Aide a l’Implantation Monastique, (AIM) the parent organization which gave birth to the Alliance for International Monasticism in the United States, was begun in 1957 by Abbot Tholens of Slangenburg in Holland, and Fr. Denis Martin, a member of a Benedictine foundation in Morocco. They saw the need for monastic life to be implanted in developing countries to bring to fullness of faith the young churches in the emergent nations.
Soon they realized that an organization was needed to coordinate the efforts of individual fledgling monasteries, to cull the experiences of those already in the field, to advise the young foundations, and to help guarantee their survival. In 1960, Abbot Primate Benno Gut recommended that the newly-formed AIM be that organization. It would ensure better communication between the communities of Benedictine, Cistercian and Trappist men and women throughout the world. Both spiritual and material needs would be addressed.
The first AIM General Secretary, Abbot Robert deFloris, was appointed on July 10, 1961. In 1966 AIM, then known as Aide Inter Monasteres, was officially recognized as the Secretariat of the Committee for Missions in the Benedictine Order. In 1996, AIM International was restructured, providing for a President, Secretary-General, Council, and Executive Committee, appointed by the Abbot Primate. AIM USA, the USA Secretariat of AIM International, came into existence on May 18, 1973 when Mother M. Pascaline Coff, OSB, Prioress General of the Benedictine Congregation of Perpetual Adoration in St. Louis, MO, accepted the responsibility to administer AIM USA. She delegated Sister M. Tharsilla Noser to assume the duties of the new secretariat.
In 1988-90 the AIM USA Secretariat moved to St. Scholastica Priory, Petersham, MA, under the guidance of Sister Gemma Meade, OSB. When the office of AIM USA was moved to Mount St. Benedict, Erie, PA in 1990, the name was changed to “Alliance for International Monasticism,” a title which better reflects the goals of the organization: to promote cooperation and solidarity among monastic communities. Since then, five members of the Erie Benedictine community have been directors of AIM USA and many sisters and oblates have used their talents as staff members.
Recent AIM USA Directors:
1990-1991 Sister Joan Chittister, OSB
1991-2002 Sister Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB
2002-2010 Sister Susan Doubet, OSB
2010-2013 Sister Stephanie Schmidt, OSB
2014- current Sister Theresa Zoky, OSB