The Spiritual Family The Work

Message Concerning the First Family Assembly of the Spiritual Family The Work

From September 9 – 25, 2019, the first Family Assembly (General Chapter) of our Spiritual Family took place in the Thalbach Convent in Bregenz (Austria). The meeting was presided over by Father Johannes Freyer OFM, delegate of the Roman Congregation for Religious. In addition to the previous leadership of the community (five Sisters and five priests) and the two treasurers, ten Sisters and seven priests were elected and took part in the assembly as voting members. Members in a wider sense (married couples, single persons and diocesan priests) also actively participated for two days of the meeting. The Family Assembly began with a report of our two International Superiors (General Superiors) which gave an account of their service.

Constitutions and Guidelines

The Family Assembly’s first task consisted in revising the current constitutions. This revision was prepared over the course of two years by a theological and a Canon Law working group, assisted by external experts. The revisions were a necessary result of the development of the community and the conclusions of the apostolic visitation (2013 – 2014). The revised constitutions which were discussed and approved by the Family Assembly will now be submitted to the Holy See for approval according to the previsions of Canon Law.
In addition, new regulations for community life and for formation, guidelines for preventing and dealing with sexual abuse and sexualized violence, and revised guidelines for financial administration, were approved by the assembly Additional important subjects were discussed, including the situation of our lay Brothers; the care for elderly and sick members; the role of the members in the wider sense; and complementarity among the various members of The Work.


Another task of the Family Assembly was the election of the international superiors of the Sisters’ and the Priests’ Communities and their counselors for a term of eight years. These elections were presided over by Father Freyer, OFM as Delegate. Sr. Margaret Binder was elected international superior of the Sisters’ Community and Fr. Thomas Felder of the Priests’ Community. The elections were confirmed by the Holy See.

A Look Ahead

The members of the Family Assembly took stock of developments in the community and in this light sought to give guideposts for the future to the newly elected leadership. This first Family Assembly emphasized the significance of our mission as a Spiritual Family for the world and the Church of our times. The Spiritual Family The Work, along with the other new forms of consecrated life, is a sign of the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church today. We want to live our vocation with conviction and in fidelity to the gift God has given us through our Foundress, Mother Julia Verhaeghe. With faith in God and trust in the help of the Holy Spirit, we move into the future with confidence.
Bregenz, September 25, 2019
Fr. Georg Gantioler FSO
Press Officer