The Constitution and the Statutes

of the Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation

Established by the General Chapter


F. Of the Founding and Suppression of Monasteries

1. Of the Establishment of a Dependent Monastery

C58 1) Before a dependent monastery is established, the consent of the chapter of the founding monastery and the written consent of the bishop in whose diocese the monastery is to be founded are required. When such a foundation is being made, the abbot president is to be notified.

2) A legitimately established monastery, whether autonomous or dependent, has the right to have a church or public oratory attached to the house, and its monks have the right to exercise the sacred ministry and charitable works (CIC 609, 673, 678, 1214-1215).

C59 No monastery shall be founded unless it can be prudently judged that the support of the monks will be properly assured, either from its own revenues or from some other source, and unless there is realistic hope that through an increase in the number of monks coming from the founding monastery or through a sufficient number of persevering and suitable novices entering the foundation itself, it can in due course of time become an autonomous monastery (CIC 610).

S59 1) When the conditions set down in C 58.1 and C 59 have been satisfied, the abbot of the founding monastery should select suitable and willing monks, appoint their superior, and send them to establish the dependent monastery. These monks must learn about conditions peculiar to the region and must investigate the laws and customs of the people. While they adapt themselves to the situation there, they shall live the common life and observe regular discipline.

2) The prior of a dependent house, by virtue of his appointment, receives from the abbot the delegated jurisdiction necessary to serve that house. The monks of such a house retain the right of recourse to their abbot, but the command of the prior is not suspended in the meantime.

3) The monks of a dependent house retain their capitular rights in the monastery of their profession until the foundation has been erected as an autonomous monastery and they have transferred their stability to it.

S60 1) In a dependent house, consent to admit candidates to the novitiate, to authorize their continuing in the novitiate, to admit novices to temporary profession and temporarily professed monks to solemn profession is expressed first by the vote of the capitulars residing there (the quasi chapter). If the capitulars in the dependent house have given their consent, the matter may then be submitted to the chapter of the founding house, whose consent must be obtained unless the following provision of S 60.2 obtains.

2) If the chapter of the founding monastery has given its consent by so voting with a two-thirds majority, the quasi chapter of its dependent house may legitimately function as the chapter whose consent the abbot must have in order to admit candidates to the novitiate, to authorize their continuing in the novitiate, to admit novices to temporary profession and temporarily professed monks to solemn profession in the dependent house.

S61 Because of the diversity of local conditions, cultural, religious, and social, the monks of a new foundation shall draw up their own Customary, which must be approved by the abbot of the founding monastery. In addition to the specific norms prescribed by the abbot for all the monks of the founding monastery wherever they may be, the monks of the new foundation shall follow their own Customary.

2. Of the Erection of an Autonomous Monastery

C60 When it is reasonably sure that a dependent house is capable of independent existence, the abbot of the founding monastery, if he has the consent of his chapter and of the abbot president and his council, as well as the written consent of the bishop of the diocese in which the dependent house is situated, may establish that house as an autonomous monastery.

S62 When a monastery becomes autonomous, it may be erected either as a conventual priory, if it has at least nine solemnly professed monks, or as an abbey, if it has at least twelve solemnly professed monks.

C61 The chapter of a newly autonomous monastery has the right to elect its major superior. The abbot of the founding monastery has the right of presiding at the first such election and of confirming it; any postulation is to be made according to the norms of CIC 180-183 and S 20.

S63 A founding monastery has no right, on grounds either of justice or of charity, to demand from a monastery which it has established repayment of any money spent in making the foundation, unless the chapter of the founding monastery voted to give the money under such a condition and the quasi chapter of the new monastery voted to accept the money on those terms.

3. Of the Suppression of an Autonomous Monastery

S64 If the number of perpetually professed monks becomes fewer than nine in a conventual priory, or fewer than twelve in an abbey, the title, rights, and privileges of the conventual priory or abbey as an autonomous house do not cease; nor are they suspended.

C62 If it becomes necessary to suppress a conventual priory or an abbey, the suppression is legitimately effected by decree of the abbot president with his council's consent, after he has consulted the chapter of the autonomous house in question and the bishop of the diocese in which it is located. (CIC 616)

S65 The monks of a suppressed house and its goods may be incorporated into some other autonomous monastery. Otherwise, after just debts have been paid, the goods of the suppressed monastery shall, by determination of the president and his council, with due regard for the wishes of the founders or donors and for legitimately acquired rights, be distributed equitably among the monasteries receiving the surviving monks of the suppressed monastery. An equitable share shall also be provided to any surviving member who leaves the monastic state at the time of his monastery's suppression.


G. Of Mission Priories

C63 Wherever several monks live together away from the monastery, they constitute a mission priory or fraternity and are obligated to some degree of common life and common prayer, to be determined by their abbot in consultation with them.



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Rev. 08 Apr 2009 |