Rule of the Fr. Founder
This Rule was integrated into the Constitutions of 1862 in the form of an Appendix with certain variations. Thus it was sent to Rome for approval in early 1863. This is the text presented in Appendix 1 of the Manual.
Later this Appendix disappeared as such and its content went on to form part of the text approved for ten years on 25 December 1865. Finally, it was permanently integrated into the text of the Constitutions when they were definitively approved on 11 February 1870 and when they were modified in 1924.
APPENDIX TO THE PREVIOUS CONSTITUTIONS OR A RULE FOR ASPIRANTS, THOSE BEING TESTED AND
STUDENTS OF OUR CONGREGATIONAND THEIR RESPECTIVE MASTERS
– 1 8 6 2 –
ON THE MASTER OF THOSE BEING TESTED
1. It is indispensable that the call of God to a ministry as sublime and important as the apostolic one be adorned with the virtues that make it effective; and since it is communally necessary for that end to be achieved for there to be a guide that teaches and directs, the Director General, with the Sub-director, will be choose to carry out this very important duty an individual in the Congregation who has the qualities of maturity, amiability, discretion, as well as the knowledge required for this office.
2. Obligations: The many obligations that the master of those being tested has may be reduced to three. The first is toward God and the Most Holy Virgin, to whom he must be very devoted in order to obtain that insight he needs in order to carry out his duties well.
3. The second is toward the Superior to whom he must be very faithful, always working subject to him, and never authorizing anything contrary to his dispositions or his expressed or presumed will.
4. The third is toward those in his charge, to whom he must be a Father, being much concerned over the health of their souls and bodies: a Master, teaching them the virtues by his words and example; a Doctor, diagnosing their ailments and prescribing remedies according to the illnesses and temperaments of each one.
5. For the body: He will see that they have what they need in regard to clothing as well as food; he will see if one works too much, if he studies in a bad physical position, if he studies during hours when it is forbidden; he will see if one is given to idleness or tends to be lazy; finally, he will see if anyone performs mortifications not authorized by the Constitutions without the Superior’s permission. He will also make sure that no one lacks recreation, which one needs to be healthy.
6. For the soul: with spirit he will give them ascetical conferences directed to their improvement and he will make sure that they do all their meditation, spiritual reading, Visits to the Blessed Sacrament and examens precisely. He will always be with them during recreation. He will infuse them with detachment from their native country, from their parents and relatives, with the spirit of mortification and self-denial. They must never have particular friendships and thus he will be very vigilant to see that these are avoided. He will scrupulously observe silence and he will not overlook anyone’s being in another’s room. He will also make sure each one has a different companion during recreation every day.
7. Those who are undergoing the year of testing merit his close attention because of the special temptations they are going through. Thus he must listen to them patiently, even though they may be childish or boring. He must encourage them and comfort them. He must give them sound and prudent advice. When he sees someone sad or preoccupied, he should call him immediately, examine the cause, and apply the appropriate remedy.
8. If he sees that someone lacks a vocation or has bad habits, he must watch him closely, take him aside and make appropriate reflections, and waste no time in letting the Superior know. He likewise will also frequently inform him regarding the talent, health and other qualities of each one. In order to do this he will keep records on all of them.
9. Finally, he must be a light, a guide, a father, a teacher and example to all of them. He can be certain that by doing so he will acquire great merit before God and the Congregation. But, since this duty is onerous, he can get help from an aide who is called the Assistant.
ON THE ASSISTANT
10. He will be chosen in the same way, and have the same spirit and qualities as the Master.
11. His duties consist in substituting for the Master, and, in the Master’s absence or incapacitation, doing what the Master has told him to do and later giving the Master an accounting of what happened and what he did. Making himself present just as if it were the Master himself that was there, the merit of both will be great; likewise, he would bear grave responsibility if he were to fail.
ON THE ASPIRANTS
12. Those who are approved for the Congregation are known by this name during the first 15 days of their stay in it.
13. Their tasks during this short period of time are: 1. Reading and getting to know the Constitutions and practices of the Institute. 2. Forming their spirit in accord with them, making spiritual exercises and, during them, making a general confession from the time they entered the age of reason. 3. Developing and writing down resolutions in keeping with the perfection their new sate requires. 4. Occupying their time with the rest of the tasks the Master determines.
14. They should be very obedient and submissive to him, while he himself or his Assistant will teach them lovingly and graciously everything appropriate in regard to morality, education, and material things; and if during these days they show promise of being suited to the Congregation the year of testing will began at their conclusion.
ON THOSE BEING TESTED
15. Nothing is more important for the Missionaries, nothing more essential, than to be adorned with every virtue. Without them, their talent is useless, their voice ineffective and their work in vain. Thus their desires, their primary attention must be directed toward obtaining them. And, since the year of testing is meant to lay the foundation for all these virtues, whether they are Priests, students or coadjutor brothers, they will make every effort to practice the most effective means to that end.
16. FAITH. Although they need all the virtues, they must nevertheless first of all attain a lively faith, since, besides not being able to please God without it, it is the basis for all the others. This is what burned in the Prophets, what made the Apostles fervent in the midst of persecution, torture and death. It is what mitigated the pains of the martyrs and made so many preachers embrace poverty, self-denial and sacrifice so wholeheartedly in order to extend and spread the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the missionaries must have it rooted in their souls and must live out of it. The Divine Master often preached it to those he chose as Missionaries and reproved them strongly whenever they wavered in it. Thus, faith must be ever active in those being tested for our Congregation. They must ask God for it and fall back on it when they feel beset by the world, the devil or the flesh.
17. TRUST. Secondly, they will have great trust in God, hoping that God will shower them with every grace, especially the ability needed for the exercise of the sacred ministry. Weakening of trust is surely the weapon that the devil uses against Missionaries most often. Therefore, trust must animate them even though the see themselves as lacking virtue, robustness or talent. They must remember that God is so powerful that he can raise children for Abraham out of stones, knows how to prophesy through sinful people, and, even through they are asses, is accustomed to choose weak and powerless instruments to confound the proud. Thus, even in their temptations to lack of trust, they must have recourse to that same God and they will say to themselves: the Lord who has chosen me will give me what I need; and if God finds me ill-equipped or ignorant, God’s providence will shine forth with even grater splendor.
18. HUMILITY. The third virtue the young Missionaries will make every effort to obtain will be humility, without which God will seem far away and they will curse prayer and deny God’s grace. The conceited preacher robs God of glory and idolizes himself. Thus, when he dies, he will be called a worker of iniquity, and God will say to him: You already have your reward. Thus they must run away from every praise of their own and refer everything to God, and quickly banish every thought that reeks of pride, self-centeredness or self-satisfaction. They will remember that they have nothing that they have not received and of which they must render an account. And for this reason, they will never despise anyone or put them down or insist on their own prerogatives.
19. 0BEDIENCE: The young Missionaries, having left the world behind, must leave their own will behind along with it in order that, having taken their place in the Congregation, each one can say, along with the Apostle: It is no longer I who live, but Christ that lives in me. In this way they will be perfect in obedience, which is so necessary and which the Constitutions quite specifically mandate. Consequently, in order to exercise this mother of virtues, as St. Augustine calls it, the will blindly heed and obey, with promptness and joy, the things they are commanded, even though these may not be to their liking. Therefore, they will wholeheartedly submit themselves not only in practicing virtue, but also in everything that pertains to material works and studies, whether these are a review of things from the past, or the acquisition of new ones.
20. RIGHTNESS OF INTENTION: The new Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary must always have God’s glory as their guide and purpose. This must be the goal toward which they direct all their actions. Rightness of intention is the soul of all they do. Thus, whether they are preaching or praying or eating or having recreation, they are always promoting God’s glory, by which they will grow in merit and holiness and will be worthy of God’s grace.
21. PRAYER. What the Missionaries Being Tested must never neglect, what deserves their special attention and care, what they must practice without slackening or lukewarmness is holy prayer, which both during this year of testing and as students, they will do by themselves or in common, as the Superior determines; but always heeding what the spiritual masters prescribe and what the Congregation customarily does. The Superior General will order what is to be done during the year of testing, and, besides morning prayer, he will also indicate the devotions, readings and spiritual practices and the hours they must do, so that both during their testing and as students, they will make the best use of their time.
22. FIDELITY TO VOCATION. Finally, Those Being Tested will remember that the vocation to the missionary state is a particular gift from God. It is a calling to a more divine state, to which Jesus promised a hundredfold in this world and eternal life in the next. But they also must know that salvation depends on vocation, thus the Apostle exhorts remaining in it: To whatever vocation one is called, let him remain in it. And he says in another place: Those he called he also justified and those he justified he glorified. From this follows the need to remain faithful to one’s vocation, on which, St. Jerome says, one’s eternity depends. This is undoubtedly the reason the devil tempts one so fiercely against it, sometimes making use of misguided affections, at other times fear for one’s health, at other one’s lack of talent, or that one would do better work elsewhere, etc. Thus transforming himself into an angel of light, he snatches many away from the place God has put them in to the detriment of their souls. In order to avoid these dangers, they should remember what the Divine Master says: he who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and even: he who does not hate his father and mother cannot be My disciple. Thus they will live detached from their parents and their relatives home and even from themselves, they will have no communication with the world and will avoid, as something pernicious, all particular friendships, even with those in the Congregation itself, never confiding themselves to those who go around discontented or speaking evil of it, or giving signs of a doubtful vocation.
23. In light of all this, they will neither write nor receive mail without the Superior’s permission. They will not speak to people from outside the Congregation, especially women, without the Novice-master or his delegate being present. When they go outside the house, they will be accompanied by another novice or someone older, whom the Novice-master himself will choose. Every 8 days they will make their confession to that Missionary whom the aforementioned Superior will designate.
24. In conclusion, if, at the end of the year of testing, they are determined and resolved to remain in the Congregation, and if the qualities are observed in them that are appropriate for a good Missionary, they will fervently make 10 days of exercises, which will serve as immediate preparation for their definitive admission. This will be effected by a solemn act of Consecration to God and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This Consecration will include the oaths of remaining in the Congregation until death, of not acquiring to any ecclesiastical dignity without the express command of the Superior General or the Supreme Pontiff, who will be only ones who can dispense them from these oaths. And so that no one may be deprived of the utmost merit of their acts, the Superior can authorize temporary of perpetual simple vows for those who wish to voluntarily take them.