Marian Missionaries Level One (M-1) consists of a community of single men and women who give a year-long commitment to God in Lee, Massachusetts by embracing the Marian Missionary spirituality and mission through an ordered life of community, prayer, formation, and service.
As a mission with a single goal, the Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy is by its nature communal. The more intense communal life of the M-1 serves as a powerful sign and witness to the larger Marian Missionary community of its unity in mission. Moreover, this more intense communal life serves as a concrete, daily challenge to practice the works of mercy where it is often most difficult: at home with the people one lives with daily. Finally, M-1 community life can be a deep source of the joy of the Gospel, because a daily encounter with Christ in his love and mercy comes not only through encounters with Jesus Christ, the Head of the Body, but also through the members of his Body. In other words, it’s through their daily encounter with Divine Mercy in one another that they also experience the joy of the Gospel.
Mary Immaculate is the special mother of each M-1 missionary, and she preserves the bond of unity among them, brings them closer to the love and mercy of her Son, and thereby, is a cause of their joy.
Daily Mass constitutes the center of each missionaries’ prayer life, and their norms of piety include daily meditation/adoration, morning and evening prayer, and spiritual reading. Their manner of prayer includes the following emphases:
- Daily, deliberate encounters with the love and mercy of the Heart of Jesus, through Mary, that fosters the joy of the Gospel.
- Intercessory prayer in accordance with the goal of the mission, that under the generalship of Mary Immaculate, the whole world will come to know and experience the love and mercy of God and that God would “have mercy on us and on the whole world.” This intercessory prayer includes petitions for fellow Marian Missionaries, benefactors, specific projects, and special intentions of the mission.
- Discernment of one’s state in life and/or personal vocation, because each M-1 should be open to doing God’s most perfect will in his or her life.
Generally, the mission requires people of prayer and holiness who have profoundly encountered the love and mercy of Christ through Mary and who are committed to bringing the joy of the Gospel to the world. M-1 missionaries become such people through the process of their formation, which is directed by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, and Fr. James Devine, MIC. Moreover, because the mission requires well-formed missionaries for Level 3 Helpers, M-1 missionaries are automatically considered as candidates for Level 3 Helpers upon their completion of their year of service.
The mission requires not just words and prayer but action, specifically the works of mercy. The M-1 missionaries commit themselves to the works of mercy, especially where the need is greatest and most good can be done. Their more intense commitment to the works of mercy thereby serves as a sign to the whole movement of the importance of putting mercy into action, especially to those in greatest need. Also, as instruments in the hands of Mary Immaculate and inspired by the words of Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium, they strive to bring the joy of the Gospel to everyone, that all might encounter the love and mercy of Christ.