Legal Matters

Structure of the Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries

The Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries (also known as Medical Mission Sisters) is an international religious order in the Roman Catholic Church. It is governed by its own constitution and is divided into a number of units in 18 countries in Africa, Asia, East Asia, Europe, South and North America. At present, the Society has a total membership of around 450 professed Sisters from over 20 countries and different cultural contexts, and over 100 lay Associates.

The international headquarters are based in London. The Society is a registered charitable trust in England. All administrative units of the Society located outside the UK as well as their charitable projects are registered in the respective country and comply with the countries’ legislation and regulations.

Governance of the Society

The General Chapter, the highest authority of the order, meets every six years to interpret the Society’s mission in a changing world. It acts as an evaluative, direction-setting and decision-making body and elects the Society Coordinator (referred to in the Trust Deed as ‘Superior General’) and the Society Leadership Team.

Management of the Society

Between General Chapters the Society as a whole is governed by the General Assembly, composed of the Society Coordinator and members of the Society Leadership Team, representing membership of the whole Society.


The Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries - Central Fund is a registered charity No. 1072554. 


The purpose of the charity is to support the worldwide charitable work of the Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries as a religious order. As described in the trust deed, the object is: “for such charitable purposes which advance the religious, medical and other charitable work for the time being carried out by or under the direction of the Central Administration of the order in countries around the world."

The Society ensures that this purpose is carried out for the public benefit as it promotes healing and wholeness in all aspects of life and seeks to preserve the integrity of life and of creation and to act where this integrity is threatened.


In order to advance the religious, medical and other charitable work in today’s context, the Society has identified areas that need development, strengthening, monitoring, support and facilitation in the global context:

  • Support of national, regional and local developments and projects in which members of Society are actively engaged
  • Ongoing prioritisation of activities to ensure vitality, viability and life-giving presence in the light of the emerging needs of mission and changing membership realities
  • Strengthening international collaboration and interdependence among the members in the interest of the sustainability of our worldwide mission
  • Effective linking of activities related to health and healing, justice, peace and integrity of creation across the Society, collaborating with the United Nations and its agencies, members of other churches, and like-minded governmental and non-governmental organisations
  • Promotion of vocations of canonical and associate members, and provision of formation/integration and preparation of new members
  • Education and enhancement of skills of members for effective response to changing needs including strengthening of effective leadership within units and across the Society
  • Appropriate care of the members



Mission Priorities from 2015-2022

These are all aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), interwoven and inter-connected, as follows:

  • Growth in eco-spirituality and advocacy against exploitation of planet Earth;
  • Mega-migration and urbanisation - Be welcoming communities in response to the needs of refugees and those made poor in urban areas;
  • Emerging health needs - Enhance health and well-being at all stages of life, with a focus on older people, those experiencing mental health problems and provision of palliative care;
  • Counter violence, exploitation and injustice against women and children - Strive for justice, peace, and reconciliation as we promote gender equality;
  • Needs of children and youth - Promote education, training and capacity-building for those with limited access and develop advocacy skills; and
  • Mission according to the signs of the times - Live as a healing presence in the midst of secular societies across the globe