Sharing the life and spirituality of the brothers
In the Netherlands, the congregation has offered the possibility of a far-reaching form of participation by associate membership since the late 1990s. Associate members are people who share our lives without becoming a brother. They long for a religious life, but they shape it in their own way and in their own context, for example in their work or family. The spirituality of mercy and brotherhood of the Brothers CMM is the starting point. In addition, an associate member shares in the mission of the congregation by committing himself or herself to a certain work, and is connected with a community. There are currently nine associate members in the Dutch CMM province.
People who are interested in an associate membership are offered a formation period of approximately one year. During this formation period, they focus on their faith and personal contacts within the brothers’ community. The aim is to become familiar with our lifestyle and gain practical experience in one or more of our activities.
In the beginning, a prospective associate member is mainly in contact with one specific community. The superior of this community is responsible for the formation of the prospective member, in consultation with the provincial superior.
Associate membership is a formal bond with our congregation. A request for associate membership is addressed to the provincial superior, who will discuss this request with the General Board. The superior general, on behalf of the congregation, finally takes the decision to make associate membership possible. The commitment takes place in a liturgical celebration, and acceptance is recorded in a deed.
In their commitment, the associate members do not make the three vows as the brothers do (obedience, chastity, poverty). However, we do expect them to live from the same basic Christian attitude of attention, dedication, and simplicity; that they have an open and listening attitude towards the other and are willing to respond to the questions of that other person and of the community.
Currently, the official associated membership of the congregation only exists in the Netherlands. In the other areas of the congregation, the possibility of official association does not yet exist, but is being investigated.