France

In application of a decision of the General Chapter (2006), the Province of France became the Delegation of France on Sept. 1, 2009. This  status, better adapted to its situation, was prepared by a series of projects studied in several provincial assemblies held beforehand. The final draft was adopted by the Assembly in November 2008. After some detailed modifications, the text was recognized ad experimentum by the Superior General and his Council. The 2012 General Chapter authorized its extension for another six years.

The Religious and lay Viatorians of France, who remain legally distinct, deepen their spiritual life, their individual and community apostolic commitments, and strengthen and extend the network of charity that unites them as collaborators in the mission. According to the status of the delegation, they “support each other in the same community to which they bring the complementarity of the different states of life for the implementation of the same charism” (Article 5). This means “Community” in the broad sense and not “living together under one roof.”

The Delegation Council is composed of a religious superior, appointed by the Superior General after consultation with the members of the delegation, two religious and two lay persons. Both are appointed by the Superior General and the Delegation Superior. The area of competence of this Council “covers the life and functioning of the Viatorian community of France, but not what universal law and particular law reserve for the Congregation” (Article 14) which is the sole responsibility of the Council of Religious and their Chapter.

The General Assembly of the delegation, which meets at least once a year for a session of a certain duration, addresses issues that affect the life and future of the Viatorians of France. The priorities chosen by the Delegation Council were given content around listening, innovation and fraternity. Another has addressed the issue of training (initial and continuing) and has formed a committee to study the participation of the Viatorian community in the operating costs. A third evaluated, in some detail, the early years of the delegation’s life and gave concrete consideration to the sharing of operating costs and its budget.

The Viatorians of France are a group of about 40 religious and 25 lay associates. The establishment of the delegation did not provoke any resistance among them; everything took place in a calm atmosphere and without any particular obstacles. The communities have opened up to meetings and exchanges, to lectio divina, either in local communities or between the sector or delegation communities…

The Viatorians of the delegation cannot do without a reflection on their specificity. Religious Viatorians must look at the meaning of being religious today. What is the meaning of vows and religious life? They must also discern personal and community challenges, open up to new forms of community life. For their part, the lay Viatorians have to continue their ”lay” rereading of the viatorian charism. Each person, in his or her own commitments, is invited to develop a deep and renewed Viatorian spiritual life.