“My dear Lay MC’s, keep the joy of loving Jesus in your heart and share this joy with all you meet. Make a strong resolution, ‘I will, I want, with God's blessing, be holy.’ This will help you to satiate the thirst of Jesus for love for souls.” (Mother Teresa of Calcutta)
The movement known as the Lay Missionaries of Charity (LMC) is an international movement of the laity, married or single, who adhere to the spirit and charism of the MC Family and make private vows of chastity (conjugal), poverty, obedience and the fourth vow of wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor – beginning with the members of their own family.
On 16 April 1984 four lay persons made private vows in the presence of Mother Teresa in the Chapel of the Missionaries of Charity Contemplative Brothers in Rome. They had been associated with their life of prayer, penance and works of mercy for several years and then had studied the document “Familiaris Consortio” for about two years.
The movement was approved on 25 February 1987 by the Diocese of Rome. Thanks to God’s grace, the movement grew quite rapidly and spread to various countries in Europe, North, Central and South America. Its statutes have been translated into over 15 languages.
Remaining in the heart of the world, the LMCs’ purpose is to sanctify themselves and their own families, by consecrating themselves, their families and the world itself to God: everywhere offering worship by the holiness of their lives expressed through prayer, penance and works of mercy, after the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth.
The special mission of the LMCs is to work for the salvation and the sanctification of the members of their own families and of the poorest of the poor of the whole world:
• with their constant effort to transform their own families into true sanctuaries of love by means of family prayer, dialogue, sharing and service;
• doing ordinary little things with extraordinary love, for the greater glory of God;
• living a life of prayer, penance and service, marked by simplicity, humility, and the practice of the Gospel teachings; loving and adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament;
• with their consecrated presence in the heart of the world;
• loving and serving Jesus hidden under the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor;
• giving material help according to their own means and spiritual comfort to all those who are in need;
• sharing, as far as possible, the work and the life of the Missionaries of Charity;
• accepting with joy their own sufferings and offering them to the Lord in total surrender, loving trust and cheerfulness.
WAY OF LIFE:
Those interested in joining the LMCs have a “Come and See” experience, i.e. a time to frequent an LMC group on a regular basis, to read, study and reflect on the statutes, and to come in touch with the group’s spiritual director and, if possible, the Missionaries of Charity. At the end the of the “Come and See” period, the candidate, after consulting with the spiritual director, may begin the year of formation in preparation for first vows.
The sign of the LMC’s consecration is a simple crucifix which he or she receives at the beginning of the period of formation, to be worn over the heart or around the neck, and a larger crucifix is given at the time of first profession. The mode of dress is simple and dignified: a sign of the dedication to serving the poorest of the poor and an example of modesty for all.
The LMCs have spiritual directors and lay “links” on the local, national, and international levels. Each local LMC group meets once a week as a rule or if this is not possible, once every two weeks. National meetings are held once a year, if possible, and international meetings are held once every 4 or 5 years.
There is a small LMC prayer book and also many pray the Liturgy of the Hours daily, at least Lauds and Vespers.