Do we have to share personal / intimate details about ourselves & our marriage?
No. Sharing personal information is always voluntary, this is not an “encounter group.” Over time, the couples in a Team build a level of trust that fosters deeper sharing of their spiritual and practical lives. It is, however, encouraged for each Team member to share on his / her progress with the practice of the endeavours. This is part of the Teams of Our Lady ideal of mutual help
What happens if I don’t like or get along with the people in my Team?
During the initial (piloting) stage, you will get to know the other Team members and begin to put the spiritual endeavours into practice as you learn more about the movement. A couple is free to choose not to make a formal commitment to the Team at the end of piloting. In fact, the couple may choose not to complete piloting after the short initial period of commitment. Liaison couples in its couples.and the Sector team are there to assist if a team experiences difficulty or division among its member couples.
The Endeavours feel overwhelming & the structure sounds rigid. Is there flexibility?
The Endeavours are taught one at a time during piloting. They are a challenge in just the same way that the call to Christian holiness is a challenge. Spiritual growth is a discipline and also a gift from God. The Endeavours leave room for individual styles of prayer and devotion. Even though the team meeting follows a specific structure and format, the Team will develop it’s own personality & charism.
How serious is the commitment to the Team and to the practice of the endeavours?
Serious but not solemn. The Teams commitment is freely undertaken. “No one is forced to join or forced to stay . . . in order to attain the common end, each team member agrees to participate faithfully in accordance with the rules of their community. The endeavours are so named because they are not goals but areas where effort is required throughout the marriage with a constant striving for improvement. Couples will find however that some endeavours are more difficult than others and the monthly discussion within the team can assist.
Can children attend the Team meetings?
Most Teams allow nursing infants but generally children do not attend the monthly Team meeting. The meeting atmosphere should be free of distractions & interruptions. Arrangements for childcare should be made with this in mind. Shared babysitter arrangements generally do not work nor should any of the Team members do the babysitting. Teams of Our Lady is for couples.
Children benefit from their parent’s spiritual growth and as they grow can also become interested in the movement and benefit from social interactions between the Team members. Children are often invited to attend various regional and social events where appropriate facilities are provided.
Do Teams participate in any outreach or community service initiatives?
No. The Teams of Our Lady movement does not have an apostolate as a movement. The movement itself witnesses to the possibilities of Christian marriage and holiness but the actual apostolates are to be undertaken by individual participants as they see fit.
What does the Catholic church think of Teams of Our Lady? Are the materials approved by the Church? Is the movement Orthodox, Conservative or Liberal?
Teams of Our Lady is approved by the Vatican. The movement has a Decree of Recognition issued by the Pontifical Council for the Laity. The founding documents were submitted to the Vatican to obtain approval; The Teams of Our Lady Charter, The “What is Teams of Our Lady” and the “Early Years” study materials. The leadership works to keep in touch with the Bishops and Family Life offices of the dioceses in which Teams are active. The couples in Teams are alike in their desire to grow in married spirituality and they are as varied as the people in the Catholic Church. With its emphasis primarily on the practice of prayer, the movement itself is neither conservative nor liberal. There are over 9,000 priests acting as spiritual counsellors within the movement.
Is Teams of Our Lady good for troubled marriages?
Teams of Our Lady is a movement for solid, sacramental and growing marriages. All marriages struggle at times but Teams is not a movement dedicated or designed for “troubled” marriages. A couple seeking immediate help should not seek this in Teams but there are good programs that support marriages in trouble – such as Retrouvaille.
How did Teams of Our Lady start? Why haven’t I heard of it before?
Teams of Our Lady was born of four couples coming to their Parish Priest (Fr Henri Caffarel) in Paris, France just prior to the second world war and asking how they could improve their marriage spirituality. He suggested that they should journey along the path together, and so the first team was formed.
The “What is Teams of Our Lady?” document states that “Teams of Our Lady, even though not a movement for action, it nevertheless is a movement of active people.” How does this work?
The movement is structured in a way that the wider movement stays in touch with the individual Team. Each couple recognizes that they are part of a the wider movement. The movement organizes large group events at different levels to encourage wide participation and allow Team members to meet couples from other Teams. The Teams responsibility to hospitality is intended to be practiced not only with other Teams of Our Lady members but to the whole world. Accepting positions of responsibility for a period of years can make a couple very active indeed as can the obligations of all couples to share about Teams within their parishes and community.
Is the Teams movement the same as the Christian Family Movement, Renew or the Church of the Home?
Each of these movements has a unique and particular way to enrich the spiritual lives of the participants. Teams of Our Lady is a movement for married couples emphasising their sacramental spirituality. This is accomplished with the mutual help of a Team and concrete / common objectives and practices (The Endeavours).
Is this an intellectual movement?
Fully initiated (confirmed) Christians have a duty to continue to study the faith. Study need not be “intellectual” or boring. The Teams of Our Lady materials primarily focus on married spirituality. Many spiritual books are available for study that are easy to understand, inspirational and practical. Intelligent without being intellectual, you might say. All couples who wish to improve their marriage spirituality during their faith journey are most welcome.
Will I be in a Team with the same people I meet in the information meeting?
Not necessarily. Information meetings are conducted on a regular basis. People interested in Teams of Our Lady attend when they are able to. The Teams are formed when enough couples are interested and the placement may be based on location, age, stage of life, etc.