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Our Charism

"Unity is the sole basis of life, strength, development,

and endurance for any institution"

To Know, Love, & Serve God

According to the Constitutions of the Society of Saint Edmund; “In both our life and our work, we seek to make known the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in whose names the Society was founded.”

One of the more popular questions from the Baltimore Catechism asks, "Why did God make you?" The answer is central to our lives as people of faith, "God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next." This simple statement gives us much to ponder. God created us for the purpose of being happy with him forever in heaven, and we get there by knowing, loving, and serving him in this life. That is our entire purpose. However, we will not willingly serve a God who we do not love, and we will not love a God we do not know.

In order to accomplish our mission then, we first dedicate ourselves to knowing that which we love and serve: the hearts of Jesus and Mary. We find that heart of Jesus most especially in the Eucharist through which we mutually abide with him. In his Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Pope John Paul II said that in order to move deeper into our relationship with Christ in the Eucharist, we would do well to place ourselves in “the school of Mary.” “Mary can guide us towards this most holy sacrament, because she herself has a profound relationship with it” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 53). In our living of the Evangelical Councils of poverty, chastity, and obedience, members of the Society of Saint Edmund consecrate themselves to lives that are always seeking to imitate the Eucharistic Disposition of Mary—mother, model, and exemplar of the Church—as she leads us deeper in love with Jesus, our brother.

Knowing and loving the Lord is the beginning. Our constitutions go on to say, “It belongs to our patrimony as a religious community to be open to the call and the needs of the Church, both universal and local, which we serve through pastoral, educational, and missionary works. Consistent with our history, we must be particularly responsive to the call to minister to those who would otherwise have no one to minister to them” (Constitutions, 3).  

Answering the Call of the Church

At our foundation in France in 1843, our pastoral ministry began with the French Church, which had been decimated by the revolution. We would later answer the needs of the Church to establish educational institutions at every level in multiple countries, assist our local Dioceses in Parochial Ministry, and establish centers of retreat and renewal. We were one of the first faces of the Church at the heart of the Civil Rights Movement, in Selma, Alabama, through our mission there that continues to this day. We are no less relevant in our own time, bringing the Gospel to the front lines in the Opioid Overdose Epidemic that has gripped our own nation through a Recovery Ministry at Enders Island, in Mystic, Connecticut.

In time the Society came to embrace the words of Saint Paul to the people of Ephesus, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). In making this declaration our own, the Society of Saint Edmund has renewed in every generation our commitment to bring the Good News to all God’s people. We likewise look to our future that we may continue to be attentive to the needs of the Church and the world, affirming the commitment made by the Second Vatican Council when it said, “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ” (Gaudium et Spes, 1).
 
Our founders held preaching as the core of their work, and still to this day we embrace this as our fundamental task (Constitutions, 3).  That preaching comes in the pulpit, but most importantly it is found in our living witness. Therefore, in both the ministerial work of the Community, and in our personal journeys toward holiness, we strive to make our lives a living testimony to the Paschal Mystery as the surest way to make that love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary known to all people everywhere.