How to join the International Missionary Society

The International Missionary Benefit Society is open to any institute, diocese, association of faithful and other Christian religious communities “…protecting the health of their members”.

It offers the possibility for superiors and bishops to fulfil their canonical obligation, by protecting their members.


Some explanations on membership:

  • The Groups are free to choose their Section of reference subject to certain conditions, such as the language of correspondence, the currency of payment, the facilities offered for transferring the treatment sheets, etc. (see Article 46 of the Internal Rules).
  • Membership is collective: the religious communities undertake to enrol, as beneficiaries, all the persons under their authority.
    As an exception, persons who benefit from sufficient cover for their healthcare costs, either because of where they exercise their mission, or because of their nationality, or because at the same time they have a professional activity which enables them to have access to sufficient cover, should not be enrolled.
  • Membership or cancellation of membership take place per half-year (1 January and 1 July) or exceptionally in the quarter for joining. Any half-year started is due.

The Central Office and the IMS sections  are available to assist the communities in deciding what they wish to do and the procedures they need to take, around a 5-step membership process.


Step 1

The Canonical authority* (or Church leader for non-Catholics) contacts the IMS informing it of its intention to join. It can join a local IMS section or the Central Office.
The initial questions frequently asked by the person in charge are answered in the IMS Service:Services Guide:

  • Where are the IMS Sections located?
  • In each Section, what currencies can I use to pay my contributions and receive assistance?
  • What languages are spoken in each Section?
  • What is each Option (how much are the contributions for which assistance)?
  • What Options are available in different countries?

*Superior General for an Institute, Bishop for a Diocese, Provincial for a Province, Moderator/manager for an Association of the faithful.

Step 2

The Canonical authority designates a Group manager who is the intermediary between the beneficiary members and the reference Section. Their name is indicated on the Group membership form (downloadable from the site).

Their role is paramount:

  • Vigilance regarding the collective enrolment of the members
  • Receipt of calls for contributions from the Section and their payment
  • Information to community members about their IMS rights
  • Centralisation of member invoices, before they are checked and sent to the Section, using the summary statement of expenditure.
  • Receipt of IMS assistance

Step 3

The Canonical Authority lists the members of its community who it will include, by completing the Group membership form which will be sent to the Section together with the bank account details.

Step 4

On receipt of the membership form, the IMS Section creates the Group.

Step 5

In order to finalise enrolment and to benefit from the rights, the Authority receives its call for contributions from the Section. The principle is as follows:

  • a contribution per beneficiary member* (50% in January; 50% in July)
  • a contribution called “effective member” to mark the Group’s membership to the IMS* (50% in January; 50% in July).

*the amounts are listed in the Services Guide.