IMS General Assembly 2020
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the IMS General Assembly was organised as a residual Assembly which allowed delegates to vote…
The General Section of the IMS manages 242 member groups, including the 8,500 men religious, women religious and priests (as well as a small minority of committed laity and children, within the associations of the faithful) residing in134 countries. The communities generally choose to be attached to the General Section when the Superior is in France / Europe, or far from the offices of the other Sections.
Mr Sacheli is in charge of the General Section, while Mr Colasse is responsible for its management, with his team composed of Ms Correia and Ms Cote (both of whom process the healthcare invoices) and Ms Lopez (membership / contributions).
The General Section serves the groups. Each Group manager knows that they can rely on a response from the IMS administrators, regardless of the channel used.
Group manager and member of the Steering committee
As IMS Group manager for the Congregation, I regularly deal with the General Section. I already knew the Association, through having been a beneficiary member during my 30-year mission in Senegal.
For the procedures relating to membership, contributions and the submission of requests for assistance, I am supported by Ms Marie Victoire and her 10 years of experience. She is able to communicate with the Fathers who are the furthest away, using the current technologies, which allow for rapid processing of the cases and thus assistance being obtained relatively quickly. The Spiritan members of the IMS can thus receive better healthcare in many African countries, but also in Asia and America.
I emphasise the personal nature of the relationship with the IMS; unlike many health insurance contracts offered elsewhere, the quality of the exchanges is particularly appreciable.
Finally, I would recommend to the IMS Groups that they use the Social Fund when necessary; through this mechanism, a few particularly expensive cases have received exceptional additional aid, particularly for medical evacuations.
The Community du Chemin Neuf has chosen to use the services of the IMS where there is no local healthcare cover or when members travel. In this respect, the Association facilitates the evangelisation mission of the Community, like religious institutes, while assisting the dioceses.
Our communities in different countries are familiar with the services of the IMS from their houses, in particular in Poland, the Czech Republic, the FRG, the DRC, Chad, Madagascar, Mauritius, the Philippines and Brazil. The priests, consecrated laity, single and with families can count on Sister Véronique Morin and myself, who are respectively in charge of the healthcare invoices and assistance from Lyon (France).
I appreciate the “solidarity between religious communities” that the IMS allows, and I also emphasise the “knowledge of the specificity of missionary life”, a key strength of the Association.
In practical terms, the speed and flexibility in handling IMS cases are very appreciable, especially since electronic communications have become widespread since early 2020.
A network of hospitals is in place within the IMS which will grow as we wish, with easy access and negotiated rates.
My Institute, the Society of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, has about 1,100 members and, at an international session of of the Provincial Superiors with the Provincial Bursars, in 2019, I had the opportunity to highlight our duty to ensure that all the Daughters of the Heart of Mary benefit from healthcare cover, wherever they are. I emphasised that “health insurance is not a luxury” and that this attention to our sisters is our responsibility.
Sometimes, Daughters of the Heart of Mary cannot benefit from local health insurance (because it does not exist or is incomplete) and in this case we offer to enrol them with the IMS. This is also the case for those whose mission means they have to move from one country to another!
Today, DHMs enrolled with the IMS are on mission in Kenya, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Germany, Argentina, and within the last foundation, in Haiti.
Membership of the IMS is a way for us, Daughters of the Heart of Mary, to enact this attention to our fellow sisters, often also the poorest, and to exercise mutual assistance, at the very least between us, while facilitating each person’s mission.
The proximity and speed of email/phone responses of the IMS’ administrators are advantages for me, as too is the principle of sending files electronically, which is faster and less expensive.