The spirituality of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers is unique since it is profoundly missionary. Maryknoll is not a religious community but a Society of Apostolic life. This is important and not just a technicality because it changes the whole focus of spirituality. For Religious who live a vowed life, the role of the community is crucial; almost an end in itself. It is at least an all embracing focus. However, the focus of Maryknoll is mission and the community is a means to that end. In the oath that Maryknollers profess, they dedicate themselves "to the work of the missions (prime place) committed or to be committed to the Society" (second place). In other words, Maryknoll spirituality is fundamentally mission centered.
Mission spirituality cannot be separated from the people to whom a missioner is sent. It always requires a deep personal encounter with the Lord Jesus, an encounter however which is never private. Fueled by zeal, mission spirituality is dynamic. It engages the host culture through respect and dialogue. It is primarily a profession of how life is lived, always drawing a missioner closer to the people whom he serves, never being unapproachable because of his vocation.
Maryknoll mission spirituality has several distinguishing elements. First of all it is founded in a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus, a deep faith commitment which is expressed in love and manifested in compassion for all. Secondly it is grounded in fidelity to the Church and her fundamental option for the poor. Mission spirituality advocates for a just society where all of God’s children live in peace.
In order to live an authentic mission spirituality, Maryknoll missioners are challenged to be stewards of the gospel, living lives of simplicity and humility. In their zeal, they do not bring answers, but rather dedicate themselves to listening, learning, respecting, challenging. Through commitment to dialogue, mutual sharing, and collaborative praying they strive to forge solidarity with the people to whom they are sent. It is when they are accepted and trusted by the people that they can truly share the depth of their passion for God’s word and sacraments.