The FMM Associates (known under different names according to the country) are lay persons who commit themselves to deepen their faith and to witness to the Gospel according to the spirituality of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, and to share with the community the Eucharistic, Marian and missionary charism of the Foundress, Mary of the Passion, in the manner of Francis and of Clare of Assisi.
How did this begin?
A glance at the past: Almost since the foundation of the Institute, Mary of the Passion thought of welcoming at the heart of her religious family, FMM lay persons of good will, desirous of participating in the missionary work of the Institute. In 1896, Mary of the Passion wrote to her community:
«It would be useful to the cause of the Church if Mary also had
her missionaries in the world, Little by little this will come.»
The seed had been thrown in the earth.
The research, the collaboration with the laity, the initiatives begun by Mary of the Passion were bases on which would be founded, in 1882, the FMM Aggregates and, a long time later, after Vatican Council II, the Associates of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.
Aware of the importance of collaboration and association with the laity, Mary of the Passion, in 1889, had even drawn up the Directives of the Aggregates of the Institute of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, which would be approved by the Minister General of the Friars Minor.
Today, the project of the Lay Associates of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary – such as we know it – is the fruit of calls of the Church since Vatican Council II and of several mature reflections at the time of the General Chapters of 1990 and following. The first group of FMM Associates was born in 1992 in Canada.
Who are they? They are men, women and young people who desire to know the life and spirituality of Blessed Mary of the Passion and the work of the FMM Institute, while deepening their faith and their vocation.
This family, which at present is in several countries where the FMM are present, have objectives which vary according to the countries and according to the commitments of each group, but the essential remains the same.