A Reflection on Some Early Stigmatine General Chapters on the Foreign Missions and on the Choice of Ministers

These 12 half-hour conferences are based primarily on the translations of the first 18 Stigmatine General Chapters.

On Feb. 24, 1874, the Community of the Stimmate unanimously approved a proposal for the 5th General Chapter to be held a few months later that the “Apostolic Mission” include the teaching of schools. “… [The teaching of school] corresponds to one of the principal ends of our Congregation which was born and flourished…” [Feb. 24, 1874]…

The 5th General Chapter subsequently approved this idea unanimously. This same approval was reaffirmed by the 7th and 9th General Chapters, a decade or more prior to the 12th General Chapter in 1890 which also almost unanimously approved this wording.

However, several of the principal confreres of that era left the Congregation because the interpretation of the word Apostolic “Mission” did not include foreign missions, which were their particular interest. Three of these men left the Congregation to pursue Foreign Missions in Africa.

[It may be of interest to note that one of the Signatories of the original Proposal was Fr. Charles Zara–and in his own diary under the dates of May 6, 1875; May 7, 1877; May 6, 1880– spoke about the ministry of the Quarta Classe: (“catechism¨)   as the most useful and necessary of all the Missions

[There follows here the difficult decision of the 12th General Chapter on September 25, 1890:

… The votes were collected, and 21 [twenty-one] answered YES – and 1 [one] answered NO – and 1, abstained. Therefore:

it was admitted and retained that the Schools, according to the context of the [recently received Vatican] Decree of Approbation, are a scope of the  Institute, equally principal with the Missions, and the other exercises  of the sacred Ministry, especially indicated by the Decree itself…”

[1] There is a very interesting recent monograph: cf.  John K. Goodrich, Paul as an Administrator of the Mysteries of God, Cambridge 2012.

Related document:

A Reflection on Some Early Stigmatine General Chapters on the Foreign Missions and on the Choice of Ministries - by Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS [2016]


General Chapters 01
General Chapters 02
General Chapters 03
General Chapters 04
General Chapters 05
General Chapters 06
General Chapters 07
General Chapters 08
General Chapters 09
General Chapters 10
General Chapters 11
General Chapters 12