gift + charism + service


"There are many different gifts but it is always the same Spirit there are many different ways of serving but it is always the same Lord. There are many different forms of activity but in everybody it is the same God who works in them all." (1 Cor. 12, 4-6)

A charism (plural: charismata. From the Greek, charis - grace the divine influence on the receiver's heart, and its reflection in his or her life.) is a power, generally of a spiritual nature, believed to be a freely given gift by the grace of God.

In the study of church matters, it also refers to the particular grace granted by God to religious founders and their organization which distinguish them from other organizations within the same church. The term is used in this sense especially in the ecclesiology of Catholicism.

In the writings of St. Paul the term charism has a double meaning. In the broad sense it designates the "gift" of Christian life in general received at baptism. In the strict sense it means a particular, specific "gift" received by individuals or groups for the service and building up of the Christian community. It is in this latter sense that we speak of the charism of religious families, each of which has received from the Spirit through its founder a particular charism to realize a specific mission in the Church. In the history of salvation God has a loving design for each religious family that gives it its reason for existing, its identity and proper mission. This does not, however, reduce it to a mere instrument, pre-determined for a divine strategy. The "charism" of religious life is not a rigid structure or programme but a spiritual energy from the Spirit, a power of life to be communicated. It is a dynamic force that incorporates religious men and women into a family gifted with a "charismatic mission". That is why a founder's charism can never be identified with his or her "works" that are marked by the needs of the founding period. A charism is a living gift, a breath of the creator Spirit at the service of a dynamic history that is never simple repetition of the past. This life power, this spiritual energy should constantly be incarnated in and adapted to the times and places, to the socio-cultural contexts and the needs of people everywhere.

Charism: A Special Blessing in the Church.

Each religious community is a special blessing in our church, with its particular mission, spirituality, and flavor. Religious communities share so much in common with each other, and yet, each one has its own unique spirit or 'charism'. All communities are called to manifest the Gospel to our church and world, but the Holy Spirit has led each one to grow in its own unique way in reflecting Jesus' Good News. Hand in hand with your outer journey exploring various religious communities, will be your inner journey of identifying your own unique spirit. When you find the community you feel especially drawn to, you will have found something of yourself. You see, the spirit of those community members is the same spirit that has been present within you all through your life. At a certain point, you will know that your discernment journey has reached a conclusion when you, through your sense of joy and peace, recognize a 'kinship in grace' with one particular community.

A Biblical Approach to Understanding and Applying that with which God has Called and Gifted You!

What Direction are you going?

The word, Spiritual Gift, comes from the Greek phrase chrismata or sometimes referred to as Charisma, and is defined as, "a gift of grace." This means we, as Christians, are given a "favor" or a "special gift" to do the work of ministry on behalf of, and empowered by, our Lord Jesus Christ. In ancient Greek, it was a phrase that a conquering general, giving a gift to the people he had just conquered as a symbol of their dependence upon the conqueror, would use. We are not conquered in spirit, but our Will as a Christian becomes less as He becomes more. Thus, Gifts are also a reminder of our dependence upon Christ as Lord.

It is each Believer’s responsibility to find, develop, and exercise the Gifts given to him/her!

Some of the Gifts include leadership, teaching, pastoral care, mercy, giving... there are many of them! How we are to behave and interact with one another is governed by the Spirit working through each of us with these Gifts. We must acknowledge our role in the Body there are no lone wolves in Christ! We have a duty to fulfill, and a role to play. When we refuse to find and use our Gifts, we not only hurt ourselves, but each other and our Lord! The Church is greatly diminished, the work of the Lord given to us is left undone, and opportunities are missed!

Your charism is a true gift that the Holy Spirit has given to each one of you personally so that you can serve the Church. God has given you this gift so that each one of you can reflect his light. That is why the charism is both a gift and a responsibility.



Dear friends, dear Order of the Most Holy Mary Theotokos members, always grow in your love for Christ, your apostolic drive, and the practice of charity, which is your charism....the charism of the Order. The Church needs these traits.

The Order of the Most Holy Mary Theotokos (The Benedictines of Mary, Old Catholic Marianists) is an international religious order of brothers, sisters, and priests.

The Order is distinguished by certain charisms, or gifts given by God for the benefit of the Christian community. These charisms guide all Marianist ministries and programs:

People of faith.

As spiritual individuals, Marianists carry out God's will in their service to others.

Followers of Mary.

Marianists view Mary as the model of discipleship. Just as Mary gave birth to Jesus, Marianists seek to bring the presence of Jesus to life within themselves and others.

People of community.

Marianists believe that living, praying and supporting one another in community enriches their faith and strengthens their ability to meet world challenges.

Discipleship of equals.

Brothers, sisters, and priests share equal status within the Order of the Most Holy Mary Theotokos.

Leaders in mission.

The Marianist mission is to bring Christ to the world and to work for the coming of His kingdom.

"Benedictines of Mary, Old Catholic Marianists" strive to be like Mary – and professed religious Marianists take a vow of stability, which reflects their special devotion to her strength, grace, and spirituality. Our charism is described in more detail below:

1. A charism based on a solid spirituality.

• Love as the center

LOVE is at the very center of our charism. It is the center of Christianity. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. Therefore our charism places us at the very heart of Christianity. For us, to be a Christian means to contemplate the Christ who gave his entire life for us. With this conviction and certainty, it means responding to God's love through our daily self-giving and our apostolic work. In other words, it means that we share our Founder's spiritual experience.

In our apostolates, we continue to work closely with the local churches, the parish priests, the bishops, and the religious. The Church is our home. May the Church always be the environment where we work and give ourselves.

2. A missionary, apostolic lifestyle.

• Preaching Christ

We feel the need to proclaim the Gospel, and we are not afraid to make sacrifices to do so.

But perhaps what is most impressive and also inspires most hope – given the deChristianization of the West and the need for a New Evangelization – is that the work of the Order is to spread the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ, which has been freely bestowed upon us and to witness to the love of God. This witness is nurtured by a life in conversation with God, and is nourished daily by prayer and meditation while living in the secular world. In the name of those souls who await our message, we must never fall victim to human respect, and never get discouraged in the face of the difficulties that are certain to come. We remain faithful to our charism, which is as beautiful as it is difficult to live.

For the Order of the Most Holy Mary Theotokos, the apostolate is not just something we do once in a while, one weekend a month, or one week a year, when we feel like it. It is how we live habitually it is how we are.

Through our personal gifts and possibilities, and working together as a united body, the Order of the Most Holy Mary Theotokos offers the Church a rich array of apostolic initiatives – the list seems inexhaustible, just like the love that inspires our activity, because we draw it from the inexhaustible wellspring of Christ's Heart.

3. A charism called to spread through our growth.

In the Gospel our Lord speaks of the light that should not be put under a bushel basket and the talent that must not be hidden in the ground with the excuse of keeping it safe. Each charism that God gives his Church is a light and a talent. God could save the world without our help, but he wanted to need our help. God could make the Church fulfill its mission without religious communities, but he wanted to create and need them. Here is our responsibility. We are called to be on guard against vanity, and to purify our intentions, while realizing the responsibility that weighs on our shoulders. We have a treasure, not because we deserve it, but because God wants to entrust it to us, and because he also wants many others to receive it through us. "What you have received freely, give freely."

We are not afraid to grow rather, we fear not growing. How much good we will do if we grow! And how much good, sadly, will remain undone if we do not! The Church needs us, and it needs us even stronger and bigger. To be able to carry out our apostolic charism, we must grow.

Grow. Grow in depth and in breadth. To grow in depth means to grow in our knowledge and love for Christ, in our intellectual and apostolic formation, and in the knowledge and command of our charism. To grow in breadth means to grow in numbers, so that through the Order of the Most Holy Mary Theotokos there will be more apostles, more apostolates, and more initiatives at the service of the Church and souls. This is what the Church and the world needs. And it is what each one of us needs if we are not going to disappoint God's plan for our lives.

• To grow in depth

Fruitfulness comes from the spirit. Our Order's prayer commitments set us on a path towards a friendship with Christ that is based on the life of grace, nourished by the sacraments of the Eucharist and confession, and developed in prayer and the effort to live out a fervent charity.

We can't love what we don't know. The more we know God, the more we can love him. Hence the need to grow constantly not only in the knowledge of God that we can acquire in prayer, but also in the knowledge we can acquire by learning our faith more deeply. This is also crucial if we are to be effective apostles in today's world. We have to "give a reason for our faith," as St. Peter says. We have to be light for our brothers and sisters.

Our Community offers many means to stay abreast of the times and to learn how to carry out an apostolate.

And also, to assimilate and get a deeper grasp of our Order's particular charism, we apply what the Church tells the religious: the Founder's interpretation of the charism is the authentic interpretation. So we read, meditate on, and absorb the words of the man God chose to transmit this spirit to us: our Founder. This is the most effective way that God imprints your Order's charism in our conscience, our heart, and our action.

• To grow in breadth

Christ tells us to "Go out to all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation." That is why the Church needs those who are called to the religious life who are committed to the Gospel, focused on charity, with a solid formation rooted in Christ as the supreme ideal, who live deeply united to the Church and the Community. We are not ashamed of the gift God has given us. Rather, we feel indebted to God and responsible for its growth. We know very well that the Order of the Most Holy Mary Theotokos is only one part of God's great plan to transform the world at the beginning of this third millennium of Christianity. Just one part, true, but it's the part that God has put in our hands, and the part for which we are personally responsible.

We live in, and express our charism to, the world by following the pathway to complete holiness of life after the pattern of our Holy Theotokos.

As we set out on this adventure, this impassioned battle to follow Christ we keep our Blessed Mother very close to us. She is a woman with her soul open to God, ready to listen to him in all things. A soul who knows how to fit into God's plans, and who doesn't settle just for fitting God into her plans. Mary gives us a marvelous witness of fidelity and absolute trust in God.

Our charism is inspired by the life and spirituality of our Blessed Virgin Mother. The Mother of us all.

"Our life must be an extension on this earth of Jesus’ life by means of Mary."

"The more we belong to the Immaculate Virgin, the better we will understand and love the Heart of Jesus, God the Father, the Holy Spirit."

And in order that all this may be achieved in the "shortest, safest, easiest" way, as St. Maximillin says, we want to be "instruments," "materials", unobtrusive "nobodies" in the hands of the Immaculate Virgin, our Mother and Queen, consecrated to Her unconditionally, irrevocably, with no limit set, until we reach a perfect union with Jesus.

See the need?

Meet them.

Got the Gifts?

Use them.

Want to lead?

Serve them.

Dear friends, dear Order of the Most Holy Mary Theotokos members, always grow in your love for Christ, your apostolic drive, and the practice of charity, which is your charism....the charism of the Order. The Church needs these traits.


The Order of the Most Holy Mary Theotokos...offering compassion to all God's people through our mission:

Called by Mary to live, to pray, and to serve the Church and the the community which bears her name.