Echoes. Files of the delegate to religious available for research. Posted on 5/7/2021
Files of the delegate to religious available for research
The Archives Service is pleased to announce that the files of the Delegate for Religious have been processed and that a collection guide is now available to researchers.
The Religious Delegate is the main liaison for the more than 2,000 men and women religious of the Archdiocese of Boston, serving as the main point of contact between religious communities and the Archbishop of Boston. Since May 1, 2019, the post has been held by Sister Germana Santos, FSP, who greatly contributed to the assessment and organization of the files of her predecessors.
The history of the office dates back to the 1960s when, following the conclusion of Vatican Council II in 1965, it became evident that a designated office was needed to facilitate communication between Church leaders and members of the Church. religious communities that serve in each diocese. To do this, the National Conference of Vicars for Religious (NCVR) was created in 1968, with the aim of defining the purpose of the office and defining the responsibilities and activities that the incumbent had to accomplish in order to achieve its objectives.
Shortly after the creation of the NCVR, an office of the Vicar of Religious was established in the Archdiocese of Boston. The role was clarified and expanded in a document of May 14, 1978 entitled “Mutuae Relationes”, co-authored by the Congregation for Religious and for Secular Institutes (today known as the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life) and the Congregation for Bishops.
The document declared that “it is desirable that the office of episcopal vicar for religious be set up in the diocese to render a service of collaboration, in this field, with the pastoral ministry of the bishop”.
He adds that “it is for each bishop of residence to clearly determine the specific competences of such an office and, after careful consideration, to entrust it to a competent person, well acquainted with religious life, who knows the appreciate and desire to see it prosper. ”The post should“ be established in the diocese to render a collaborative service, in this area, with the pastoral ministry of the bishop ”. Finally, he underlines that “the mandate of the episcopal vicar of religious congregations therefore consists in helping to accomplish a task which, by its nature, belongs exclusively to the bishop, that is to say to watch over the religious life of the bishop. diocese and integrate it into its complex. pastoral activities. “
As the name has since changed from Vicar for religious to Delegate for religious, the services provided by the office have continued to evolve over time. In addition to the primary role of facilitating communication between religious congregations and the archbishop, the delegate also serves as a resource for male and female congregations, keeping lists of all residences, ministerial assignments and active members within the archdiocese. .
The office also helps plan and coordinate special events, such as the annual meetings of major superiors of men and women religious and the Annual Collection of Retired Sisters each November, which directly benefits congregations, meeting the health needs of religious. retirees who served. within the Archdiocese of Boston. It is also the responsibility of the delegate to plan events and programs that promote awareness of the vocation to consecrated life, such as the celebration of the World Day for Consecrated Life on February 2 of each year and the jubilee celebrations for the brothers and sisters. sisters residing in the archdiocese.
This collection could be of interest to researchers wishing to examine the role of men and women religious in the archdiocese as well as those specifically interested in the role of Vicar / Delegate to Religious. The records include programs of events, material related to social issues for which religious communities have advocated, and other documents of an administrative nature. It should be noted that the Archdiocese does not keep personal registers of men and women religious, these registers can be requested from the specific community of the individual.
CHRISTINA STANKEWICZ IS ARCHIVIST FOR THE ARCHDIOCESE OF BOSTON.
Recent articles in the Culture and Events section