Mutuality recognizes that both professed Missionaries and Associates, although they have distinct and different rights and responsibilities within the La Salette Community, contribute to the La Salette mission in the world today. Each does this according to the particular gifts and talents received by God. Mutuality implies the enrichment in ongoing relationships with one another on a personal and a community level.
Associates feel a call in response to the message of reconciliation that Mary proclaimed in her merciful apparition of 1846 in France and are inspired by her words. Through prayer, fraternal love, support, and encouragement, we dedicated ourselves to the service of God’s people, to spreading the message of La Salette, and joining in the ministry of reconciliation with the La Salette Missionaries. This calling inspires us to learn more about what Mary’s words mean to us today and how we can get the message across to others as Mary has called us to do.
We are all different, in our backgrounds, family lives, style of prayer, and depth of faith, but those differences allow us to express this calling in a variety of ways. We come together for prayer, faith sharing and to give each other the support and encouragement we need to carry out our mission.
THE ASSOCIATE PROGRAM OF THE PROVINCE OF MARY MOTHER OF THE AMERICAS
Mission and Vision
The La Salette Associate Program consists of groups of men and women committed to Jesus's mission of reconciliation proclaimed in Mary's message at La Salette. As a people of God, we are called in communion of spirit with the Missionaries of La Salette to bring love, healing, justice, and acceptance through our personal lives, our prayer, our spirituality, and our group activities to "all my people".
The La Salette Associate Program will consist of diverse groups throughout the Province of Mary Mother of the Americas flowing from and linked by the charism and message of Mary at La Salette.
The Associate Program expects that each group adopt the above Mission and Vision and include in their guidelines a formation program incorporating the pillars listed below and a promise of commitment. There would be autonomy within each group to develop "group-specific" guidelines.
Each Associate would be expected to;
1. Accept and understand the Mission and Vision of the program
2. Know the message and charism of La Salette
3. Desire and be willing to live out that charism in their daily lives
4. Share the message of La Saletle with others
Each group would develop their own formation program that would include but is not limited to the following four pillars;
1) La Salette- The message and charism of La Salette
The history and formation of the Missionaries of La Salette.
The structure of the La Salette order.
2) Community- Explore all types of community. Including the associate programs throughout the United States and understand the elements of forming "community” .
3) Ministry- Explore the types of ministry available to group members.
4) Personal spirituality- Understanding that personal spirituality is a life long process that is nourished by faith sharing, community participation, and personal prayer.
Once a candidate has been accepted a covenant commitment is written and renewed yearly as close to the feast of Our Lady of La Salette as possible. This event should be commemorated in the context of either a liturgical ceremony or other prayer service. The Covenant should include the following elements;
a) a desire to foster a La Salette devotion.
b) a desireto share Eucharist with the La Salette Missionaries whenever possible.
c) a commitmentto attend regular meetings as outlined by the local group.
d) a commitmentto ongoing formation programs that will encourage spiritual growth.
e) a desire to celebrate special feast days and holidays with the community.
A Proposed Vision for a Model of Collaboration and Co-Responsibility between the La Salette Missionaries and La Salette Laity in the Americas
The People of God
The people of God, as we have learned from the documents of Vatican II, are no longer considered the lower tier of the Church but rather part of the "communio" (community) of believers. Also, as St. Paul reminds us, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to all the members of the Church (1 Cor 12-14). All are united in the universal call to holiness and are equal and integral parts of the Catholic Church.
Our Lady of La Salette and "Her People"
Our Lady of La Salette, in her compassionate manner and concerns, spoke to Maximin and Melanie - and the entire Church - to "make her message known." Clearly the fact that she first gave this mission to these two children, not to the local clergy of the area, shows her ultimate respect for the proper place of laity within the mission of the Church of her Son.
Her message of reconciliation was therefore entrusted to these two children with the ultimate confidence that they could complete their mission. Her words and actions were profound testimonies to her trust in the power and centrality of the Sacrament of Baptism in the life of her people.
The Growth of Her Mission Over Time
Wit the passage of time, her message and mission were taken to heart by thousands of people including those called to become Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette. Yet even with their official Vatican approbation, the important place of the laity in living out and sharing her message of reconciliation has remained strong.
The La Salette Invocation - "Our Lady of La Salette, Reconciler of Sinners, pray without ceasing for us who have recourse to you" - which was used by a group of laity in the parish of the village of La Salette soon after the apparition - has remained a central part of La Salette devotion and a consistent theme for Salettine ministry.
La Salette Laity Continue to Take Their Rightful Place in Spreading Her Mission
As the ministries and outreach of the La Salette Missionaries spread around the world, Mary's mandate remained tied to all her people. To this very day, laity have been attracted to her message and mission. With profound dedication, they unhesitatingly support and join in the life and ministry of the La Salette Missionaries in various ways with their many gifts.
In addition the La Salette Missionaries wholeheartedly welcome these La Salette Laity as collaborators, truly responsible and gifted co-missionaries. The La Salette Laity join with the La Salette Missionaries in embodying and living out the same charism of reconciliation in their daily lives.
This common vision is rooted in Baptism. Therefore all contemporary La Salette Missionaries, being mindful of what their La Salette Rule emphasizes - "we work in close collaboration with the laity" (#28) - welcome laity as central and crucially important in continuing to carry out their common mission to make Mary's message known.
ROLES AND RESPONSABILITIES OF THE PROVINCIAL ASSOCIATE PROGRAM BOARD OF DIRECTORS
1. PROVINCIAL CO-DIRECTORS
The Provincial Co-Directors of the Associate Program are appointed by the Provincial Superior with the consultative vote of his council and serve a term concomitant with the administration that appointed them.
The Provincial Co-Directors should be one religious member and one lay member.
The Provincial. Co-Directors; .
• Promote Associate groups.
• Recommend to the Provincial Superior, after consultation, a community liaison for Associate groups.
• Monitor the development of appropriate orientation and ongoing renewal programs for all associates on the local and provincial levels.
• Work in close collaboration with the local communities in the development of Associate programs especially with regard to the screening of candidates, their orientation, and their covenant agreements.
• Assure communication between the Associate program and the professed community of the Province.
• Bring local community leaders and representatives together to share concerns, evaluate the Association programs, and to plan for future development
• Promote and assist the formation of new local Associate groups
2. PROVINCIAL ASSOCIATE BOARD
The Board should consist of five lay associates and two professed La Salettes. This number includes two Co-Directors. The Board will nominate new members.
The Provincial Associate board works closely with the Co-directors:
• The Board serves as arbitrator in difficult cases
• The Board develops and refines the leadership training curriculum
• The Board develops and refines the orientation and formation programs
• The Board promotes the Associate program in the community of Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette
• The Board consults with the local leaders and groups as needed
• When new groups are surfacing the Board is responsible for the basic orientation and formation program oversee the election of leaders, and assists the group to develop local guidelines.
c) Term of Office
The term of office for Board members will be 3 years. Members may serve an unlimited number of terms.
The Board coordinates its efforts, where necessary, with other Provincial Commissions and meets annually with the Provincial Administration.
e) Chapter Report
The Board presents a report to the Province on the occasion of a regular Chapter of Elections for information purposes and it presents chapter proposals in its area of competence when and if necessary
3. LOCAL LEADERSHIP
The local leadership consists of two members (religious or lay) elected by the local group according to the local guidelines and approved by the Provincial Associate Board
The local leadership assures the development, implementation, and nurturance of the Lay Associate program on the local level as well as;
• Determines the acceptability of applicants to the local program
• Leads the applicant through the orientation as described in the guidelines
• Assures the mediation between the candidate and the local community
• Supervises the candidates' formation period according to guidelines.
• Assures the proper preparation of the necessary documentation for the candidate's covenant.
• Attends leadership training sessions as provided by the Provincial Associate Board
4. LASALETTE LIAISON
A professed member of the Mary Mother of the Americas will be the liaison for each local Associate group. The person for this position will be suggested by the local group, approved by the board, and appointed by the Provincial.
His responsibilities include:
1. Fosters communication and a healthy relationship between the Associate group and the La Salette community
2. Along with the local leaders interviews and promotes the discernment process for all Associate candidates
3. Assists with the orientation and formation program for all Associate candidates
4. Along with the local leaders plans meeting agendas and develops programs and activities for the group.