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Secular Institute

«Regnum Mariae»

 

Rule of Life

 

Act of incorporation of

the Secular Institute Regnum Mariae

to the Order of the Servants of Mary

 

Rome, 23rd November 1976

 

Prot. 959/76

 

To the Elder Sister

and to all sisters of Regnum Mariae

 

My dear sisters:

 

The General Council on date 10th November 1976 gathered together and presided by myself has considered your written request sent on 7th August 1976, and applying what established by the Constitutions of the Servants of Mary, art. 268, incorporates to the Order of the Servants of Mary the Secular Institute “Regnum Mariae”, recognising it as member of the Servite Family and, therefore, participant of all indulgences and privileges of the Order itself.

 

By proceeding with the welcoming of your request for incorporation, the General Council has recognised that your Institute, since the moment of its constitution in 1959, has tried to live with zeal the Servite Spirituality, has followed with spirit of cooperation the guidance of Fr. Andrea M. Cecchin, your direct collaborator, and has perfectioned and integrated progressively the essential elements of communion of life and common apostolical commitment with the Order of the Servants of Mary. Yet the effects of incorporation are merely spiritual, they will allow your Institute to strengthen the links with the Order. The premises for this are positively promising, as recognised by the Prior Provincials of the Servite Italian Provinces inside the territorial circumscriptions of your appurtenance.

 

Personally, I consider the incorporation as the first step, and at the same time, the crowning of what I have tried to do during these last years, following directly the developments of your Institute. The confidence with which I have always seen your commitment and your work receives with the incorporation the deserved acknowledgment. From its proper perpetual nature, this incorporation should represent for you all a reason of renewed hope. Your specific vocation not only finds its particular place inside the religious family of the Servants of Mary, but also confirms the characteristics and the requirements that can and could justify always more your presence and mission inside the Church.

 

The General Council, that unanimously accepted your request for incorporation, wishes together with me the growth and integral development of “Regnum Mariae”, which from today on forms a new branch of our Servite Family.

 

Fraternally,

 

 

Peregrine M. Graffius

Prior General of the Order

of the Servants of Mary

 

 

Decree of Constitution of the Secular Institute

REGNUM MARIAE”

 

With letter of 8th February 1983, prot. n. IS 2276/81, our Excellency Card. Pironio, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Religious and the Secular Institutes, answering to my request of 6th August 1981, communicated that, after profound examination, the Sacred Congregation conceded the nihil obstat for the constitution of the Secular Institute of the “pious union” “Regnum Mariae” in the Archdioceses of Ancona, in agreement with what established by the Apostolic Constitution Provida Mater.

 

Availing myself with this “nulla osta” of the Sacred Congregation, and sharing with joy the lively and repeated desire of the sisters of the “pious union” “Regnum Mariae”, from which I was able to witness their deep commitment for a spiritual formation generously offered for the service of Christ and His Church in an interior filial consonance with Virgin Mary, humble servant of our Lord and our beloved mother, by the means of my ordinary authority, through the present decree, I erect the “pious union” “Regnum Mariae” as Secular Institute of Diocesan Right with the same title of “Regnum Mariae”.

 

I bind the Elder Sister of the new Institute to provide all members to renew, as soon as possible, their consecration, reckoning under all the canonical effects (cf. Cum Sanctissimus Instruction, art. 11a) the length of time of the previous association link.

 

The new Secular Institute will have See in the territory of the Archdioceses of Ancona, inside which it has been canonically erected.

 

Grateful to our Lord Jesus and to Holy Mary for giving me the joyful opportunity of the erection of this new Secular Institute, consecrated to the expansion of the mild reign of Mary inside our local Church and in all places on which its members are or will work or be committed, I express my wish that this little plant “crescat et floreat” for the glory of God, in honour of Mary and for the consolation of the Church.

 

 

Ancona, from the Archbishop’s Court, 29th June 1983

Solemnity of Saint Apostles Peter and Paul

 

 

+ Carlo Maccari

Archbishop of Ancona

 

R E G N U M M A R I A E

 

Regnum Mariae” (RM) is a Secular Institute made up of people who have been called to live their consecration to God in the world in a spirit of service. It was started within the Order of the Servants of Mary with which, due to the one vocation, wishes to keep living in fraternal communion.

 

Just as the Servants from their origins have dedicated themselves to the Mother of God, in order to serve the Lord and their brothers and sisters, so the members of Regnum Mariae devote themselves to Mary, considering Her as perfect example of evangelical and apostolic life. They want to prolong the living and silent presence of the Mother of Jesus in the history of salvation, following her as perfect example of “who while leading the life common to all here on earth, one filled with family concerns and labours, was always intimately united with her Son and in an entirely unique way cooperated in the work of the Saviour.” (AA, 4).

 

The life style of those who belong to the

Regnum Mariae”

 

 

 

I. THE «REGNUM MARIAE»

 

 

1.

The Secular Institute Regnum Mariae is a Family gathered together in the name of the Lord Jesus.

As members of this Family, living in the world and drawing constant inspiration from Mary, mother and servant of the Lord, we commit ourselves to witness the Gospel and to be at the service of the Church and humanity.

This commitment, rooted in our baptismal consecration and expressed in the profession of the evangelical counsels, is voluntarily undertaken by each of us in order to bring the commandment of love to full realization.

 

2.

As members of our Family, a living and dynamic reality, in good times and bad, each of us, wherever we may be, is called to an active and responsible collaboration by means of a personal contribution of love, prayer, reflection and work in order to bring about evangelical communion.

 

 

3.

Mindful of the words of Christ: “By this will everyone know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”(John 13:35), we live united in a mutual love.

Our relationships are characterised by honest and deep commitment.

 

4.

Each of us lives her consecration in her own particular environment, doing an ordinary job, as ordinary people do. Our apostolate of witness is to live in Christ all of life’s situations and to carry out our social mandate with responsibility and competence in a spirit of service.

 

5.

Each of us lovingly lives the mystery of the Church and strives to be an expression and stimulating reminder of the Church’s ever- new relationship to the world.

We are, therefore, attentive to the voice of those the Holy Spirit has called to lead the Church (Cf. Acts 20:28), and we have a relationship of communion with them in the pursuit of dialogue and accountability and, together with them, in the liturgy we offer and make our own the anxieties and the concern of the ecclesial community.

 

6.

Each of us is called to grow in awareness of our participation in the one, prophetic and royal priesthood of Christ, while constantly attentive to the prophetic initiatives of those who have been called to exercise the ministerial priesthood in the Church. We cooperate in these initiatives with prayer and by the means the Church offers us which are consonant with the vocation to consecrated secular life.

 

7.

In our personal path toward Christ each of us imitates Mary: from her “fiat” we learn to welcome the Word of God and from her life with Jesus at Nazareth, the meaning of our involvement in society; from her participation in the redemptive mission of her Son, we are led to understand and alleviate human sufferings. We do all in our power so that the Virgin, as an example of trust in the Lord, may be a sign of hope and unity for those who are divided and insecure in our time. Seeing her as the expression of the highest feminine values, we are inspired to realize ourselves fully as women and commit ourselves in loving service even at the cost of sacrifice. We turn to her at all times with piety and loving confidence. With her, we give voice to the praise of God for the world.

 

 

II. CONSECRATED CHASTITY

And we have come to know

and we have believed, the

love that God has for us”

I John 4:1

 

 

8.

Consecrated chastity, voluntarily undertaken for the Kingdom, is a gift which God continues to offer to the Church through us. By God’s grace we become, in a mysterious way, a special sign of the world to come and a call for all people to live in expectation of the Lord who is coming.

Embrace this gift with gratitude and joy and strive to live it fully in your life.

 

9.

Be aware that this gift is to be lived every day in a new and personal way. In fact our Father is visiting us with his Spirit which makes all things new and constantly turns our hearts to Christ, involving us in the mystery of his death and resurrection. He is the one you shall love above all things.

 

10.

In this gift of total, exclusive and mutual love, you will experience fullness and harmony with yourself, with others and with all creation.

 

11.

Be mindful that, as a silent bearer of Christ, you can contribute toward his birth in the hearts of others and be for them a haven where God continues to reconcile them to himself so that they may share his glory.

 

12.

The trust in God who is faithful and merciful, the communion with Christ and the Blessed Virgin, the fraternal love which we have for one another and for all who live with commitment other vocations, and the vigilance to which the Gospel calls us, will strengthen you and open you to dialogue with everyone in charity.

 

13.

The vow of chastity binds us to live perfect continence in celibacy for the Kingdom.

 

 

 

III. SIMPLICITY OF LIFE

Seek first the Kingdom

of God and his justice

and all these things shall

be given you besides.”

Matthew 6:33

 

14.

We voluntarily embrace poverty to enable us to follow Christ.

Like him, who for love’s sake became poor, giving himself totally to do the will of his Father, put your reliance in God.

 

15.

With confidence abandon yourself to the Father’s providence and be entirely free in the use of material goods. In this way, you will be able to welcome Christ into your heart and bring him to others.

 

16.

Be grateful for the things you receive at all times from God and from others, happy about the gifts others have received and ready to face with simplicity the various situations life presents. Acknowledge and accept your limitations and, trusting in the power of the Lord who does wonderful things in those who are humble, praise him constantly.

 

17.

Mindful that the gifts you have received must be shared, make yourself available to the other members of the Institute and to everybody..

Such interior poverty will enable you to be attentive and skilled in welcoming, listening to and dialoguing with them.

 

18.

Let your work support you and accept its burden, sharing thus the fatigue and insecurity that is the lot of most human beings.

Lead a simple life in your environment and, in every situation prefer the simplicity of the Gospel.

 

19.

The goods of the Family belong to all of us and are placed at the service of ourselves and of the poor. Commit yourself to give a concrete contribution to the Institute as a sign of communion, and to those around you who are in need, as a sign of mercy.

 

20.

Regarding temporal goods, the vow of poverty binds us as follows;

a – to administer them with personal responsibility in accordance with the criteria worked out and determined in dialogue with the specific sister in charge;

b - to evaluate with her at fixed times how we have used them;

c - to request proper authorization, in accordance with the approved practical norms.

 

IV. LIFE OF OBEDIENCE

The world must be shown

that I love the Father, and

do exactly as he commands.”

John 14:31

 

 

21.

With the vow of obedience we offer our will to God. Following the example of Christ, give yourself totally to the constant search for and faithful carrying out of God’s loving and salvific design in your life.

By making yours the will of the Father, you will grow in union with him and make progress towards complete freedom.

 

22.

In order to discover the will of God, be open to the light that comes from meditation on the Word of God which dwells in the Church and which illuminates the ordinary situations of everyday life, from faithful adherence to your Rule of Life and from sincere and persevering dialogue with everyone.

 

23.

Make the vow of obedience real by accepting with love, from day to day, the various situations which life sets before you and by involving yourself in family life, and the civil and ecclesial communities with responsible cooperation.

 

24.

Commit yourself to carry out with faith and love the Rule of Life, the decisions of the assembly and the central council, the guidelines of our sisters in charge and those which emerge at meetings of our members.

By so doing, you will make a valid contribution toward building the unity willed by Christ.

 

 

25.

In communion with the Family be obedient to the teaching of the Church, knowing that in this way you will help build up the body of Christ.

 

26.

Imitate and meditate on Mary, faithful servant of the Lord, who, in her conscious willingness to do God’s will, gave birth to Christ and, throughout the course of her whole life, cooperated in his work of love and redemption.

 

27

The vow of obedience binds us:

a – to a periodic verification with the Sister in Charge of our fidelity to the Rule of Life;

b - to examine with the specific Sister in Charge our personal choices relating to one’s own work or place of work, apostolic and social commitments and changes of residence;

c - to seriously consider any advice we receive;

d - to obey the Elder Sister when, after having consulted our Sister in Charge, she summons us to fidelity with regard to our consecration in harmony with the Rule of Life.

 

 

V. LIFE OF PRAYER

My soul is thirsting for God,

the living God.”

Sirach 42 : 3

28.

The consecrated life is possible only if there is a deep and constant communion with the Lord.

You who have chosen God as the supreme good and who wish to love the world as Christ himself loves it, should foster as the first priority of your whole life the spirit of prayer. Led, then, by the Spirit, search without tiring for the face of God.

 

29.

Carry out all things in the name of the Lord Jesus. Sharing in his priesthood, your life will become prayer and offering of praise to the Father.

 

30.

In order to live in a constant spirit of prayer, set aside some time in your daily routine and in your life to dedicate exclusively to an encounter with God.

 

31.

To bring about the salvific work of Christ, participate in the prayer of the whole Church :

a – live intensely the various periods of the liturgical year;

b – sanctify your mornings and evenings with the celebration of the liturgy of the hours;

c - centre your daily life in the Eucharistic celebration, source and peak of liturgical prayer, in which you welcome the Word of the Lord and offer to the Father, yourself, the Church, the whole human race and all of life, together with the divine victim;

d - in the sacrament of reconciliation take the opportunity to experience God’s mercy frequently and proclaim it by celebrating with the priest the liturgy of the Church which is always being converted and renewing itself.

 

32.

Be faithful to a daily and prolonged personal encounter with the Lord and stand before him with simplicity, openness and love.

Following the example of the Virgin, meditation will help you to penetrate the meaning of the scriptures so that you may discover in them, in persons, in events, and in all creation, God’s summons and his love.

 

33.

Consider the intercessory prayers an essential expression of your communion with the other members, those who preside in the Church and those persons to whom you are related because of your work or for other reasons. You will pray for them with trusting faith so that they may “remain perfect and completely in accord with all the will of God” (Col. 4 : 12).

Manifest your love for deceased members by imploring God’s mercy for them.

 

34.

Take part in prayer meetings organized by the Family and especially in retreats. Consider prayer together the best place to deepen and strengthen your vocation and to grow in unity.

 

35.

Celebrate with special attention and devotion the liturgical feasts of Our Lady. Every day turn to the Mother of the Lord with special prayers.

 

 

VI. LIVING IN COMMUNION WITH OTHERS

That all may be one, as you Father are in me,

and I in you, that they also may be in us.

John 17:21

 

36.

Called to realize among us that unity which Christ asked of his Father for his disciples and which is the fruit of constant prayer, let us nourish a strong love for the Family, keeping ourselves always open and loyal..

 

37.

Acknowledge in each other a gift from God. Together we shall help one another to discover and develop the charisms each of us has received from the Lord.

 

38.

Remembering that we shall be judged by the love that is in us, be solicitous in welcoming and in hospitality and be lovingly present to those members who are experiencing suffering in their lives.

 

39.

The person who has been elected to a task of responsibility among us, remembering that in her office she must bear witness to Christ “who came not to be served but to serve” (Matt. 20:28) and to augment the life of his own, offers herself in a spirit of love, of attentive listening, and of assistance to others.

 

40.

The local group is the first place in which we live out of our love concretely and for each of us it represents the normal link which unites us to the whole Family. Your life, commitments, problems and worries should have a place in it. From the sharing of your experiences with others, you will be enlightened and strengthened for a more fruitful involvement in your particular world.

 

 

41.

Each meeting of the Family (group, general assembly, etc.) represents a special occasion for unity, communion and manifestation of God’s will, because it brings about the presence of the Lord promised to his disciples gathered together in his name.

 

42.

Evaluate your life in the Family, the ecclesial place where compassion, as an essential dimension of our life in communion, is exercised.

 

43.

If a member leaves the Family, we shall maintain with her, as far as it depends on us, a loving relationship. If necessary we shall help her even financially, according to our possibilities.

 

44.

Each of us by living in communion, senses that we are involved in the same journey of the whole of humanity who has preceded us in the faith or who shall follow towards that communion which will reach its completion only in the house of our Father.

 

45.

From Mary, who from the Cenacle supported in faith the first ecclesial community, learn that evangelical style of fraternity which must identify your behaviour towards the other members, towards all people and, in a special way, towards all those who have been called to guide the Church of Christ.

 

VII. LIFE IN THE WORLD

God so loved the world that he gave his

only begotten son… that the world

might be saved through him.”

John 3:16-17

46.

Aware of being made new persons by baptism, we live our consecrated secularity by working directly and concretely within the temporal realities in which we live so that we may direct them towards God through Christ..

 

47.

Take your inspiration from the service which Mary has rendered and still gives to the world, and act with peace in your heart without the anxiety characteristic of those who trust only in their own efforts.

 

48.

Live your work as you would a liturgy, knowing that even the most humble service has the salvific value for others and is worship and praise of God. Commit yourself responsibly in professional work and consider, as your first apostolate, the careful fulfilment of all the duties derived from it.

 

49.

By our consecration, each of us contributes to the building up and the vitality of the local Christian community.

Making the best use of circumstances, means and time, and fully respecting our secularity and the special presence which results from it in the world, take part in pastoral activities by means of dialogue with the sisters in charge and a careful reading of the demands of your situation, you will search for the best way to do this.

 

50.

Feel responsible for specializing in the work you are doing and keep yourself up-to-date in the field of theology and social studies, in accordance with your personal aptitudes, abilities and possibilities. You shall do this in order to have a more intense and alert participation in the salvific plan which is being carried out through changing human situations.

 

51.

Strive to assure yourself of that autonomy which will allow you to perform those duties deriving from your belonging to this spiritual family and from your involvement in society, while you remain in your natural family as a sign of unity and peace, collaborating with your love and with the fruits of your labour.

 

52.

Driven by Christ’s love and free of defence mechanisms and prejudice, go out to others with simplicity and availability. Your preference shall be for those you recognize as very poor, to be at their side in the laborious march towards freedom.

 

53.

Consider friendship as God’s gift. You shall accept it with joy as a mutual enrichment and you shall live it as an expression of your fraternity with others.

 

54.

Carry out your service in the world as an expression of the universal fraternity which links you to every creature because of the same origin from God the Father and because of the communion brought about by the reconciliation won for us by Christ. Like him you shall be at times a sign of contradiction for others, even to the point of losing your life for the sake of love.

 

 

 

Personal development

of the members

 

 

VIII. GENERAL PRINCIPLES

You have put off the old

nature with its practices

and have put on the new

nature, which is being

renewed in knowledge after

the image of its Creator.”

Col. 3:9-10

 

 

55.

Our vocation involves a gratuitous invitation from God the Father and a responsible and voluntary response of love by which we commit ourselves to follow Christ in the world as members of the Regnum Mariae. Such vocation is not fulfilled by any one act, but rather moves forward in a continual rhythm of invitation and response till it reaches the perfect stature of Christ.

Make yourself available, like the Virgin, to the action of the Holy Spirit, and give your full support to it.

The whole institute will sustain your efforts in the new life.

 

56.

Apply yourself with love to serious study which will lead you to a deeper knowledge of the holy scriptures and of the sacred liturgy, of the history of the Church and of the world, of our life and of the Rule of our Family.

In the light of such knowledge you will be able

a - to participate more responsibly and with greater understanding in the life and journey of faith of the Church and of the world;

b – to get a deeper understanding of the presence of the Mother of God in the history of salvation;

c - to discover the value of the evangelical counsels as lived in the world;

d - to make your own the spiritual life and role of the Family in the Church.

This itinerary of knowledge finds its due expression in a meaningful liturgy and will help you to bear witness to a life perfect in faith, patient in hope and persevering in love.

 

57.

Through a progressive knowledge of yourself in relation to God and to others, an appropriate affective maturity, and the exercise of sound self-discipline, strive to reach that balance which will allow you to give an evermore conscious response to God’s calling. By so doing, you will live your consecration in serenity and availability to others, fulfilling yourself as a woman.

 

58.

Be aware that you will grow in evangelical freedom in so far as you strive to put off yourself and put on Christ. With such freedom, you will search for solutions to current problems in a spirit of obedience and in full fidelity to your responsibilities.

 

59.

Prayer is an essential imperative in living our life. When you experience that it is difficult, keep on praying with humility and perseverance.

Through this fidelity, at times hard and painful, you will arrive at true prayer and you will see the face of that God whom you seek.

 

60.

Each of us must strive and be helped to find our place in the Regnum Mariae, in the Church, in the world.

Take advantage, therefore, of every opportunity to strengthen the bonds of communion with the other sisters of the Family. Take part in group meetings which will help you to grow in the awareness and the joy of the gift of the vocation you have received, to recognize and make yours the needs of the world and of the Church and to find your way of responding.

This communion will assist you in accepting ordinary limitations peacefully and in overcoming inevitable difficulties with courage and support.

 

61.

In the faithful carrying out of our daily obligations we give concrete expression to our vocation.

Strive to live constantly a life of faith: prayer and work will thus become an expression of communion with Christ who, present and working in you, will lead you to God and to your brothers and sisters.

 

62.

As far as you are able try to establish a dialogue with the different cultures you come across and with prophetic sensitivity learn to discern and to carry out what in them is in harmony with the Gospel, certain that God guides history toward the fulfilment of the Kingdom.

 

63.

At regular intervals evaluate with your sister in charge the fulfilment of the commitment undertaken by you with this Rule of Life. This is a time for growing in the gift of yourself to God and to others.

 

 

 

 

IX. OUR SISTERS IN CHARGE

Only one is your master,

the Christ.”

Matthew 23:10

 

64.

Our Sisters in Charge should remember that just as Christ knows us one by one, he calls us and gathers us for living out a common spiritual journey. It is he who continues to work in us through his Spirit and brings to fulfilment the service of our Sisters in Charge who are his collaborators in the work of love the Father wants to realize in each of us.

 

65.

The Family has the responsibility of being faithful to the charisma which brought it to life and to the Rule of Life which is its expression: it supports the sisters by its faith and its love and seeks, in communion with the Church, the significance of its presence in the Church and the world, in responding wisely to the signs of the times.

 

66.

Our Sisters in Charge must feel the need to conform themselves to Christ. They should stand close to the sisters with an attitude of respect, by listening to and dialoguing with them; with simplicity and intelligence, with love and firmness they shall help them to discover and to carry our the will of God.

 

 

 

 

X. CANDIDATES

You have not chosen me,

but I have chosen you.”

John 15:16

 

67.

The Secular Institute Regnum Mariae accepts single women and widows, provided they have the proper qualities.

 

68.

Those who wish to consecrate themselves to God in the world in accordance with the spirit of Regnum Mariae must perceive:

a. a personal call from God the Father, the consuming desire for intimacy with Christ and the will to offer themselves totally in the Spirit;

b. the invitation to lead a hidden life in the world, with a deep appreciation of its authentic human values and the ability to live a solitary witness.

Moreover, they must be able to live our Rule of Life.

 

69.

Each candidate must be open to a sincere and frank dialogue with the sister in Charge of Formation and the other sisters. This will foster a mutual understanding, and will help to discover God’s plan for her and her aptitude for living the ideals of our Family.

 

 

XI. PERIODS OF FORMATION

 

70.

Formation in Regnum Mariae consists of

First Formation, Formation to Definitive Incorporation, and Lifelong Formation.

a. First Formation includes the following phases:

1. the period of welcoming (or first cycle of formation), which lasts from the Acceptance of the request to enter the Family up to the Promise.

2. the period of the Promise (or second cycle of formation) which lasts from the making of the Promise up to the First Profession of the Evangelical Counsels.

b. Formation up to Definitive Incorporation which lasts from the First Profession of Vows until Definitive Incorporation.

c. Lifelong Formation begins with Definitive Incorporation and continues all life long.

 

 

Welcoming

71.

The presentation of the request for entry into the Family is ordinarily preceded by a time of providing information and of growth in mutual knowledge by way of closeness to some sisters or a group.

 

72.

After a first discernment of her vocation, voluntarily and responsibly, the Candidate asks the Elder Sister, by means of a written application, to be accepted into the Family of Regnum Mariae. Such an application may be presented after the candidate has reached 18 years of age and not later than 50 years, apart from exceptions which will be thoroughly considered by the Central Council.

 

 

73.

The period of welcoming or First Cycle of Formation lasts from the acceptance of the request for entry into the Family up to the Promise. Normally it does not last less than one year and no more than two. (PN 4)

 

 

Promise

74.

With the Promise the candidate aims at strengthening and commits herself gradually to deepen her knowledge of and to make her own the spirituality of Regnum Mariae. The period of the Promise, or Second Cycle of Formation, begins with the making of the Promise and lasts up to the assumption of the Evangelical Counsels. Normally this period does not last less than two years and no more than three.

 

75.

The candidate, during the First and Second Cycles of Formation, deepens her understanding of the motivations of her vocation, through accompaniment by a sister appointed by the Elder Sister, with the consultative opinion of the Council. (PN 5)

 

 

Temporary Incorporation

76.

With the assumption of the Evangelical Counsels through the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, begins the phase of Temporary Incorporation in the Family; the candidate gives herself totally to God and commits herself to live faithfully the Rule of Life. The sister acquires the rights provided for by the Rule of Life. The vows are renewed every year.

The period of Temporary Incorporation begins with the first assumption of the Evangelical Counsels and lasts up to the Definitive Incorporation. It cannot last less than five years. When there are serious reasons, the Elder Sister with the deliberative vote of the Council can extend it for two years. (PN 6)

 

 

Definitive Incorporation

77.

Once the period of Temporary Profession is over the sister who is considered suitable is admitted to Definitive Incorporation into the Family. With such incorporation the sister acquires all rights in full. (PN 7)

 

 

Perpetual Vows

78.

The sister who wishes to make Perpetual Vows can make a request to do so to the Elder Sister, though not before having completed five years of Temporary Incorporation.

 

79.

The application for admission to the different periods of formation must be presented in writing by the person concerned to the Elder Sister, in accordance with the modality indicated in the Practical Norms. In particular situations the Elder Sister, with the deliberative vote of the Council, having heard the Sister in Charge of First Formation, may shorten or extend the periods of First Formation. Nevertheless this period of First Formation may no be less than two years and no more than six. (PN 8)

 

Organization of

Regnum Mariae”

 

 

XII. GENERAL PRINCIPLES

 

80.

The Secular Institute Regnum Mariae is composed of sisters belonging to local groups who, through the assumption of the Evangelical Counsels, are called to realize the charisma expressed in the Rule and to assume its obligations and commitments.

 

81.

Authority resides in the general Assembly, which is the highest expression of authority in the Family, and in the Sisters in Charge.

It is exercised in a spirit of charity and service, in accordance with the Rule of Life.

The sisters obey authority and are co-responsible in the search for and the carrying out of the will of God.

With their trust and collaboration they spur forward the Sisters in Charge to realize with renewed spirit the seriousness of their commitment.

All this prevents every individualism which fragments, and fosters the growth of communion.

 

 

Members of “Regnum Mariae”

82.

With Temporary Incorporation the sister becomes an integral part of the Family. She commits herself to live in accordance with the Rule of Life and she acquires the right of active and passive voice as established in it. With Definitive Incorporation the sister acquires all rights in full.

 

Separation from the Institute

83.

The candidate whose application has been accepted or who has made the Promise is free to dissociate herself at any time, after having communicated her decision to her Direct Sister in Charge.

 

84.

The sister with Temporary Incorporation or Definitive Incorporation who intends not to renew the assumed vows, may leave the Institute at their expiry, communicating this to the Elder Sister.

The sister with Temporary Incorporation who, for grave reasons, at any time during the year asks to leave the Institute may receive an Indult of Separation from the Elder Sister with the deliberative vote of her Council.

The sister with Definitive Incorporation, while she is still bound with the vows, or the sister with perpetual vows may ask the competent ecclesiastical authority the Indult of Separation from the Institute by way of the Elder Sister. (PN 9)

 

 

Waiting Period

85.

A sister who, while experiencing a particular personal situation, does, momentarily, not feel like renewing the vows, may request from the Elder Sister a waiting period which should not exceed one year. (PN 10)

 

 

Dismissal

86.

The dismissal of a sister occurs in the cases indicated in cannons 694-695 CIC and/or for other grave reasons, external, imputable and juridically proven. The procedure for Dismissal shall follow the norms indicated in cannons 697-700 CIC. In carrying this out the Elder Sister and the other Sisters in Charge will exercise criteria of fairness and mercy.

The sister to whom Dismissal has been imposed has the right to appeal in accordance with cannon 700 CIC within ten days from receiving the decree.

 

 

Transfer to another Institute

87.

For the transfer of a sister to another Secular Institute or to a Religious Institute, the provisions indicated in cannon 730 CIC will be followed.

 

XIII. LOCAL GROUP

 

88.

A sister is normally incorporated in a local group, which has been established by the Elder Sister with the deliberative vote of the Central Council, in an area where there are already five sisters with vows – of whom at least two have Definitive Incorporation – who are able to live fraternal life in a concrete manner.

The establishment or the dissolution of a group is done after consultation of the sisters of the area concerned, of the Reporting Counsellor or of the Delegate of the area involved. (PN 11.12)

 

89.

The members of a group who have taken the vows shall elect their own Sister in Charge and two sisters who with her will form the council of the local group.

The term of these offices is four years. (PN 13.14)

 

90.

The establishment of a group may also take place during the four year mandate. In such a case the Elder Sister, with the consultative vote of the Central Council, calls for the election of the Sister in Charge of the Group and of the Counsellors.

The newly elected remain in office until the subsequent General Assembly.

 

91.

The Sister in Charge of the Group entrusts the two Counsellors with the tasks of Vice-Sister in Charge and Sister in Charge of Formation. Together they choose a Secretary and a local Treasurer.

 

92.

The tasks of the Sister in Charge of the Group are as follows:

a. to foster and nurture unity in the group and mutual help among the members;

b. to support the members individually in the carrying out of their duties and to correct them with love whenever necessary;

c. to gather the group together n accordance with the frequency decided at the Territorial Meeting, and at least once every month;

d. to convoke the local Council regularly in order to coordinate the activities of the group and to make some decisions collegially regarding its problems; (PN 15)

e. to present to the Elder Sister by way of the Reporting Counsellor, or the Delegate of a territory not yet juridically constituted, the request for admission to Regnum Mariae, the candidates for the Promise and Vows, after having consulted the Local Council;

f. to present the Elder Sister by way of the Reporting Counsellor, or the Delegate of a Territory not yet juridically constituted, the request for Separation from the Institute or for a waiting period;

g. to give to the Direct Sister in Charge periodic reports on each of the members and on the activities of the group and to exchange opinions with her; (NP 16)

h. to grant permission for expenses as established in the Practical Norms, seeking in this to educate rather than to oblige.

 

93.

The Vice-Sister in Charge collaborates with the sister in Charge of the Group and takes her place when she is absent.

When the office is vacant, the Vice-Sister in Charge takes her place until the next elections which are called for by the Elder Sister with the consultative opinion of the Central Council.

 

94.

The Immediate Sister in Charge of the sister in Charge of a group (or of a few groups) is a Central Counsellor or a Delegate, assigned according to the criteria established in the Practical Norms.

 

 

 

XIV. GENERAL ASSEMBLY

 

 

95.

The Four Year General Assembly represents a moment of intense unity and communion in the life of the Family. It is celebrated in a climate of recollection and prayer, especially liturgical prayer.

The sisters take an active part therein with docility to the Spirit by offering their personal contribution and the contribution of the group in which they are incorporated.

 

 

96.

The General Assembly is the legislative, deliberative and elective body. It is convoked six months beforehand by the Elder Sister who, with the assistance of the Central Council draws up the agenda after having consulted all the sisters. The Assembly has juridical validity provided that at least three quarters (3/4) of the sisters with the right to participate are present.

 

97.

The General Assembly is convoked every four years in order to:

a. evaluate the carrying out of the planned activities and the Evangelical commitment of the Family in the Church and the world;

b. draw up a program of activities for four years;

c. elect the Elder Sister and her Council;

d. review expenditures and to approve or not the budget of the administration as presented by the General Treasurer;

e. approve any modifications to the Rule of Life and to authorize their application, either in experimental or definitive form, given the previous confirmation of the ecclesiastical authority;

f. approve and modify decrees, resolutions and Practical Norms. (PN 17)

 

 

98.

The Elder Sister and her Council remain in office for four years. They can be re-elected only for another consecutive term of four years.

The same criterion applies for all other four year offices.

 

99.

At the General Assembly participate the representatives of all the sisters in vows. Those who participate by right are: the Elder Sister and the Councillors, the Sister in Charge of the General Formation, the General Secretary, the General Treasurer, the Sisters in Charge of the Groups, the Delegates of Territories not yet juridically constituted.

The Elder sister with the deliberative vote of the Council, establishes the proportional criterion for selecting the representatives of the sisters in order that the number of members by right is less than that of the representatives, and that all the geographical areas are represented.

The Elder Sister and her Council have the faculty to:

a. allow other sisters in vows to participate in the Assembly with the right to speak;

b. invite candidates, associates, experts with the right to speak. (NP 18. 19. 20)

 

100.

Between one General Assembly and the next, there is the annual celebration of the Territorial Meeting. This meeting is a moment of particular fraternity and communion in the life of the sisters of a distinct geographical area. These meetings are characterized by human and spiritual formation, and can make decisions with regards to local problems as indicated in the Practical Norms. (PN 21.22.23)

 

 

 

 

 

XV. THE ELDER SISTER

 

101.

The Elder Sister is principally responsible for the Institute and she represents it officially.

She is at the service of all members, encourages them to be faithful, and is a sign of unity among them.

 

102.

The Elder Sister is elected every four years, in accordance to what is determined in the Practical Norms.

A sister of Definitive Incorporations is eligible for this office.

 

103.

The tasks of the Elder Sister are as follows:

a. to foster the unity of the Family and to promote the active participation of all the sisters;

b. to see to the life long formation of all sisters;

c. to accept the Promise, First Vows and Perpetual Vows according to the appropriate rite, or delegate another person in her place;

d. to accept the annual renewal of the vows or delegate another person in her place;

e. to open and to preside at the General Assembly;

f. to convoke the Territorial Meeting which is presided by her Delegate;

g. to convoke and to preside at the Central Council;

h. to choose her Vicar from among the elected Central Councillors;

i. to authorize expenses according to what is determined in the Practical Norms;

l. to exonerate, in particular cases, from observing commitments assumed with the present Rule of Life;

m. to forward the application for the separation from the Institute of a sister in Definitive Incorporation, while still bound with the vows, or in Perpetual Vows to the competent ecclesiastical authority;

n. to confirm the collaborators of the sisters in Charge of the General Formation, the General Secretary, the Archivist and the General Treasurer.

 

104.

The Elder Sister is the Direct Sister in Charge of the sisters of the Central Council, of the General Sisters in Charge, and of the Delegates of the various geographic areas.

 

105.

The Elder Sister after consulting the Central Council:

a. announces the General Assembly and the elections of the Elder Sister;

b. defines the geographical boundaries of the territories;

c. appoints a Central Councillor (or more Councillors) or a Delegate, as Direct Sister in Charge of a group (or more groups);

d. appoints the Archivist;

e. announces and confirms the elections of the Sisters in charge of the Groups following the modalities indicated in the Practical Norms;

f. accepts the resignation of a sister from an office or removes her for serious reasons;

g. accepts the application for admission to Regnum Mariae;

h. accepts the application for admission to Regnum Mariae as an Associate Member;

i. appoints, for the formative accompaniment of candidates a sister in vows and/or the Delegate of a Territory not yet juridically constituted;

l. accepts the request for a waiting period;

m. does not allow, in particular cases, a sister to make the promise or vows;

n. does not allow a sister to make the renewal of vows;

o. investigates the situation of sisters who are sick or old or in some difficulty and provides for their needs, as far as possible.

 

106.

The Elder Sister, with the deliberative vote of the Central Council:

a. establishes or dissolves groups;

b. determines the percentage of representatives for the General Assembly;

c. appoints the Delegate for the Territories not yet juridically constituted;

d. appoints the Sister in Charge of the General Formation, the General Secretary and the General Treasurer;

e. appoints the Sisters in Charge of the General Offices until the next General Assembly, whenever these positions became vacant;

f. appoints the Councillors n the event of the circumstances indicated in article 112;

g. accepts the request to make the Promise and First Vows;

h. admits to Definitive Incorporation;

i. admits, upon requests, to perpetual vows;

l. dismisses a sister according to the norms of Canon Law;

m. grants separation from the Institute to a sister with Temporary Incorporation;

n. gives permission for extraordinary financial acts regarding the acquisition or sale of goods of the individual sisters;

o. authorized the extraordinary financial acts relating to the goods of the Institute in accordance with Canon Law and the Practical Norms;

p. updates the amounts permitted for expenditure.

 

107.

The Vicar collaborates with the Elder Sister and in her absence takes her place. Should the office of the Elder Sister become vacant, the Vicar takes her place until the next election. In this case, she convokes an extraordinary Elective Assembly within six months. The newly elected remains in office until the next General Assembly.

 

 

 

 

XVI. THE CENTRAL COUNCIL

 

 

108.

The Central Council is the ordinary deliberative body. It is composed by the Elder Sister and by four Councillors elected by the General Assembly in accordance with the Practical Norms.

 

109.

The Central Council meets at the invitation of the Elder Sister. It has the power to make decisions provided the Elder Sister and at least three Councillors are present at the meeting.

Each meeting is celebrated within a context of liturgical prayer.

 

110.

It is the task of the Central Council to cooperate with the Elder Sister in the leadership of the Institute.

Its specific duties are as follows:

a. to assure the continuity of direction of the Family and its fidelity to the Rule of Life;

b. to implement the decisions and directives of the General Assembly and to see their implementation;

c. to establish, for unforeseen circumstances, norms for applying the rule of Life between one General Assembly and the next;

d. to consult the Sister in Charge of the General Formation if she is not a member of the Council, whenever it deals with spiritual, formative matters or makes decisions regarding them;

e. to express its opinion regarding to the tasks of the Elder Sister as indicated in article 105;

f. to deliberate regarding to the tasks of the Elder Sister as indicated in article 106).

 

 

 

111.

The Central Council must meet at least once a year and, at irregular intervals consult the Sister n Charge of Groups, the Delegates for Territories not yet juridically constituted, the Sisters in Charge of the General Offices in order:

a. to establish contact between the Central Council and the various members of the Family;

b. to collaborate in the implementation of programs established by the General Assembly and the Central Council;

c. to deal with particular problems.

 

112.

Should the office of one of the Councillors become vacant, the new Councillor shall be named by the Elder Sister with the deliberative vote of the Central Council and shall remain in office until the following General Assembly.

 

 

XVII. GENERAL OFFICES

 

113.

The Sister in Charge of the General Formation, in communion with the Elder Sister, is entrusted with the formation of the Institute. She can be appointed even if she is not a member of the Council. This office lasts for four years and may be repeated for one other four year period.

 

114.

The General Secretary compiles Acts of the General Assembly, of the Central Council, of the meeting with the Sisters in Charge, takes care of the official correspondence, keeps up-to-date the protocol, the chronicle and the archives; this office lasts for four years and may be repeated for one other four year term.

 

115.

The General Treasurer administers movable and unmovable goods of the Family in accordance with the decision of the General Assembly and in cooperation with the Elder Sister and her Council.

Every four years, she presents to the General Assembly a final report of income and expenditure, and a budget.

She gives an accounting of the administration to the Central Council each year, and any time she is asked to do so.

This office lasts for four years and may be repeated for one other four year term.

 

116.

The Sister in Charge of the General Formation, the General Secretary and the General Treasurer are appointed by the Elder Sister, with the deliberative vote of the Central Council.

 

 

Should the office of one of these charges become vacant it will be filled, until the next General Assembly, by a sister appointed by the Elder Sister with the deliberative vote of the Council.

 

117.

The Sister in Charge of the General Formation, the General Secretary and the General Treasurer can choose some sisters as their collaborators. The confirmation of these is the competence of the Elder Sister.

 

 

XVIII. ASSOCIATE MEMBERS

 

118.

Other persons who commit themselves to embrace Evangelical Life in their own state of life, on the basis of the provisions of the Church (can. 725 CIC) may by united, as Associates, to the Institute, living its spirituality.

 

 

XIX. UPDATING THE RULE OF LIFE

 

119.

Eventual changes to the Rule of Life must be discussed at the General Assembly, juridically valid, and be approved by a two third (2/3) majority of those participants having the right to vote, and submitted for confirmation, to the competent ecclesiastical authority for its official approval.

 

 

E P I LO G U E

 

This, then, is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every fatherhood, in heaven or on earth, takes its name. In the abundance of his glory may he, through his Spirit, enable you to grow firm in power with regard to your inner self, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, with all God's holy people you will have the strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; so that, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond knowledge, you may be filled with the utter fullness of God. Glory be to him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine; glory be to him from generation to generation in the Church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen” (Ep 3: 14-21).

 

BRIEF HISTORICAL NOTES

 

The Secular Institute “Regnum Mariae” was born in 1959 inside the youth group of the Third Order of the Servants of Mary in the Parish of The Sacred Heart in Ancona. Since the beginning it fully recognised itself in the form of life of the Secular Institutes approved by the Constitution Provida Mater Ecclesia promulgated by Pius XII on 2nd February 1947.

 

In 1970, inspired by the renewal background of the Ecumenical Council, and after a year of intense study and research, it had its first general assembly and gave itself the first Rule of Life.

 

In 1976 has been incorporated to the Order of the Servants of Mary as Secular Institute, which since its origins, had tried to live, in a secular way, the same spirituality.

 

In 1983, obtaining the nulla osta from the Sacred Congregation, has been erected as Secular Institute of Diocesan Right from the hands of the Archbishop of Ancona, Mons. Carlo Maccari.

 

Nowadays “Regnum Mariae” is present in various regions in Italy, as well as in Canada, Spain, Mexico, and Philippines. Also in Uganda and in Mozambique has recently initiated a new vocational experience.

 

PRACTICAL NORMS

 

 

Documents

 

Decrees

 

Deliberations

 

Statutes for the Associates

 

PRACTICAL NORMS

 

 

1 (cf RoL, nn° 20a, 27a, 63)

Every three months, each Sister under vows shall assess with her Immediate Sister in Charge her own faithfulness to the Rule of Life. (cf also Document on Dialogue)

2 (cf RoL, n° 69)

Every month, each Candidate shall assess her formative growth with the Sister in charge of First Formation.

3 (cf RoL, n° 20)

Each Sister shall submit to her specific Sister in Charge an annual budget, that is, a plan of how her own money will be ordinarily spent, and she shall subsequently account to her for her own material goods, and assess with her how they have been administered. As far as unforeseen expenses are concerned, she shall obtain permission from the relevant Sister in Charge.

The Central Council will regularly update the amounts permitted for expenditure.

 

PERIODS OF FORMATION

4 (cf RoL, n° 72)

The candidate must submit her written application to the Elder Sister, who has the task of accepting it, previous consultation with the Central Council. A report by the Sister in charge of Formation and / or by the Assistant must be enclosed with it, together with the Baptism Certificate, the Confirmation Certificate, and a Certificate of one’s own marital status.

 

5 (cf RoL, n° 75)

The Sister in Charge of Formation, appointed by the Elder Sister after consulting her Council, for specific circumstances and periods of time may also be the Delegate for the Territories not yet juridically constituted.

 

6 (cf RoL, n° 76)

During the period from the First Profession of the Evangelical Counsels (Temporary Incorporation) to the Definitive Incorporation, the Sister will be formed according to a specific and individually-tailored programme of formation and guidance.

 

7 (cf RoL, nn° 77-78)

Lifelong Formation starts with the Definitive Incorporation. Within this phase specific formation contents will be considered, as:

 

additional formation when the Sister requests to make Perpetual Vows;

personal guidance provided to those who are going through a crisis (due to retirement, illnesses, those who are confined to bed, spiritual crisis and so on).

 

8 (cf RoL, n° 79)

In order to be admitted to the Promise, to the Profession of the Evangelical Counsels, to the Definitive Incorporation and to Perpetual Vows, a written application must be submitted to the Elder Sister, who has the task of accepting it, with deliberative vote of the Central Council and after taking counsel with the Assistant. A written report by the Sister in Charge of the Group and her Council, or by the Delegate for the Territories which are not yet juridically constituted must be enclosed with the application.

A report by the Sister in Charge of the First Cycle of Formation must be enclosed with the application to be admitted to the Promise, as well as with the application to be admitted to the Profession of Vows.

 

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

 

9 (cf RoL, n° 84)

The written communication of one’s wish to leave the Institute, or the written request for an indult of separation are to be submitted to the Elder Sister, after a period of prayer, discernment and assessment with the Sisters in Charge.

 

10 (cf RoL, n° 85)

The Elder Sister or one of her Delegates, shall define the link with the Institute, choosing with the Sister deadlines and the way she will take part in the life of the Institute during her waiting period.

 

THE LOCAL GROUP

 

11 (cf RoL, n° 88)

A new Group can be juridically constituted whenever five Sisters under vows reside in the same geographical area, be it either a city or a town or its surroundings. Of these five Sisters, two must be Definitively Incorporated with the acceptance of the Elder Sister and deliberative vote of the Central Council, and once the Sisters of that territory have been consulted.

Moreover, before it can be juridically constituted, a new Group must have reached an adequate autonomy as far as formation and organization are concerned, so that fraternal life according to our Rule of Life can be guaranteed.

A similar course of action will be taken by the Elder Sister when she has to dissolve a Group with the deliberative vote of her Council.

 

12 (cf RoL, n° 88)

The Sisters with accepted application, or with the Promise, or under Vows, who reside in territories or places which are far away from any established Group, are under the immediate authority of the Elder Sister who, if she wants so, may perform this duty through one of her Delegates.

 

13 (cf RoL, n° 89) – Elections of the Sister in Charge of a Group

The election of the Sister in Charge of a Group and of her Council is convoked by the Elder Sister, after consulting her Council.

Once she has received the letter calling the election, the Sister in Charge of a Group whose office is about to end will gather the Sisters of the Group, before the deadline given by the Central Council.

An absolute majority is required for the election. The ballots may not exceed three:

On the first ballot, any Sister under vows may be voted for;

On the second ballot, the three Sisters who received the highest number of votes in the first ballot may be voted for;

On the event of a third ballot, the two Sisters who received the highest number of votes in the second ballot may be voted for.

Whenever the number of votes is equal for the two sisters, preference is given to the elder by consecration. If they are equal even in this, then preference is to be given to the elder by age.

The Sisters who are not able to take part personally in the meeting, may cast their written vote only in the first ballot.

 

 

14 (cf RoL, n° 89) – Elections of the Councillors of a Group

The members of the Local Council are to be elected one at a time. To be elected, an absolute majority is required. For each of them, the following procedure is to be followed:

On the first ballot, any Sister under vows may be voted for;

On the second ballot, the two Sisters who received the highest number of votes in the first ballot may be voted for;

Whenever the number of votes is equal for the two sisters, preference is given to the elder by consecration. If they are equal even in this, then preference is to be given to the elder by age.

The elected Sisters, after accepting the office, are to be confirmed by the Elder Sister, according to n° 105 of the Rule of Life.

 

15 (cf RoL, n° 92c)

Should problems arise as far as the frequency of meetings is concerned, the Sister in Charge of a Group will relate them to the Elder Sister who, after consulting her Council, will suggest a solution.

 

16 (cf RoL, n° 92g)

Every three months as a rule, the Sister in Charge of a Group shall report about her office to her Immediate Sister in Charge (cf RoL, n° 94) and exchange views with her through the Dialogue.

Through the Immediate Sister in Charge, she shall present in writing to the Central Council a quadrennial programme of activities and its assessment, according to what the General Assembly has decreed, and also to the directives given by the Elder Sister and her Council.

Through the Immediate Sister in Charge, she shall present in writing to the Central Council a yearly programme of activities and its assessment, that she thinks suitable for the Group and its needs.

 

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

 

17 (cf RoL, n° 97e)

Apart from the Rule of Life, it lies within the jurisdiction of the General Assembly to approve and to change any other legislative text. For their approval, an absolute majority is required.

Practical Norms, Decrees and Deliberations remain effective unless otherwise decided.

 

18 (cf RoL, n° 99)

The following members of RM will take part in the General Assembly:

one representative elected from each and every Group which has been juridically constituted;

one representative, however designated, from each and every presence which has not been yet juridically constituted as a group;

the Sisters who live far away from Groups and are under the direct authority of the Elder Sister;

some representatives, elected from a single list according to the percentage decided by the Council (cf PN n° 19).

 

19 (cf RoL, n° 99)

The Elder Sister, with a deliberative vote of the Central Council, will decide the percentage of the representatives, increasing by 10% the percentage of the members by right.

In order to elect the representatives, the following procedures are to be followed:

each Group which has been juridically constituted elects its own representative;

each group which has not been yet juridically constituted elects its own representative;

the Elder Sister inquires whether the Sisters who live far away from Groups will be able to take part in the General Assembly;

then the Elder Sister defines the single list, including all the Sisters with the exception of the members by right, the Sisters who live far away from Groups, the members-elected and the members-designated;

representatives are to be elected by all the Sisters with the exception of the members by right, the members-elected and the members-designated; each Sister will choose from the list as many names as the number of the representatives to be elected.

If out of serious reasons a Sister who has been elected is prevented from taking part in the Assembly, the first of the Sisters who have not been elected will take her place.

 

20 (cf RoL, n° 99)

In order for all sisters to be involved in the General Assembly, this procedure is to be followed:

When she convokes the General Assembly, the Elder Sister will send the ballot-papers to all the Sisters who are supposed to vote for the Representatives (cf PN n° 19), clearly indicating the date by which they must be returned.

At least three months in advance of the General Assembly, the Elder Sister will send to all the Sisters the preparatory material and she will invite the Sisters who will take part in the Assembly to consult all the others; she will also invite the Sisters who have not been elected to send proposals, according to what suggested by the Code of Canon Law.

The General Assembly’s final act will be a mandate for all the Sisters who have taken part in it to report to the Sisters who have not taken part in it, on both the discussion and the decisions taken, so that these may help everybody to grow and may be put into practice by all.

 

 

THE TERRITORIAL MEETING

 

21 (cf RoL, n° 100)

The Territorial Meeting is prepared and presided by an Elder Sister’s Delegate, who will involve in its preparation the Local Groups’ Sisters in Charge or the Sisters of that specific Geographical Area.

It is convoked every year, at least three months in advance, by the Elder Sister, after consulting the Council. Its aims are:

to share long moments of prayer, to take part in the Spiritual Retreat, as well as in human-social-ecclesiastical formative meetings promoted by the Family;

to take decisions about the updating programme;

to take decisions on how the general programme is to be carried out according to the Territory’s needs;

to study and foster local initiatives so that we may be present in the Church, within the Servite Family and in the world;

to study and foster initiatives to be used in vocational promotion;

to take notice of local economical situations and to suggest possible solutions;

to examine – with the sole presence of the Sisters under Vows – important matters of the life of the Institute, and to suggest solutions;

to give directives on the frequency of that specific Geographical Area’s Local Groups’ meetings.

 

22 (cf RoL, n° 100)

All the Sisters under vows of a specific Geographical Area will take part in its Territorial Meeting.

Sisters from other Geographical Areas, Candidates, Associates, sympathizers and friends may take part in it too.

 

23 (cf RoL, n° 100)

One or more Sisters will be the Secretary, the Chronicle-Writer and the Treasurer of the Territorial Meeting.

 

 

THE ELDER SISTER

 

24 (cf RoL, n° 102)

The election of the Elder Sister and of her Council is convoked by the Elder Sister whose office is about to end, together with her Council, six months in advance of the date on which the General Assembly will take place.

It is held during the General Assembly, after the discussion of the Elder Sister’s Report, of the Council’s Report and of the General Treasurer’s Report.

All the Sisters present on the day and in the place indicated in the summons can vote.

In order to elect the Elder Sister the ballots may not exceed four:

On the first two ballots, any Sister under vows may be voted for. A two thirds (2/3) majority is required;

On the third ballot, any Sister under vows may be voted for. An absolute majority is required.

On the fourth ballot, the two Sisters who received the highest number of votes in the third ballot may be voted for. The Sister who receives more votes is elected.

Whenever the number of votes is equal for the two sisters, preference is given to the elder by consecration. If they are equal even in this, then preference is to be given to the elder by age.

The counting of the votes is public.

 

25 (cf RoL, n° 103c)

The Elder Sister may delegate one of the Members of the Central Council, or the Delegate for the Geographical Area, or one Sister with Definitive Incorporation to receive the Promise and to preside at the profession of the First as well as Perpetual Vows.

 

26 (cf RoL, n° 103d)

The Elder Sister may delegate one of the Members of the Central Council, or the Delegate for the Geographical Area, or one Sister with Definitive Incorporation, or the Religious Assistant, either General or Local, or another priest, to preside at the renewal of the Annual Vows.

 

27 (cf RoL, n° 105b)

Every four years, while drawing up the general outline of the programme for the whole Institute, the Elder Sister with her Council, after considering the formative needs of the Sisters and the real possibilities for the Sisters of gathering together, defines the Territories’ boundaries and their width, as well as the Groups’ composition.

 

28 (cf RoL, nn° 94, 105c)

The Elder Sister, after consulting each and every Group’s Sister in Charge, and with the Central Council’s consultation, appoints one of the Members of the Council or one of her Delegates as the Immediate Sister in Charge of a Group’s Sister in Charge. She will have to report about the Group directly to the Council. She will also report to the Elder Sister – every three months – about the fulfilment of her own task.

 

 

29 (cf RoL, n° 106c)

As long as she remains in office, the Elder Sister may appoint one Sister with Definitive Incorporation as her Delegate for the Territories not yet juridically constituted, with the following duties:

to help the Sisters in their early formative cycles, up to their Definitive Incorporation;

to preside at Promises and First Vows;

to preside, upon request, at Perpetual Vows;

to preside at the renewal of Annual Vows;

to preside the Territorial Meeting;

to carry out the tasks as of nn° 79 and 92e, f, h of the Rule of Life;

to carry out Fraternal Dialogue with the single Sisters.

 

30 (cf RoL, n° 106p)

At the beginning of each quadrennial period, and whenever it may be necessary, it is one of the duties of the Elder Sister, with a deliberative vote of the Central Council, to define and update the amounts permitted for expenditure that the Group’s Sisters in Charge, the Members of the Council who are Immediate Sisters in Charge, the Delegate for the Territories not yet juridically constituted, the Elder Sister or the Central Council itself may grant, as far as unforeseen expenses are concerned.

 

 

THE CENTRAL COUNCIL

 

31 (cf RoL, n° 108)

The election of the members of the Elder Sister’s Council takes place during the General Assembly. Only the Sisters who are present at the Assembly with the right to vote can take part in it.

An absolute majority is required for the election of each of the four Members of the Council. The ballots may not exceed three:

On the first ballot, any Sister under vows may be voted for;

On the second ballot, the five Sisters who received the highest number of votes in the first ballot may be voted for;

On the third ballot, the two Sisters who received the highest number of votes in the second ballot may be voted for.

Whenever the number of votes is equal for the two sisters, preference is given to the elder by consecration. If they are equal even in this, then preference is to be given to the elder by age.

 

GENERAL OFFICES

 

32 (cf RoL, n° 113)

The Sister in Charge of the General Formation promotes and co-ordinates Formation in all its phases, from First Formation up to Lifelong Formation.

Together with other Sisters whose job has to do with formation, she will draw up specific plans of Formation. She will also promote and co-ordinate all those activities related to foster vocational promotion.

 

33 (cf RoL, n° 114)

The General Secretary may appoint one Sister as the Chronicle Writer, for her to write the chronicle of the life of the Family at a general level:

General Assembly;

Sisters’ in Charge Meetings;

Ecclesiastical or social events which directly involve either RM as an Institute or its single members;

Relevant events in the life of the Family.

This appointment is to be confirmed by the Elder Sister.

 

34 (cf RoL, n° 114)

The General Secretary has the task of keeping up-to-date the Archive which contains the documents which are being currently used (‘Current Archive’).

The Archivist has the task of keeping up-to-date the Archive which contains more recent documents (‘Recent Archive’) as well as the Historical Archive (containing very old documents), and in particular she has to:

preserve and catalogue all documents;

make all documents easy accessible;

highlight the relevant stuff and make it circulate, so that the past may be kept alive in the present, and may help us prepare for the future.

The Archivist is appointed by the Elder Sister, after consulting her Council. The term of office is four years; it may be renewed once, and, in exceptional circumstances, up to four consecutive terms of office.

The Archivist may choose some Sisters as her collaborators, but their appointment is to be confirmed by the Elder Sister.

 

 

35 (cf RoL, n° 114)

Even though they are autonomous in their service, the General Secretary, the Chronicle Writer and the Archivist must co-operate one with the other, as well as with the Local Secretaries, so that the history and memory of the Institute can be passed on and handed down in its wholeness and unity.

 

36 (cf RoL, n° 116)

At the beginning of their term of office, the Sisters in Charge of General Offices will present in writing to the Central Council a programme of activities, while at the end of their term, an assessment of their work.

Moreover, whenever they may be requested to do so, the Sisters in Charge of General Offices report to the Elder Sister and to her Council.

 

 

 

 

 

THE ASSOCIATES

 

37 (cf RoL, n° 118)

According to the Church’s directives (cf canon 725 CIC), single people and married couples may be associated to the Institute, responding to God’s call and committing themselves to lead a life according to the Gospel as far as their own state of life allows so, in order for them to share the Institute’s spirituality and to co-operate in its mission, following their proper Statutes approved by the same Institute.

The Institute will grant them the Associate status when, after receiving an adequate formation, they will commit themselves to be faithful to their own Statutes, following RM’s spirituality.

It will be advisable to plan common meetings and initiatives, where fraternal communion can be put into practice, but always respecting to the full the single vocations, identities and autonomy of both RM members and RM Associates. Thus it will be possible to make the most of their respective features, which will be at the service of the common good.

It is one of the rights of the Elder Sister, after consulting the Central Council, to accept or reject the applications to become Associate Members.

 

UPDATING THE RULE OF LIFE

 

38 (cf RoL, n° 119)

When changes to the Rule of Life have been approved, the General Assembly will also decide, by a qualified majority vote, whether it is better to ask the ecclesiastical authority to grant a definitive approbation or an approbation ‘ad experimentum’. In this case, the Assembly will also decide the length of time for the term ‘ad experimentum’.

 

 

 

 

DOCUMENT ON ‘DIALOGUE’

- Nature, methodology and bonds in RM -

 

When we engage in a Dialogue with the other Sisters, this is a sign of our faith in the power of the Word of God; a sign of our trust, on friendship and fraternity; a sign that we recognise that the other is indeed authoritative either because of her gifts and / or because of her office; a sign that we acknowledge our own state of need.

 

We may engage in three kinds of dialogue with a triple title:

Formative Dialogue: compulsory and creating specific bonds;

Fraternal Dialogue: compulsory with a personal conformation;

Spiritual Dialogue: upon request.

 

The Code of Canon Law and the Rule of Life does not say anything in detail about dialogue, so our own particular law can define some norms on the matter.

 

1. Formative Dialogue

Through the Formative Dialogue, the Sister in Charge of Formation or the Immediate Sister in Charge will guide the Sister through the earlier cycles of Formation, up to the Definitive Incorporation. The Formative Dialogue is both a personal pedagogical help and an institutional means (for instance, in order to officially communicate something to the Sister prior to a rite of passage). RoL nn°. 66, 69, 75, 76, 81; CIC canons 722 (implicit), 724 (implicit).

 

 

2. Fraternal Dialogue

Each Sister shall engage in a Fraternal Dialogue with her Immediate Sister in Charge (either appointed or elected). The Fraternal Dialogue is part of Lifelong Formation. When it is not possible to carry out what the Rule of Life prescribes, exemptions will be granted on a personal basis. Any possible solution must be adequate and justified, and maintain the nature and goals of this specific kind of Dialogue. (RoL n° 92 a, b, g; 95; 106d)

Fraternal Dialogue is compulsory. Its aims are: assessment (RoL nn° 20, 27, 49, 63, 91g, 97a); encouragement (RoL nn° 60, 63, 66, 92b); fraternal correction (RoL nn° 42 -implicit-, 63).

Should it be necessary to do so, the Council will appoint some Sisters with Definitive Incorporation to carry out Fraternal Dialogue.

 

3. Spiritual Dialogue

The Spiritual Dialogue is equal to ‘Spiritual Direction’. It is recommended as a free choice on the part of the Sisters, according to canon 719, § 4: “They [members of Secular Institutes] are to obtain freely necessary direction of conscience and to seek counsel of this kind even from the moderators, if they wish.”

 

 

Supplements – November 3, 2002

Central Council at Montesenario

 

Ratification on behalf that exemptions must be considered exceptional, on what regards the request to engage in a Fraternal Dialogue (as established by the RoL) with a Sister different from one’s own Immediate Sister in Charge.

 

Completed last part of point 2.Fraternal Dialogue on what established by the General Assembly’s 1999-2002 Report (DIALOGO – Italian Edition – p. 40) as follows: “The Sister who, after an interview, has been granted an exemption (cf RoL, n° 105i), will engage in a Fraternal Dialogue with a Member of the Central Council or with a Group’s Sister in Charge.”

 

 

DECREES

 

Decrees about the House

1.

The Family’s House is the place of the community: it is open to, and may be used by, all the Sisters.

It is directly managed by the Elder Sister with her Council; they are not obliged to reside in it, though.

The Family’s Archive is kept in it.

 

2.

The House is the Sisters’ own meeting place; Sisters may be accommodated in it, as well as friends – these only occasionally, though.

Its distinctive marks should be simplicity and sobriety.

Sisters who wish to do so, may establish a fraternity in it, in line with Regnum Mariae’s lifestyle.

 

Decrees about the Religious General Assistant,

Religious Local Assistants,

and the procedures for their appointment

 

3.

Regnum Mariae’s Sisters think it would be advisable for one of the Servite Friars to be appointed Religious General Assistant, so that by his fraternal presence and spiritual help he may support them in keeping the Servite charisma alive.

The General Assistant will take part in the Family’s meetings; if the Elder Sister invites him, he will also take part as an adviser in General Assemblies, the Central Council’s meetings and meetings for the Sisters in Charge. He will have only the right to speak, not to vote.

 

4.

After informing the General Assembly and getting advice from it, the Elder Sister with her Council – keeping in mind the needs of the Institute – will try to find a suitable Servite Father to serve as their Religious General Assistant for the ensuing four years. After getting the Prior General’s consent, she will propose him for the office to the Archbishop of Ancona who, in his turn, will appoint him.

 

5.

In the light of past years’ experience, Regnum Mariae thinks advisable to keep on co-operating with the Servite Friars in the different Geographical Areas in order to be helped on what regards:

a. deepen RM’s knowledge;

b. foster communion between single local RM groups and all the others;

c. keep the Marian-Servite charisma alive by learning about the history of the Servite Order, their spirituality, liturgy and devotion;

d. foster communion between a local RM group and all the other expressions of the Servite Family present in that specific area;

e. promote the local group’s fraternal life and growth by helping it become autonomous;

f. foster vocations, and help people to discern their vocation.

At the start of her four-year office, the Elder Sister, after an evaluation with her Council, will address these Friars and their respective Prior Provincials for an official request for co-operation.

 

6.

It is one of the Elder Sister’s duties, together with her Council, to promote relations between the Religious General Assistant and the Local ones.

 

Decree on the juridical situation of the Sisters who reside

in those territories which are not yet juridically constituted

 

7.

Candidates whose application has been accepted, as well as Sisters with the Promise or under vows, who reside in those territories not yet juridically constituted, are under the direct authority of the Elder Sister. She may appoint another Sister as her Delegate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DELIBERATIONS

 

1. – Perpetual Incorporation

The General Assembly entrusts the Central Council the task of substituting the expression “Perpetual Incorporation” with “Perpetual Vows”.

 

2. – Coherence in documents as a whole

The General Assembly entrusts the Central Council the task of making the entire principle’s document coherent as a whole in structure.

 

3. – Request for approval ‘ad experimentum’ of present changes

The General Assembly entrusts the Central Council the task of submitting for confirmation to the competent ecclesiastical authority the approval “ad experimentum” until 2014 of all modified articles on the Rule of Life during the General Assembly 2006.

 

 

STATUTES FOR THE ASSOCIATES

(Chapter XVIII, RoL n° 118)

 

1.

The Associates are a group of people (married couples, separated people, widows, single men or women, secular priests, and so on) who commit themselves to live Regnum Mariae’s spirituality (a Marian-Servite spirituality lived in the world), sharing it with us, as far as their state of life allows them to do.

 

2.

The first seven articles of the Rule of Life will be used for their formation. A selection of the existing formative texts may be used too.

 

3.

The Associate Members may take part in some of our meetings, either local or general, such as retreats, social-political-ecclesiastical up-dating formation, spiritual retreats and so on.

 

4.

The Associate Members co-operate with the Institute, as far as they can.

 

 

GLOSSARY

 

In the light of RM’s present situation, the phrase “geographical areas” means “continents” where the Sisters live:

Europe (Italy and Spain)

Asia (the Philippines)

America (Mexico and Canada)

 

Territorial Meeting” refers to the “geographical area”.

 

The term “Territory” has also been employed to refer to cities / towns and their surroundings, where a local fraternity (“Group”) can prosper.

 

 

 

Index

 

SECULAR INSTITUTE «REGNUM MARIAE»

RULE OF LIFE

 

Act of Incorporation of the Secular Institute “Regnum Mariae”

to the Order of the Servants of Mary 3

 

Decree of Constitution of the Secular Institute

«Regnum Mariae» 5

 

THE LIFE STYLE OF THOSE WHO BELONG

TO THE «REGNUM MARIAE» 8

 

I. The «Regnum Mariae», 9; II. Consecrated Chastity, 11; III. Simplicity of Life, 13; IV. Life of Obedience, 15; V. Life of Prayer, 17; VI. Living in Communion with Others, 19; VII. Life in the World, 21.

 

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE MEMBERS 23

 

VIII. General Principles, 24; IX. Our Sisters in Charge, 27; X. Candidates, 28; XI. Periods of Formation, 29.

 

ORGANIZATION OF «REGNUM MARIAE» 32

 

XII. General Principles, 33; XIII. Local Group, 36; XIV. General Assembly, 38; XV. The Elder Sister, 40; XVI. The Central Council, 43; XVII. General Offices, 45; XVIII. Associate Members, 47; XIX. Updating the Rule of Life, 47.

 

Epilogue 48

 

Brief Historical Notes 49

 

PRACTICAL NORMS 51

 

Periods of Formation, 52; General Principles, 53; The Local Group, 54; The General Assembly, 56; The Territorial Meeting, 58; The Elder Sister, 59; The Central Council, 61; General Offices, 62; The Associates, 64; Updating the Rule of Life, 64.

 

Document on ‘Dialogue’ – Nature, methodology

and bonds in RM - 65

 

Decrees 67

 

Deliberations 69

 

Statutes for the Associates 70

 

Glossary 71

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES

 

The present Rule of Life has been issued under experimental character by the 1970 General Assembly.

 

The text, integrated and radically modified in some of its parts regarding its literary style by the 1976 General Assembly, has been reviewed by the 1982 General Assembly and approved by the Congregation for Religious and for Secular Institutes (today Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life) in February 1983.

 

The 2006 General Assembly, after various years of work and study, reflection and confrontation, has modified the texts of the Rule of Life from chapter XI (Periods of Formation) to chapter XIX (Updating the Rule of Life). The new texts have been approved and sent to the legally qualified ecclesiastical authority that, on its turn, has approved them with the formula “ad experimentum” until 2014.

 

Those modifications have been necessary in order to:

update the language in reference to the Canon Law;

answer to the new demands of an Institute that from Italian has changed into an International one.

August 2006