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Society of Saint Edmund General Council


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Society of Saint Edmund General Council, 1888-2006 | Saint Michael's College Archives & Special Collections

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Collection Overview

Title: Society of Saint Edmund General Council, 1888-2006

ID: SSE 3/

Extent: 2.0 Linear Feet

Arrangement: Arranged into two series: Minutes; Miscellaneous.

Languages: French, English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The General Council records consist of two series, Minutes and Miscellaneous.  The larger series is the minutes.  These minutes, which are arranged chronologically, are an excellent record of the Society.  Since the General Council has had final decision making on most issues affecting the society, the minutes document who would be accepted, what apostolates the Society would pursue, and how the Society would manage its resources and personnel.  Most of the minutes are handwritten and the earliest records are in French.  Most contain little apart from a record of decisions—there is rarely supporting documentation or  commentary on discussions around the decisions.

In addition to the minutes, there is also a miscellaneous series.  This series, arranged alphabetically, contains correspondence of some of the councilors, some records of meetings with local superiors, a few agendas and notes and research files. Most correspondence between a councilor and the Superior General is found with the Superior General Correspondence under SSE/General Council.

Collection Historical Note

The General Council of the Society of Saint Edmund is made up of elected members who assist the Superior General in the general administration of the Society.  The Superior General and his Council meet periodically to discuss issues pertaining to the Society or its apostolates.  The Superior General must seek the advice of the Council to determine the site of the Generalate, appoint a director, authorize a Superior to act as treasurer, appoint the Secretary General, or to accept the resignation of a general councilor, Treasurer General, Superior or Director of Novices.  Council advice is also needed to approve financial aid to a relative of a religious, to dispense a delegate from attending a chapter and to act on all other matters required by the constitutions or church law.

The earliest leaders of the Society did not have formal councils.  When Rev. Muard was elected for his second term as Superior of Pontigny in 1846, Rev. Pierre Boyer was elected to be his assistant.  When Boyer succeeded Muard as Superior in 1848, Boyer opted for two assistants.  Beginning in his second term he had three, and this was true of subsequent Superiors until 1913.  At that time, Superior General Jules Garnier opted to have only two.  By the time the Constitution of 1940 appeared, four general councilors were required, the same number required by the 1986 Constitutions, under which the Society currently operates.

According to the 1986 Constitutions, the general councilors should be “noted for their sound judgment, discretion, loyalty and competence.  They should be conversant with our apostolic works and sensitive to the needs of members.”  The first assistant assumes the duties of the Superior General in the case of the death, resignation, incapacity, or removal of the Superior General.  He is the first councilor elected of the four and must possess the same qualifications as the Superior General.  All other councilors must be perpetually professed for at least five years.

The Superior General keeps the minutes of the General Council, sets the agenda and maintains the correspondence.  Individual councilors may keep their own files, but the office of record is the Generalate.

Box and Folder Listing

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Box 1
Folder 1: Minutes 1888-1961
Folder 2: Minutes 1962-1969
Folder 3: Minutes Jan 1962-Aug 1970
Folder 4: Minutes Jan 1970-Dec 1972
Folder 5: Minutes 1973
Folder 6: Minutes 1974
Folder 7: Minutes 1975-76

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