List of circular Letters by Dom Ambrose



Dec. 3rd 1981


Dear Reverend Father

Dear Reverend Mother,

As you know, the General Chapters of 1980 and 1981 both agreed in principle to the holding of a mixed meeting of the Abbots and Abbesses. However, the Abbots did not want it to take place before 1986, while the Abbesses took a series of votes about the date. These votes are easy to reconcile with each other, but in one of them the Abbesses said they thought it desirable that the mixed meeting should take place before the official approval of the new Constitutions (vote n.46).

During the recent meeting of the Consilium Generale it was pointed out that our Constitutions may be ready for approval in 1984. So this raised the question as to whether the Abbesses should be acted upon. After a long discussion, the Consilium took a vote and the result ( 8-8 ), while not accepting the Abbesses proposal, showed that it had strong support. In a further vote the Consilium Generale suggested to the Abbot General that he should hold a meeting composed of his four Permanent Councillors and four nuns to make a final decision.

After reflection, I find myself very hesitant about adopting this suggestion. Instead, I am sending to the Superior of each monastery the enclosed short questionnaire so that he or she may be able to express an opinion.

It should be remembered that both Chapters also voted that a legislative Chapter of each branch will be held in conjunction with the so-called "summit meeting". Furthermore, the Abbots decided to have their next Chapter in North America while the Abbesses opted for Spain.

I would be grateful if you would reply to the following questions and send your answer to me at Monte Cistello to arrive there before February 10th. Please use the enclosed envelope.

With every good wish,

Ambrose Southey



1)         I am in favour of a meeting between all the Abbots and Abbesses to be held in 1984

                                   YES        NO

2)         I want to maintain the vote about having a legislative Chapter for my own branch of the Order in conjunction with the General meeting.

                                   YES        NO

3)         If the majority vote positively for 2) above, the meeting and Chapter will take place in

                          NORTH AMERICA         SPAIN

                          ROME                  ELSEWHERE

4)         If the majority want a mixed meeting in 1984, but without Chapters, where should it take place?

5)         If the results of this questionnaire are not conclusive, the Abbot General should make the final decision, helped by a mixed commission - 4 Permanent Councillors and 4 nuns.

                                    YES        NO

6)         (For Abbesses only) - Would you please suggest 4 nuns to be invited to the mixed commission mentioned in 5) ?