History of Teams Australia
The Teams Movement has been open to couples worldwide since 1939.It assists married couples to grow in their relationship, deepen their faith and forge deep friendships.
- The first team started in Melbourne in 1961. The Movement spread to Brisbane, Adelaide and the ACT over the next decades. It continued to steadily grow and in the mid-90s adopted the name “Teams – A Married Couples Movement’.
- The Oceania Super-Region was formed in 2001 incorporating the Teams of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia and Hong Kong. The Philippines established a Team in 1999. There are five Regions in Australia – Queensland, ACT/NSW, VictoriaEast, VictoriaWest, and South Australia/Northern Territory/Western Australia. Isolated Sectors in New Zealand and the Philippines are liaised with by the Oceania Team.
In Equipes Notre Dame (Teams of Our Lady) International Movement
Beginnings: the most important dates in the history of the Teams of Our Lady.
Other teams formed
Other teams were formed during the second world war. The depth and breadth of their reflection increased.
At the end of this phase, the revue “l’Anneau d’Or” (The Gold Ring) first appeared : it was to make known to numerous couples throughout the world the experience of the little groups and the spirituality which they were developing.
In English speaking countries the movement became known as “Teams of Our Lady”.
Come the end of the war, the groups of couples multiplied. The need for unity and structures, laid down in a “Rule” began to be felt. It led to the drawing up of the “Charter of the Teams of Our Lady”.
Despite its dated wording, this document is still valuable today in that it presents the essential objectives of team members: the wish to live their Christian marriage and deepen their faith with the help of a team.
To this end, the Charter proposed a number of proven means: conjugal and family prayer; regular dialogue in the sight of God as a couple; monthly team meeting to pray and share together; a personal rule of life; a spiritual retreat.
The Teams of Our Lady, now based on the Charter, grew rapidly in France, Belgium and Switzerland. Then they crossed the language barriers and the oceans.
They started in:
Brazil and Luxembourg in 1950;
Mauritius and Senegal in 1953;
Spain and Canada in 1955
England in 1956
Portugal in 1957
Germany and the United States of America in 1958
Austria and Italy in 1959
Australia and Columbia in 1961;
Madagascar and Vietnam in 1962;
Lebanon and Ireland in 1963;
Japan, French-speaking Africa in 1968
India in 1969
The expansion of the Teams of Our Lady beyond France faced the Movement with two options either to become a federation of national movements or to be a single international movement. After reflection, the second option was adopted.
But life does not stop. The Second Vatican Council and the profound transformations of the world and of the Church were a challenge for the Teams of Our Lady. The opportunity for a review and a new start came with a Gathering in Rome in 1970. There, two thousand couples, from twenty three countries, lived five days of fraternal love and had an exceptional spiritual experience. On that occasion, Pope Paul VI solemnly confirmed, in a beautiful address, the fundamental intuition which had been at the start of the first teams : namely that human love is a path to holiness: the couple, privileged image of its Creator, bound by the sacrament of marriage, is the “gentle smiling face of the Church”; from this stems its own vocation and specific witness to the world.
A new phase
In June 1973, a new phase began for the Teams of Our Lady: Their founder, Father Caffarel decided to retire and to make room for a younger team to allow the launching of “a great effort of prayer; of reflection and of transformation to be pursued with a fierce determination to discover the will of God for the Movement and its mission, in faithfulness to the original intuition and with an understanding of the needs of the times”.
In February 1975, the Teams of Our Lady were recognised by Rome as an “International Catholic Association” (Letter of Cardinal Roy, president of the Council of the Laity).
The first task of the new Leading Team was to provide an up-to-date interpretation of the Charter in a brief and compact document entitled: “What is a Team of Our Lady?” which now constitutes a reference document for the teams of the whole world.
A new gathering in Rome, in September 1976, confirmed the spiritual and apostolic direction of the Movement. In his address, Pope Paul VI said to the Teams: “Remain what you chose to be since the beginning…, authentic schools of spirituality for couples…”. And he added in conclusion: “May this pilgrimage… help you to implant in all countries the essential values of marriage and to give rise to families that live by them.”
It was following this gathering that the Teams of our Lady for Young People came into being.
International Leading Team
The Leading Team reflected at length on the evolution of the structures of the Movement in order to respond to its growing intemationalisation. This led it to reaffirm its characteristic as a single international Movement, and to create, at the end of 1985, an International Leading Team that works in close collaboration and in a spirit of collegiality with the Leading Couples of the various countries (Structure of the Movement).
Lourdes (France) 7th International Gathering
Forty years after the introduction of the Charter, the Movement found itself at a decisive turning point in its history. Trying “to discern in greater depth what God expects of the Teams of Our Lady in the years to come’ and, in order ‘to avoid a loss of breath, the force of habit and even getting into a rut”, they invited the Movement “to take a ‘Second Breath’, as all athletes recognise to be indispensable for any sustained effort.
Such a renewal cannot come about without an effort to face the truth, to remain loyal to the original spirit, to be attentive to the needs of the people of God as we approach the second millennium of Christianity and to exercise creativity in responding ever better to these needs”.
“This document is a starting point, a stage on the way, a text of reference and a call to creativity made to the teams of all countries”.
Decree of Recognition
Following the official approach made by the Movement on the 18th of April 1984, Cardinal Pironio, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, signed, on the feast of Easter 1992, the decree recognising the Teams of Our Lady as a “Private Association of the Faithful” and the approval of its Statutes, in accordance with the new Code of Canon Law.
This is in fact the third official approval of the Teams of Our Lady by the Church, the first being that by Cardinal Feltin, Archbishop of Paris, (letter of the 25th of March 1960), the second that of Cardinal Roy, President of the Council of the laity, at Rome (letter of the 18th of February 1975), the Teams of Our Lady being then recognised as an “International Catholic Association”.
Fatima (Portugal) 8th International Gathering
Approximately 5100 members of the Teams of Our Lady, couples and priests spiritual counsellors, from forty different countries of the five continents all met at Fatima. It was the eighth international gathering following those which have taken place every 6 years after the very first held in Lourdes in 1954.
Since the Church has adopted the U.N. proposal that 1994 should be the “Year of the family”, the Teams of Our Lady – a Church movement – wished to associate themselves with this objective by centring their reflection on the theme: “Being a family today in the Church and in the world”. They did so in accordance with their own charisma as a movement of married spirituality, based on the couple that is the “heart” of the family.