In the Institute, no allowance is made for common life as understood by traditional religious communities. Each member of the Institute lives in the milieu where he works or with his family, as secular consecration demands. Therefore, in order to learn how to live as Church and as Voluntas, members and those aspiring to membership are grouped together in teams. This is compulsory.
Guided by a Team Facilitator, Voluntas from the same region meet regularly in order to pray together, celebrate together, share the Word of God, fraternize, and enrich one another with their human, Christian, and apostolic experiences.
The team is the privileged place for forming, helping, forgiving, and loving one another, everything being done in the spirit of healthy emulation propounded by Saint Paul. If our Institute must be a 'laboratory for the Church,' local teams are the small laboratories of our Institute. Their quality assures the Institute its dynamic vitality.
The team is the center of formation for a member of the Institute; this implies that the member is faithful to his/her team meetings so as to profit from the formation given. The life of the Institute is learned within the team; the team is the locus where one gets to know others and enter into fellowship with them.
- The behavior of older team members towards newcomers and aspirants is important. The example of their life is essential as they show maturity in their way of acting and show respect to the Institute and others.
- The team should have a certain amount of stability in order to facilitate the formation of non-professed members and the growth of those already professed. This will allow a continuous formation program. We must build upon solid foundations.
- The Team Facilitator has an important role to play in the formation of his team members ...(from: 'Reflection of the (1977) Intermediate Assembly on the Formation Process of members of the Voluntas Dei Institute).
"Without an alert and lively team, Voluntas Dei life is utopian. When a member no longer feels the need for a team or does not consider team meetings a priority, the link which ties him/her to the Institute becomes no more than a principle repressed in the subconscious. In order to give new vitality to one's attachment to a group, we must sometimes rejuvenate or recharge our motivation. Everything on earth is relative and its only worth lies in the value of our motivation towards it. In order to be a living link and not a mere theory, our belonging to the Institute must originate from a renewed motivation sustained with zeal and perseverance."
[Louis Marie Parent, in ‘Batir la Paix,' No. 38, p. 23]
“When I founded the Institutes (viz., Oblate Missionaries of Mary Immaculate for women and Voluntas Dei Institute) I had but one thing in mind: to be a force within the Church by our understanding and by the total giving of ourselves. This gift of self was to be developed through cultivating every day the 'Five Spiritual Attitudes.' This 'spirituality of the Three Fives' was to be lived out within the team, in order to become polished. In the team I visualize the family laboratory where one is formed. In a family, we love, we fight amongst ourselves and tolerate one another: we don't always agree with one another, we accuse and excuse one another, we forgive one another, there isn't any talk of resigning from the family, we form one another, we learn to help one another, to share, to forget oneself, to welcome and respect one another.”
[Louis Marie Parent, 2 February, 1979].