Equipes Notre Dame was founded in France in the 1950s to strengthen the sacrament of marriage for its members, using the methods handed down by our founder, Fr Henri Caffarel.  It has been operating in Ireland for over 50 years. Our Movement is very much in line with the methods and approach recommended by Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia (AL)[1] where he states that ’we cannot encourage a path of fidelity and mutual self- giving (in marriage and the family) without encouraging the growth, strengthening and deepening of conjugal and family love’ (89).

Members of Equipes Notre-Dame unite and place themselves under the patronage of Mary, the Mother of God, in bearing witness to the richness of the sacrament of marriage and their Christian married spirituality. Membership essentially involves committing to ‘endeavours’ in our relationships with each other as husband and wife, with our families and with God. In striving to meet these commitments we receive and give support to the other couples and chaplain in our Team, and the wider Equipes Notre- Dame movement in our sector, in Ireland and worldwide.

Endeavours’: In our daily lives we endeavour to take on ‘concrete points of effort’ and to  progressively incorporate them into our lives. We have come to call these ‘endeavours’. They are at the core of our movement and are as follows:

Couple relationship: We (each couple) choose a period at least once a month to share our thoughts and feelings on our relationship as husband and wife and on the ups and downs of our lives together. We call it a ‘sit down’. It is a quiet, much valued time to come together in a calm and relaxed atmosphere in the presence of God to talk and to listen to each other. It involves the type of ‘dialogue’ which Pope Francis recommends in AL (136 to 141)  as  ‘essential for experiencing, expressing and fostering love in marriage and family life’.

Relationship with God: Pope Francis states in AL that ‘ The Lord’s presence dwells in real and concrete families, with all their daily troubles and struggles, joys and hopes’ (315).  In Teams, three of our ‘endeavours’ are devoted to enabling us to strengthen our relationship with God in our marriage and our family life and foster our awareness of his presence. These are:

Personal Prayer: Turning to God daily in personal prayer;

Conjugal Prayer: Praying together daily as a couple, and with other family members, as possible;

Word of God:  Listening to God’s Word each day at a time that best fits into our daily routine and preferably in a quiet place. Vatican II states that ‘prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that God and the person may talk together; for ‘we speak to him when we pray; we hear him when we read the divine sayings’. (Dei Verbum 25).

Teams Retreat – If at all possible we endeavour to go on a one day retreat as a couple once a year with other Team couples in our Sector, which offers the rest, renewal and readiness to face again the challenges of life

Rule of Life: This encourages us to choose some specific point of personal behaviour or challenge and to endeavour to change it.


[1] Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia, The Joy of Love, Apostolic Exhortation on Love in the Family. (Referred to as ‘AL’ for the sake of brevity in some places in the text)