Statutes of Friends of Bethany of the Sacred Heart

1. Definition

THE FRIENDS OF BETHANY are a movement of Christians who, taking their inspiration from the particular bond of loyal friendship that united Mary, Martha, and Lazarus to Jesus, propose to live their specific vocation within the Church by:

- Consecrating their lives to God Infinite Love, according to the message of St. John; “God is love” (1 Jn 4:16);

- Offering themselves in a special way for the sanctification of priests in order to obtain the spread of the Kingdom of God-Love in the world through the priesthood.

2. This movement unites four branches:





It draws its inspiration from the mission and writings of the Servant of God Mother Louise Margaret Claret de la Touche (+May 14, 1915).

3. Spirit and Goals

The special characteristic of the FRIENDS OF BETHANY is the particular spirit with which they propose to live in the ordinary situations and conditions of life:

- Habitual and explicit faith in God Infinite Love;

- Trusting and peaceful abandon to God and His will, recognized it for what it is, namely, a loving will;

- Devotion to Christ’s priesthood, which expresses itself in a renewed appreciation of the priesthood of the laity and a particular esteem and respect for the ministerial priesthood;

- Prudent cooperation with priests, especially by prayer and a dedication without reserve.

4. Members

Since the movement does not require any specific exterior works, but only that its members live according to a certain spirit that touches the very heart of the Christian faith, it is open to all the laity of whatever age and condition, as well as to non-ordained religious of both sexes, because the spirit of the Friends of Bethany does not inhibit, but rather animates and supports, the particular spirituality of every other institute and association.

5. Admission

A person becomes a Friend of Bethany by expressing his adherence to the spirit of the movement in THE ACT OF ADORATION AND DONATION TO GOD INFINITE LOVE, as it is formulated by the Work. To do this it is necessary to:

- Know and accept the spirit;

- Make the donation to God Infinite Love after an adequate preparation;

- Notify the central secretariat (directly or through a Group).

All the Friends receive the Work’s magazine.

6. Duties

The fundamental obligation of the FRIENDS is to live the spirit of the movement, specifically:

- To meditate on the truths of the faith and the message, “God is Love,” by drawing from Holy Scripture, the magisterium of the Church and the writings of Mother Louise Margaret;

- To renew frequently the Act of Adoration and Donation to God Infinite Love;

- To spread abroad serenity, joy, and trustful abandonment to the Lord, especially in moments of trial and affliction;

- To deepen and make known the spirituality of the priesthood of the laity through a mature devotion to the priesthood of Christ;

- To promote esteem and respect for priests by presenting them as ministers of the love and mercy of the Lord.

And where possible:

- To offer one’s own collaboration with the Work of the priest in the apostolate and in humble services for the Church and the domestic life [of the priest];

- To visit and assist old, sick and solitary priests;

- To promote initiatives of prayer and animation for priestly vocations.

7. Organization

- THE FRIENDS OF BETHANY live the consecration to God Infinite Love, first of all, as individuals. Where there are more Friends, it is good to form a group. Once a group is formed, it notifies the central secretariat.

- Each group chooses an animator to convene the meetings and maintain contact with the Friends and the central secretary’s office.

- If possible, each group has a [priest] Assistant, chosen preferably from among the members of the Priests’ Union and approved by the local bishop.

8. The group of Friends meets periodically to:

- To pray for the reign of God Love, the priesthood, and priestly vocations;

- To meditate on the doctrine and spirit that animates the Work of Infinite Love;

- To study and carry out initiatives for the support of priestly life and ministry.

9. Every group sends an annual report of its activities to the central secretary’s office.

10. The groups of Friends of the same diocese or region keep up contact among themselves and promote, if possible, an annual diocesan or regional meeting of the animators of the groups.

11. The groups of a diocese or region, if they consider it opportune, elect a diocesan/regional delegate to foster exchange between the groups and to maintain contacts with the central secretary’s office.

12. The movement is governed by a Council elected by the outgoing secretary’s office from among the animators of Italy. To these are co-opted the delegates of other nations, but without the obligation to attend meetings.

The Council elects a secretary’s office of three members, which remains in office for five years.

The seat of the secretary’s office is the Mother House of the Work at Bethany of the Sacred Heart in Vische [Italy].

Where more groups exist, it is possible to set up a diocesan or regional secretary’s office.

13. The groups of Friends always work at the various levels in communion with the other three Branches of the Work, all of which will be represented in the same secretary’s office, respectively by a sister, a missionary, and a priest as Assistant.

These are chosen by those responsible.

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