Soeurs de Saint-Joseph de Cluny
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Government / Leadership

a mission of service

Leadership in the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Cluny is a ministry of service that is modeled on Jesus’ servant leadership and is at the service of the sisters, the community and the mission.


"I am among you as one who serves.” (Luke 22:27)

The spirit of Cluny governance

As our Constitutions state in the chapter on Spirituality and Mission of the Congregation:
from day to day Jesus Christ takes ever greater possession of us, prays in us and continues his own life in us.

It is from this basic stance of being ‘possessed’ by Jesus that we enter into the spirit of our governance.

United with Christ in seeking God’s Will, the exercise of authority in our congregation is:

  • A ministry of service modeled on Jesus’ servant leadership
  • At the service of the sisters and the mission of the congregation
  • Grounded in the common values of our Cluny culture:
    • a life based on gospel values
    • the search for the Will of God in all things
    • a profound belief in the dignity of each person
    • making God’s liberating love known throughout the world
    • a missionary spirit of availability
    • A shared responsibility, knowing that the final decision rests with authority.

Important Gatherings

Provincial Chapters

Each province / vice-province has a provincial chapters once every six years. The regions gather in an assembly. These gatherings are held during the year prior to a general chapter in order to:

  • elect delegates to represent the province at the general chapter
  • study and decide on proposals to be submitted to the general chapter
  • reflect on what concerns the religious, community and apostolic life of the province
  • review provincial directives and orientations The delegates to the provincial chapter are elected by the sisters of the province.

General Chapters

The general chapter is the collegial assembly of the representatives of the whole congregation, the living expression of its unity. Provincials are members by right. Delegates are elected at their provincial chapter. Taking place every six years, the general chapter has the power to:

  • provide directives and orientations for the whole congregation
  • define modifications in the constitutions (Rule of Life) with the approval of the Holy See (Vatican)
  • elect the superior general and her council

The Council of the Congregation

Bringing together the Superior General, the General Council, the representative of the congregation in Rome, the General Bursar and the General Secretary, as well as all provincial, vice-provincial and regional leaders, the Council of the Congregation is held every six years. It takes place between two general chapters. Its primary role is to study the evolution of the life of the congregation and to evaluate the implementation of decisions made at the general chapter.

The Superior General and the General Council

The Superior General: Sister Claire Houareau (Seychellois)

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Elected in May, 2012. The superior general is elected for six years by the general chapter. She governs with the help of a council composed of eight councillors. They too are elected for six years by the general chapter. The mission of the superior general and the general council is to maintain a sense of unity within the diversity of the congregation and to promote and organize collaboration among the sisters of the congregation.

The congregation is organized into provinces: this is a grouping of houses within a determined geographical area under the authority of a provincial superior, who is assisted by a council. With the province structure there is sufficient decentralization to permit the necessary adjustments according to circumstances and places. The congregation has thirty provinces worldwide.

Each of the thirty provinces has a specific councillor assigned to its region.

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From left to right: Sr Carmen Moranville (French) Sr Clare Stanley (Sierra Leonean); Sr Veronica Tyimuma (Angolan); Sr Maria Isabel Vazquez (Spanish)

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From left to right: Sr Bernadette Pinto (Indian); Sr Teresa Rai (Indian); Sr Matilde Faneca (Portuguese); Sr Joan Van der Zyden (Canadian)

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