A congregation for the youth
SJM - Servi Jesu et Mariae
SJM- where are we from and what is our purpose?
Our community was acknowledged as a Congregation of Pontifical Right in 1994 and is called the Servi Jesu et Mariae (SJM). We call ourselves the Servants of Jesus and Mary as we wish to dedicate our lives in a special way to the service of God and his holy Mother. The first members of the SJM when it was founded in 1988 saw their apostolic task as being totally available for service to young people. A focal point of this work was apostolic work in the Scout Movement and group work in the Catholic Scout Movement of Europe (Katholische Pfadfinderschaft Europas - KPE).
"To the Greater Glory of God"- this was the motto of Saint Ignatius of Loyola under whose rules we try to live - this is the programme of our apostolate and our spirituality. In this sense, our congregation is to be seen as a community of people in Holy Orders, brothers and priests with a missionary zeal, who make the center of their lives the spreading of the word of God. Shaped by the spirit of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, we would like to carry Christ’s banner into the world and thereby bring young people back to the church. In this sense, we understand life according evangelical precepts as a reply to the call of Christ the King, who calls upon us to follow him in good spirits and to live, in even greater freedom, for Him and His Kingdom completely.
A Life in accordance with the Gospel
All members of the SJM therefore make three vows: poverty, chastity and obedience, in order to bind themselves even closer to Christ in the service for His church.
In poverty, there is a link between a simple modest life style and a certain adventurous and pioneering spirit, which demands from us to seek again and again new shores and even to disregard our conveniences and to go everywhere, where we could hope for the honour of God, as it is written in our Rule. Poverty means, with this in mind, above all mobility and freedom for service to the benefit of souls. In the context of the scout movement, this means the readiness to be able to renounce the comforts of the consumer market and to share a simple life in nature with the boys and girls entrusted to us.
Even if the vow of chastity does not need to be explained any further, it is nevertheless, of central importance, as it links us in a special way even closer to Christ.
Obedience binds us to a special loyalty towards the Pope and the Magisterium of the Church. We see the Bishop of Rome as Christ’s Vicar on earth, who guarantees Church’s unity and who is the Rock to which we must hold firm. It is for this reason that the members of the SJM endeavour "to live in special loyalty to the Pope and his supreme Magisterium, in order to prove themselves as precious members in the preservation of Church unity and the purity of the faith" (from the Pontifical Foundation Decree). Concretely this means, that we are to give obedience to the superiors in all things which are not sin.
Our Prayer life
According to the model of the Jesuit Order, our community does not have common prayer in choir, so that they can be freer and more mobile for their apostolate. For this reason, it is even more important for each individual member to have a deep inner life of prayer, at whose centre there is the Eucharist, and which is seen in a frequent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. We have one hour of contemplation and inner prayer daily, which is referred to by St. Theresa as "a dwelling with a friend", in order to get to know Christ better so that we can love Him even more. A successful apostolate is only possible if we do this!
Over and above this, the members of the SJM pray a daily rosary together. An important constituent of our Spirituality is the dedication to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, whose servants we wish truly to be. This dedication is renewed daily and lived through by each individual member.
The centre and highlight of the day is the celebration of the Holy Mass - the renewal of celebrating the Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross. This is the reason why the SJM sees in the dignified manner of celebrating Mass in both forms of Roman Rite according to the Missal of 1962 ("extraordinary form") and the Missal of Pope Paul VI ("ordinary form"), an important contribution towards liturgical renewal in the sense of continuous tradition of the Church. We gratefully regard the motu proprio "Summorum Pontificum" of Pope Benedict XVI. as most high approval of "our line".
How many are we? And what do we do?
At this point in time our Congregation has about 50 members, of which about 25 are priests. We are working in several parishes in the German speaking area, but do not limit our apostolate to this countries; we are currently also active in Kazakhstan, Rumania and in France. Besides the pastoral care of souls in parishes, we also offer retreats, religious training groups and catechism. We are especially concerned with children and youth work. Those who know young people will understand how many tasks exist in this area. We run a boarding school and are engaged in the group work of the Catholic Scout Movement of Europe. We do not shy away from facing questions from young people who we meet in sports fields, in schools or parties and elsewhere.Over and above that, some individual members are engaged in the protection of unborn life and work in the press apostolate and in philosophical and theological teaching activities.