As we approach the beginning of our 24th General Chapter, some colleagues and friends and family might be wondering: “What is a General Chapter?”
It is the meeting of elected sisters (delegates) from all the provinces, each provincial leader (ex officio members), and the general council (ex officio also). Every professed sister in the congregation may vote for a chapter delegate, however only perpetually professed sisters can be elected as chapter delegates.
When the general chapter is meeting, it is the highest authority in the congregation. A general chapter is called by the general superior every six years.
There are eight purposes for the general chapter:
- promote the mission and unity of the congregation;
- ensure that the congregation is being faithful to its mission;
- give direction to the life and mission of the congregation for the future;
- elect the general superior and general councilors;
- review the acts of previous chapters and take appropriate actions;
- approve the chapter agenda and proposed procedures;
- review and, if necessary, change the constitution and general directory;
- seek the approval of the Apostolic See for any constitutional amendment accepted by the chapter.
A spirit-filled time
As you can see, a general chapter is a special moment in the life of a congregation. It is a time of intense prayer and dialogue. Members of the chapter form an international faith community as they pray, dialogue, and search together for the will of God for our congregation.
The picture here is the symbol that our Sister Genevieve Cassani has created for the general chapter. The general chapter begins September 26 and concludes on October 24. Please join us in praying for God’s guidance as we prepare.
O Holy spirit, enlighten us, strengthen us, so that we may comprehend our divine call and recognize what we are, what we should be, what we must and really want to do in order to reach this goal.
Blessed M. Theresa Gerhardinger, letter 29,
Trust and Dare, June 3