and willingness to
continue to support all of the projects of the Vincentian Family. He also expressed his gratitude
for the support he received on the death of his father.
Father Benjamín—He thanks Godwho allows him to live his priestly and Vincentian vocation by
this ministry. The groups are continuing, are enthusiastic. In Mexico, the regional and local
Assemblies have concentrated on the deepening of spirituality by the Word of God by the Lectio
Divina method. He is grateful for the help of the many lay persons who get so much done. He
knows that much more still can be done.
Sr. Blanca Libia—In her visits to countries she meets with the groups of the Vincentian Family,
especially the Miraculous Medal where she sees much dynamism. The groups are reemerging
and organizing themselves well.
Fr. Henry--He comments on some major accomplishments. There is a new visitor center in
memory of the mother of Fr. Charles Shelby, the former International Coordinator, with great
apostolic plans. It is called the “Ruth Shelby Memorial Heritage and Visitor Center.” An
exposition of Marian Art was held in the center. They are using email to communicate with
individuals and communities in various places of the Association. Also a new house has been
built for the elderly and sick of the Midwest Province in the U.S. He had some lovely
photographs to help us to know what has been accomplished.
Mrs. Olimpia—She spoke of visits to the groups, the difficulty of getting youth interested in this
apostolate, the richness of prayer to the Blessed Virgin through the domiciliary visits. It has been
difficult to connect with the various countries by email.
Martha Leticia—As the one responsible for finances of the Association she administers these
goods, receiving the dues and doing the necessary paperwork. She represented the International
council of the AMM en the Meeting of the Vincentian Family of Nicaragua in October 2006.
Sr. Carolina—Personally and as a Daughter of Charity she has been enriched by the service she
give to the Association. She is grateful for the support that has been given her by all the members
of the Council, especially Fr. Gregory and Fr. Benjamín.
2. Historical Review of the meetings of the Council. (2002-2006)
There was a reading of the document attached to the agenda which presented a summary of what
was treated in the five previous meetings.
Especially the point about the presence of youth in the AMM was taken up again and some
comments were made:
 Youth work has specific difficulties. In order to pass on the message of the AMM one
needs to have a certain dynamic. One could think of beginning with those youth not
participating in the meeting, but rather with concrete acts of service to the poor.
 It doesn’t seem advisable that a person belong to various branches of the Vincentian
Family.
 When there are older Children of Mary, they can be the AMM. Can one ask them to
begin a dialogue of discernment? If they perceive after some time that they have give
more importance to the Association than the charism. It is important to create a
consciousness of the charism of the Vincentian Family and that of the “Association” is
where this lives.
 Formation of leaders. It is a theme that frequently comes up.
 Continue responding to the commitments of 2005
 In conclusion, after seeing the whole picture we can say that we have grown much
thanks to the work of the countries and the Coordinating Council.
3. News about the meetings held in Mexico (June to 2006 to date)
A text presented a summary to the members of the Council about the meetings that were held in
Mexico by Martha Tapia, Sr. Carolina and Fr. Benjamín. Fr. Gregory asked that they keep a
monthly rhythm to these meetings.
4. News of the progress of the International AMM
Fr. Benjamín Romo shared news of the Activities of 2006 and the projects of 2007 especially in the
areas of: The Bulletin, the web page, Statues, Documents of the life of the AMM in various
countries, meeting of the International Coordinating Council and the financial area.
Fr. Gregorio stressed the importance of improving communication, of emphasizing the use of
materials offered on the webpage. Fr. Benjamín will ask Fr. Miguel Ángel Renes, Director of the
AMM in Spain, if it is possible to send an example of his Bulletin to every country.
5. News about the situation of the countries where the AMM is found.
Fr. Gregory says that he would like to hear more about the AMM meeting together with the
Vincentian Family in his visits to various countries. He sees the need of increasing the use of the
webpage and of having better communication. He especially asks that they be given the
necessary information that he can share in the countries that he visits. He mentioned the case of
the Philippines where they had an important movement of the AMM before. He stressed the
role of the AMM in so far as evangelization and service to the poor. He posed this question: Has
it been forgotten that the patron of all the branches of the Vincentian Family is Our Lady of the
Miraculous Medal? Our awareness of this moves us to establish the Association in the countries
where one does not find it. The U. S. has started a very positive change of communicating by
mail to more personal meetings with different groups. He told us of his intention to write a letter
to the Visitors and Visitatrices as a result of this meeting.
Sr. Blanca Libia—In visiting countries she has had meetings with the Vincentian Family,
especially with the AMM. En those she could perceive much love of the Blessed Virgin,
evangelization about the Miraculous Medal and service to the poor. Bolivia—The Association is
being formed. Colombia—They have focused on service to the poor street people. Venezuela—
There is much progress in the movement of the Association.
Fr. Henry—He stressed that the majority of the countries for which he is responsible are not
communicating by email. Some particular situations are:
U. S. Missouri—They have a new visitor center.
Thailand—He has frequent communication.
Australia—They have a new person in charge.
An unforeseen but very nice visit of a group of Sisters of the Western Province of the U.S., which
received during the work of our meeting, gave us news of new members, many young, are part
of the AMM in Alaska.
Mrs. Olimpia—She broadly presented the AMM in Portugal, she mentioned the lack of
communication by email with the countries for which she is responsible and need to keep
insisting on this.
Luis Alfonso—He gave us the news of his activity in writing. In it he spoke to us of his
participation in the Fourth Meeting of the Latin American Vincentian Family celebrated in
February 2006 where representing the International AMM he presented a letter from Fr.
Benjamín to the Latin American Council of the Vincentian Family. He also participated in the
National Assembly of the AMM in Spain during June 2006. About the communication with
countries with whom he corresponded, he presented the results of the communication with them.
The majority of the time he does not get a response.
6. Treasurer’s Report
Martha Leticia presented with much clarity the Tresurer’s report whose sums are the following:
Received through dues
$ 6614
Received through solidarity
$10681
Expenses
$ 6958
Balance
$10337
She mentioned also that 11 countries confirmed the reception of the news by email. In order to
support the finances of the AMM Mrs. Olimpia explained a project of promoting the donation of
paintings. She was asked to present this project in writing for its study.
7. Revision of the International Statutes
Reasons for which this revision was suggested: The progress that has been made in
internationalization presents the following realities: A presence, each time more significant, of
lay people in the Association, the need to better clarify the purpose and much more has made us
see the need to revise the International Statutes.
Some gaps in the actual statutes:
The International and National structure with president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and
their functions.
The figure of national subdirector, Father of the C.M. and the national assessor, a Daughter of
Charity, both named by their respective visitor(atrix) and confirmed by the Director
General.
Bonds with the Director General.
Delegating more responsibility to the laity.
The election process and terms of office.
More specification of the authority of the assembly.
Determining times of Assemblies.
Types of members and how to define them: Commited to the Association? Active?
The council, after having reflected, took on the process of revising the International Statutes. The
members of the Coordinating Council who live in Mexico (Fr. Benjamín, Sr. Carolina, Martha
Leticia) were asked to do a proposed revision which would be reviewed by a canonist (Fr.
Alberto Vernaschi, C.M. was suggested), in order to make way for a wider consultation at the
2009 Assembly a draft would be submitted for approval.
8. Revision of the commitments of the 2005 Encounter
Concerning the commitments the following were stressed:
C.1—Apostolate
To gather the experiences of service in order to share them by way of the Bulletin (for example:
Spain, Colombia, Puerto Rico, the countries of Central America, Rwanda.)
C.2—Integration of youth
After reflecting we see that the natural process (flow) of which the document of formative
processes in VMY speaks is the AMM. It has not been easy to implement. It needs much work of
awareness. The secretariat of the VMY would have to find that the countries are going to put into
practice and speak concretely of age limits. Fr. Gregorio promises to dialogue, in the next
International Council of the JMV, on the theme of process.
C.3—Formation
It is important to take advantage of the experiences of the apostolate and the materials of
formation that they have in other countries. Concretely one thinks of Spain, Mexico, Peru. As far
as possible it could be shared through the Bulletin and, if is advisable, through the webpage.
C.4—Agreements
Insignia: A mechanism will be thought of to offer the different National Councils the possibility
of obtaining it.
Solidarity: Fr. Gregory will speak in his letter about the financial contribution to support the
guiding work of the International Council.
9. Formation
The schema of the Catechesis we have was reviewed. We are thinking of translating them into
Portuguese, especially Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 13, 14 & 15.
We spoke of the preparing of some other catecheses:
 To continue to stress the theme of youth, what AMM offers youth, linked to the Marian
Consecration and the living values that are manifested from the AMM there.
 Catechesis that appeals to the experience of youth. We will ask Switzerland to present
the experience that they have of the youth AMM committed to service.
 We will ask Fr. Manuel Ginete if he could prepare Catecheses 18 and 19 with other
themes.
 We will ask Fr. Janusz Zwolinski about the Catechesis that he has pending.
 Fr. Gregory will prepare a Catechesis to help raise the consciousness about the theme of
“Solidarity” as an expression of our faith, as a consciousness of belonging.
 Sr. Blanca Libia will present a Catechesis on The Word of God.
 Translations:
Fr. Henry Grodecki will continue translating from Spanish to English.
Mrs. Olimpia Ruano offers translation from Spanish to Portuguese.
Sr. Teresa Sano will be asked to translate from Spanish to French.
10. The Apostolate of the AMM itself
This section of the agenda had added to it news about the Commission for Systemic Change.
A Document: “Systematic Change, a Transforming Process”, gave al the information about this
team for promoting systematic change: its members, its strategies, presentation materials and
what they hope from the various branches of the Vincentian Family. Fr. Gregory shared other
ideas about the process:
 A way of living charity from the situation of the poor changes the structures which
oppress them.
 All the branches can have this direction but it is left to their own free choice.
 We have worked for the poor, later with the poor, now we start to work because of the
poor.
 There exists a force of change in mentality, of commitment, in a word: of conversion.
11. Ritual for the reception of members into the Association of the Miraculous Medal.
Fr. Benjamín made a proposal to create a little Ritual for receiving members. The proposal was
accepted and he himself will present a draft to which comments and suggestions can be made to
better it. It will be revised in order to present it later as a support for the integration of new
members.
12. Bulletin
Ideas for the Bulletin like the following were made: We will have it every three months, with a
simple format which makes it easy to send, it will continue to stress the presentation of news,
especially apostolic experiences.
13. Directory
Revisions were made to the data of the Directory in order to bring it up to date. Fr. Gregory’s
contributions were very important, offering information about the National Directors and their
email addresses. Sr. Libia promises to support this action at the next meeting of Visitatrices
which will be held in Quito, Ecuador.
As a result of this review the list of countries was restructured concerning some of the countries
for whom members were responsible.
Taking as a starting point the distribution of the countries done at the meeting of 2006, the
following changes were made:
Fr. Henry: Dropped Greece. Took now also Poland, Ukraine and the new center in Alaska.
Mrs. Olimpia: Dropped Poland and Ukrain. Added Greece.
Fr. Benjamín: Took on Curacao.
It was determined that the secretary would resend to those responsible in each country the
communications received from them.
14. Alia
Preparation for Encounter 2009
We recalled the commitment made by Sr. Blanca Libia about obtaining the use of the Mother
House of the Daughters of Charity for this event. She informed us that the maximum capacity is
85 persons. Fr. Gregory will make the request of the Mother House of the Congregation of the
Mission.
It was clarified that the countries with Statutes are those that have a right to vote and to have two
lay representatives who have belonged to the Association at least four years.
Centennial Celebration
It was determined that from the International Coordinating Council a survey will be sent to the
National Councils to get suggestions to determine the activities at an international level and to
make proposals for celebrating at the national level.
15. Next Meeting
The next meeting will be in Lisbon, Portugal 3-6 April 2008.
16. Evaluation
In general the meeting evaluation was positive. Some specific things were:
We did enough work, we came to clear commitments, well-oriented, two days together before the
meeting proved to be beneficial. The Documents prepared for the meeting were useful, it was
suggested that the pages of additions be indicated in the agenda which guided the meeting so
that they may be consulted more easily.
We concluded with an expression of thanks to God for the efforts of so many people who make
the work and guidance of the Association in the various places of the world possible. Thanks
also for the disponibility of the members of the Council who traveled in order to participate in
the meeting.
Sister Carolina Flores, D.C.
Executive secretary
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