Rediscovering “an idea dear to Fr. Louis Querbes,” the General chapter of 1978 gave new life to the “lay catechists” that our founder had imagined, but that historical circumstances had prevented him from realizing. From now on, the Congregation could include associates who, without having made vows, would commit themselves to participate in its mission, its spirituality and its community life.
The General Chapter of 1994, going a little further, articulates the experience of the Viatorian Community. In the spirit of the promotion of the laity wanted by the Second Vatican Council, this General Chapter declares that “the religious and the associates become from now on heirs of right of the charism of the founder and co-responsible for its development” (DC 5, 1994).
The Viatorian Community took shape and became an entity that includes both religious and associates, and gradually built its own organization according to the recommendations of the General Chapter of 2000. Representatives of the entire Viatorian Community met in July 2006 for a 1st International General Assembly. This one developed a Charter of the Viatorian Community. The 28th General Chapter of the Congregation that ensued approved, ad experimentum, this Charter, allowed a deepening of the experience already begun.
The 2nd General Assembly of the Viatorian Community took place in Bogotá (Colombia) from Feb. 2-9, 2011. It corrected the text of the Charter so that this document would reflect as much as possible the reality of the Viatorian Community and help Viatorians to remain faithful to their charism. The 29th General Chapter, held in 2012, approved this revised Charter and authorized its publication for the entire Community.
The 3rd General Assembly, held in Guadarrama (Spain) in November, 2016, recommended to the Congregation of the Clerics of Saint Viator to officially recognize the Viatorian Community in its Constitution and to leave to the religious the choice to belong to the Viatorian Community. They also recognized the richness of the diversity of Viatorian communities and invited them to continue their experience. They finally reminded them that common perspectives should guide them to keep the unity of the community.
The 30th General Chapter of the Congregation of the Clerics of Saint Viator, held in 2018, modified the fundamental document of the institute, the Constitution, to officially recognize the existence of the Viatorian Community. At the time of this writing, the amendment to Article 5 of the Constitution is submitted to the Holy See for approval.
The experience of the Viatorian Community, launched more than 20 years ago, is therefore on the verge of being recognized. All members of the Viatorian Community express to God their gratitude for the gift of the Viatorian charism that He grants not only to religious but also to secular laity.