OUR SEVENTH GENERAL CHAPTER
Every six years the Missionary Oblates gather for an important meeting, called a General Chapter. Here, representatives from each province come together to review the state of the Congregation and to evaluate its responses to the needs of the world at that particular time. It is the highest decision-making Oblate gathering and ensures faithfulness to our God-given charism and spirit.
Rey, the Founder’s biographer, describes this gathering which took place in July 1843 in Marseilles.
In May he had already sent the official letter of convocation of the General Chapter for July 10. This was the seventh that the Congregation was to hold. On the 11th and 12th of the same month, he made the canonical visit to the Calvaire community as a kind of preparation for the general meeting of his children. He was fully satisfied and his desire increased to see the Superiors and delegates of all the houses assembled around him…
On July 10, the members of the Chapter met at the Major Seminary, 22 in number. After the Mass celebrated by the Superior General, they went to the chant of the “Come Holy Spirit” in the assembly hall, and there, taking his place at the stand prepared in the center of the auditorium, the Founder addressed his children.
But,” say the Acts of the Chapter, “no sooner had the Superior General said a few words to thank heaven for the memorable things accomplished since the last Chapter in the bosom of the congregation than he was suddenly overwhelmed by one of those tender and lively emotions that he could not hide. His spirit, he said, had descended into his heart. The emotion was shared by the whole assembly and each one tried to express the most filial and caring affection towards a beloved father. Guibert’s elevation to the episcopate and the founding of the missions in Canada and the British Isles, he exclaimed:
“These are the wonders of Providence upon us and an ever more pressing reason to thank the Lord who has given us such a vocation and to accomplish even more faithfully the apostolic virtues that this vocation demands of us.”
REY II p 161 – 162
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