This was the only time in the history of the Missionary Oblates when men who were not in life-long commitment (perpetual vows) participated fully in a General Chapter, with the right to vote.
Just how proper was the procedure on that occasion? The Acts of the first general Chapter which Suzanne drew up eight years later in 1826, admit that this session of the Chapter was “the only one at which unordained members were present.” However, as it was noted in the Acts, the Constitutions had not as yet come into force. Furthermore, it was declared only just that the three scholastic brothers, who were full-fledged members of the Institute should have the right to express their opinion at a moment when a decision of the greatest importance was being made, since it affected not only the future of the whole Society, but their individual futures as well.
The fact still remains, nonetheless, that on this occasion they had played a deciding role, and that their opinion won out over that of the Fathers.
Leflon 2, p. 167 – 168
Today we continue to be defined by this decision:
We come together in apostolic communities of priests and Brothers, united to God by the vows of religion. Cooperating with the Saviour and imitating his example, we commit ourselves principally to evangelizing the poor.
CC&RR, Constitution 1