The Vincentian Marian Youth (VMY) is the international association of young people that came into being after 1830, when the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Catherine Laboure, who was in the novitiate of the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity at the time. The Virgin Mary presented Her desires to St. Catherine:
“I desire that the Society of the Children of Mary be founded.”
That task was to be fulfilled by confessor of Sister Catherine Fr. Jean Marie Aladel. Also, he was to take up the mission of producing the Miraculous Medal. Young Sister Catherine used often to say:
“The Blessed Virgin wants the Father to found the Society for which She promises many graces. You will be its founder and director.”
The first community emerged in the city of Baune, France, in 1838, and in 1845 the first group was founded in Paris.
Fr. Aladel took care of the formation of young people. He even issued a booklet containing first Statutes and Rules of the Association. In 1847 Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission Fr. Jean Baptiste Etienne reached out to Holy Father Pope Pius X and asked him to approve the Association of the Children of Mary. In the same year the Pope confirmed the Association. In a while the Children of Mary started their activity all over France and in other countries, where the Fathers of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity were carrying out their ministry. The Miraculous Medal and the words engraved on it: “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee“, became the identifying sign of the Children of Mary.
Goal of the Association
To work with the youth and help them strengthen their faith, care for the poor and become as close as possible to Christ, the Virgin Mary, one another and to the poor.
Four peculiarities of the VMY
Right from their Baptism, VMY members should follow Christ and become part of the Church by living responsibly and actively, and by working in unity with the Universal Church, with its pastors, in dioceses and parishes where they are present.
The Association consists of mainly lay young people. It is registered at the Pontifical Council for the Laity among the Associations of the Faithful. This peculiarity drives those who are part of the Association to be active witnesses of Christ in the world, especially amidst the poor, and to be the ones who spread the Kingdom of God.
Mariancharacter. Association members look narrowly at Mary in the Gospels as the example for the faithful and find in Her their inspiration for receiving the presence of God in their lives with faith, listening and fulfilling the Word of God. With the assistance of the Holy Spirit, Mary’s example also inspires and helps them wend their way through life with faith and active charity that leads to justice.
Vincentian spirit. The Association arose within the Family of St. Vincent de Paul. The VMY, inspired by Vincentian charisma, deals with Evangelization and ministry to the poor, which is a remarkable trait of its presence inside the Church. Its members devote themselves to missionary work as one of the integral parts of their charisma that speaks for love of Christ in word and deed. They are always ready to carry out their apostolic ministry amidst young men and women as well as among the poorest persons.
In fact, these last two peculiarities distinguish the VMY from other similar organizations that are present in the Catholic Church. Saint Vincent de Paul teaches us to help the poor, and the Virgin Mary is our tender mother. Both of them teach us special virtues that are supposed to bring us closer to God and make us better persons and more responsible Christians.
VMY these days
These groups are now widely spread all over the world and are present in 65 countries, numbering over 150,000 members.
Thus, Lord’s deed grows and gets stronger, fulfilling the plan and message of the Virgin Mary.