Brazil Embraces Our Lady's Teams

Leaders of a Movement for Married Couples Speak on Couple Spirituality

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

By Severine Jahan

ROME, JULY 25, 2012 ( The 11th International Meeting of the Teams of Our Lady is taking place in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, through Thursday with the theme Dare the Gospel. Close to 7,800 members of it, from more than 50 countries, are gathered.

Zenit interviewed spouses Francoise and Remi Gaussel, leaders of the Movement of Conjugal Spirituality for France, Luxembourg and Switzerland, who spoke about the Movement’s vocation, its organization and spread, and also the meaning of the gathering in Brazil.

ZENIT: How was the Movement of the Teams of Our Lady born and what are its principles?

The Gaussels: The Teams of Our Lady is an international Catholic movement that brings together 55,000 married couples who wish to live fully the riches of their sacrament of marriage.

The Movement was born at the initiative of Father Henri Caffarel (1903-1996), our founder, who consecrated his mission to highlighting the love of God inherent in the sacrament of marriage. The essence of the Movement is based on the conviction that marriage is at the service of love and is its greatest guarantee; that marriage and the family are natural places of happiness and, finally, that marriage is a way of sanctity.

Hence the Movement is open to couples united in the sacrament of marriage who wish to grow spiritually as a couple, with the support of a team made up of five couples and a spiritual adviser, using the methodology developed by Father Caffarel.

ZENIT: Why organize in teams?

The Gaussels: Our members are aware of their limitations and are convinced that working as a team enables them to overcome more easily obstacles and to go forward.

The teams function as small cells of the Church. They are subdivided in 18 regions and super-regions. Every super-region is equipped with a collegial structure led by a couple and a spiritual adviser. The first international gatherings were held in Lourdes in 1954, Rome in 1959, and Lourdes again in 1965.

Lourdes placed our Movement under the maternal protection of Mary, because, during the first meeting, the Pope proclaimed 1954 as a Marian Year, celebrating the centenary of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Thus, we can count on her intercession in a particular way.

The third gathering at Lourdes made it possible to “make the Gospel the fundamental charter of our homes.”

ZENIT: What spiritual path does your Movement offer couples?

The Gaussels: Father Caffarel, described by Cardinal Lustiger as a “prophet of our time,” invited couples united by the sacrament of marriage and desirous of obtaining the graces that derive from it, to have an appropriate pedagogy to help them to “follow Christ”. For them it is about tending ever to a more evangelical style of life. Thus, a Team of Our Lady constitutes a small community that meets “in the name of Jesus.” Its role is to help its members to progress in the love of God and of their neighbor.

ZENIT: Can it be said that this way is universal?

The Gaussels: Yes, it is a universal way, in as much as it is a way already proposed to every baptized soul. A Christian couple is moreover a witness of the love of God through the sacrament of marriage; hence it must have at heart to make this love of Him shine, above all because we live in a world in search of examples, in a world in which our Pope Benedict XVI exhorts us to promote around us “a New Evangelization.”

The Teams of Our Lady are very integrated in the life of the Church: around 80% of the members are involved in the life of their parish or diocese.

The Movement has met several times with the Pope on the occasion of gatherings in Rome: with Paul VI in 1970 and 1976, and John Paul II in 1982 and 2003. We were recognized by the Vatican as an international Catholic association in 1975 and as an international association of faithful of pontifical right on April 19, 1992, by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

ZENIT: The great international gathering of the Teams is taking place in Brasilia from July 21-26. What is the meaning of this meeting? How and by whom was it organized?

The Gaussels: The gathering was organized by the international team, whose leaders are Carlo and Maria Carla Volpini.

Father Caffarel regarded the gatherings as “an occasion for a pause; a pause to think, to reflect and to discern.” However, it is of fundamental importance – both for the Movement as well as the individual members – to concentrate and foster in certain moments a reflection on their vocation. In each of these gatherings, we make an effort to increase our awareness of the vocation of our Movement and its mission in the Church.

It is also an occasion to share our joy of living the Good News of marriage and our missionary role in today’s world. Moreover the topic chosen for this gathering is Dare the Gospel and the theme over these five days will be the parable of the Good Samaritan. Father Caffarel did not want an exclusively individual sanctification or of couples. The Teams are for the world. To dare to live of God, the courage to go to Him, this is the challenge of our Christian life.

ZENIT: Why was Brazil chosen after ten European gatherings?

The Gaussels: This meeting in Brazil shows the importance of internationalism for the members, because it is they who, through the voice of their representatives, have chosen to go to pray with couples form all over the world in a young country, full of enthusiasm and in profound listening to Christ. God has an important post in their daily life and the Teams are in full expansion. The youth of the Church, the renewal of the Spirit, the strong conversion required of us to return to the roots of our faith, we must seek these today outside of this old Europe which manifests all its limitations and fragility.

ZENIT: What will be the fruits of this gathering and what hope do you have for the Teams of Our Lady?

The Gaussels: The cause of marriage and the family is a cause that involves the whole of humanity. We hope that this meeting will stimulate our wish to give witness that marriage and the family are, more than ever today, paths of happiness on the condition that there is the will on our part and that we procure the ideal means to follow this life.

As Father Epis wrote, spiritual adviser of the international team: “A family that bears in itself, in its style of life, the imprint of the relationship with the Lord Jesus and of his Gospel is a ‘new song,’ a symphony that kindles hope.”

[Translation by ZENIT]

— — —

On the Net:
Teams of Our Lady:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation