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On Being an Associate of Marie Auxiliatrice

Two longstanding members of the Associates of Marie Auxiliatrice share what this means to them. Eileen who is an active member of the Anglican Church recalls how she came to be an Associate in the Roman Catholic Congregation of Marie Auxiliatrice and Pauline, a founding member of the Huddersfield (England) group, lists some of the benefits she appreciates.

"As an Anglican, finding the Marie Auxiliatrice Congregation was a gift from God. My `spiritual home’ (local Church) was undergoing a ruthless and insensitive reordering and I felt deeply bereaved. Marie Auxiliatrice helped nurse me through this period, gave me love, help in distress and, most of all, spiritual food and encouragement. I decided to set off on an ecumenical spiritual journey which led to a renewal and deepening of my faith.

During this time, through attending the ignatian "one to one retreat" and the "open door retreat", I was drawn to the spirituality of St. Ignatius and was invited to pray each week in the convent chapel, where the Blessed Sacrament was exposed. This led to the desire to become an Associate - almost twenty years ago.

Being an Associate has since been a great and special part of my life. I still remain an Anglican but have the joy of sharing ecumenically, with the fellowship and encouragement of the group meetings, the charism of the Marie Auxiliatrice Congregation and the love of and belonging to an international spiritual family.

The Congregation contimually renews its vocation in the present world, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This I find so progressive.

These years have been wonderful times of sharing. At the times when my faith has been weak, my commitment as an Associate of Marie Auxiliatrice has been my strength."

For Pauline, being an associate has been a source of joy and comfort. She lists what is important and significant for her spiritual journey:

"Feeling part of a global community.

Learning about ignatian spirituality and having discussions with friends.

Fellowship, praying together and sharing problems, hopes and laughter.

Sharing in the celebrations of the Congregation, for example the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Congregation in Paris in 2004.

Hearing the news from the different communities world-wide."

Pauline feels that the Associates are particularly important now in Huddersfield as they have lost their local church and have become part of a larger parish.

She concludes "Basically, I feel that we are a prayer family, here to love and support each other and show that love to our neighbours."