Superior General

A Superior General, or General Superior, is the leader or head of a religious institute in the Roman Catholic Church. The Superior General usually holds supreme executive authority in the religious order, while the general chapter has legislative authority.

The figure of Superior General first emerged in the Thirteenth Century with the development of the centralized government of the Mendicant Orders. The Friars Minor (Franciscans) organized their community under a Minister General, and the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) appointed a Master General.

Due to restrictions on women religious, especially the obligation of cloister for nuns, congregations of women were not initially able to organize with their own Superior General. In 1609, Mary Ward was the superior general of a religious institute that imitated the Jesuit model, but the institute was not accepted by the Roman Curia. It was in the Nineteenth Century that religious congregations of women were able to organize with a General Superior and the role is now very common. Mother Teresa, for example, was the Mother General of the Missionaries of Charity.

In canon law, the generic term Supreme Moderator is used instead of Superior General. Many orders and congregations use their own title for the person who holds this position. Some examples are:

  • Abbot general
  • Custos-general
  • Master general
  • Minister General
  • Mother General
  • Prior General
  • Rector general
  • General Director / Directress.

In many cases there is an intermediate level between the Superior General and the superior of the individual monasteries or of equivalent communities, often named the provincial superior.

Other articles related to "superior general, superiors, general, superior":

Seán Sammon
... York, November 26, 1947) is the former Superior General of the Marist Brothers order, a role he held from October 3, 2001 until 2009 ... As Superior General, he led the approximately 4500 Marist Brothers working around the world in their mission to "make Jesus known and loved", as per the maxim of their founder, Saint Marcellin Champagnat ... of the Poughkeepsie Province in 1987 and was elected president of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men Religious of the US ...
Domenico Pignatelli Di Belmonte
... Vicente and 3rd Marquess of Argençola, and General of the Imperial Cavalry ... He was General Commander of the Austrian Army at the Battle of Bitonto in 1734, during the War of Polish Succession, and was created a Knight of the Golden Fleece (Ritter des Orden ... appointed, variously, Secretary to the Superior General, Superior of SS ...
Adolfo Nicolás - Biography - Superior General of The Society of Jesus
... On the second ballot of the thirty-fifth General Congregation (GC XXXV) of the Society of Jesus, Nicolás was elected as the Order’s thirtieth Superior General on 19 January 2008 ... Many have marked the similarities between Nicolás and former Superior General Fr ... Japan Nicolás has described Arrupe, whom he had earlier had as Provincial Superior, as a "great missionary, a national hero, a man on fire" ...
Louis Le Hunsec
... From 1926 to 1950, he served as Superior General of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost ... On 26 July 1926, he was appointed superior general of the Holy Ghost Fathers ... He resigned as superior general of the Holy Ghost Fathers on 26 July 1950 ...

Famous quotes containing the words general and/or superior:

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    Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–1896)