All over the world, lay people are developing new ways of being and living as Church.  Something amazing is happening: lay people are associating themselves to religions communities to share in their spirituality and in their apos­tolic work.  The women and men associated to our Community are called ASMIC (As­sociates of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception).  In Canada, there are now nearly a hundred of them scat­tered in the different cities of Quebec: Montreal, Laval, Quebec, Joliette, St-Jean, Granby. Through the years, their bonds of solidarity and belonging with our Community have deepened.  They are more and more rooted in the spirituali­ty of missionary thanksgiving, Attentive to their own environments, they live multiple solidarities: family, profession­al, social. They make themselves avail­able to be involved in projects more specifically connected to our missionary reality. With them, a new era of cooperation and commitment opens before us.

A song from the French Canadian singer, Robert Lebel, reads as follows: Let us be what we should be and we will see emerging future buds. Could we not say that the future buds in our Church are the lay associates who have been flocking to religious congregations? These associates link themselves intentionally to the specific spirituality of their particular religious community. It is a spirituality that has fashioned many saints among the vowed members of the congregation.

The MIC international family has been welcoming in its midst men and women who have expressed a desire to learn and know more about the charism of our Foundress, Délia Tétreault, who was declared Venerable by the late Pope John Paul II in  December 1997. Thirty years ago, in Canada, the AsMIC (Associates-Missionaries of the Immaculate Conception) took shape. Since then, the Association has spread in nine other countries, namely: Bolivia, Peru,  Chile, Haiti, Japan, Madagascar, Philippines, Taiwan and Malawi. A total of 511 lay persons are committed to live their lives in a spirit of Thanksgiving. Inspired and encouraged by the local MIC Sisters, these men and women from various cultures discover, question,  share and are enriched by the Marian, Missionary Spirituality of Thanksgiving which our Foundress left us as a legacy. This spirit is a treasure from which we can draw to proclaim the Good  News—the Associates also have a calling to be missionaries. Like Mary of the Visitation, they tell the Good News to their brothers and sisters. Interaction among the AsMIC groups here and abroad has led to enriching experiences.  Between Quebec and Madagascar, Quebec and Haiti, kinship is developing. What joy to become acquainted with other members of the Association and to realize that they all have a common point— the spirituality of Thanksgiving  unites them. Emerging future buds!

Let us be what we should be, let us be a large spiritual family, committed Nuns and Associates here and everywhere in the world. Let us be missionaries who, like their Foundress, are continuously in wonderment: When I stop to think   how much the good Lord has loved me divinely notwithstanding my deep misery, I feel I am the happiest creature in the world! (Délia Tétreault).

By Paulette Gagné, m.i.c.


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