2020 | 1 | 75-92
Article title

The legislative work of Fr. Arnold Janssen as the Founder of the Missionary Congregations

Title variants
Działalność legislacyjna o. Arnolda Janssena, jako Założyciela Zgromadzeń misyjnych
Languages of publication
This historical study presents the untiring legislative activity of Fr. Arnold Janssen, the Founder of the Society of the Word of God in Steyl (1875), who during 35 years of his life, had developed six different sets of internal law (Statutes and Constitutions) to regulate the life and organization of his Institute: Statutes of the Mission House (1876); February Rule of 1885; September Rule of 1885; Rule of 1891, Rule of 1898 and Rule of 1905. In addition, he laboured to create the Rule for the Mission Sisters SSpS (1891). The Founder’s legislative work mirrors faithfully his thoughts, intentions and spiritual profile. It also discloses the charisma, character and spirituality of his Foundations. The elaboration of the Constitution aimed at providing the Congregation with a specific organizational framework and with means to reach the missionary goals. The key move in this endeavour was the introduction of religious vows and the centralization of the structure of the Society to consolidate the activities of its missionaries through internal unity and spiritual rooting. The Founder not only strived to develop the specific legal norms, but wanted the law to be animated by the right spirit. Therefore, he was extremely determined to provide his spiritual sons and daughters with healthy spiritual food for their personal growth. Hoping to obtain approval from the competent ecclesiastical authorities, Fr. Arnold spent a good deal of time trying to work out for each of his three congregations a solid, unified, “one-size-fits-all” design of the nature, purpose and spirit of the missionary task.
W artykule przedstawiono działalność legislacyjną o. Arnolda Janssena, założyciela Zgromadzenia Słowa Bożego SVD (1875). W ciągu 35 lat wypracował on sześć zbiorów prawa wewnętrznego (Statuty i Konstytucje), aby uregulować życie i organizację swojego Instytutu: Statuty Domu Misyjnego (1876); Konstytucje Lutowe (1885); Konstytucje Wrześniowe (1886); Konstytucje z 1891, Konstytucje z 1898 i Konstytucje z 1905 roku. Opracował również Konstytucje dla Sióstr Misyjnych SSpS (1891). Prace legislacyjne Założyciela oddają wiernie jego duchowość i charakter jego fundacji. Konstytucje miały zapewnić Zgromadzeniu ramy organizacyjne i środki do realizacji celu misyjnego. Kluczowym posunięciem było wprowadzenie ślubów zakonnych oraz scentralizowanie struktury Zgromadzenia. Założyciel chciał, aby prawo było ożywiane duchem.
Physical description
  • A. Janssen, The Spirit and Task of Our Society, [in:] P. McHugh (ed.), Arnold Janssen - Yesterday and Today, “Analecta SVD”, vol. 63/III, Romae 1998
  • A. Janssen, The Statutes of the Mission House, 5 August 1875
  • Allgemeine Constitutionem und Statuten der Gesellschaft des Göttlichen Wortes vom Jahre 1891, Steyl Missionsdruckerei, 1891
  • Arnold Janssen to Card. Steinhuber, 1902, [in:] F. Bornemann, The Papal Approbation of the Constitutions of 1905, “Analecta SVD”, vol. 3, Romae 1967
  • Arnold Janssen to Joseph Freinademetz, St. Gabriel, 14 August 1902, AdF: 110.258-260
  • Arnold Janssen to the China Missionaries, Steyl, 28 May 1886, [in:] J. Alt, Arnold Janssen. Letters to China, vol. I, 1879-1897, “Analecta SVD”, nr 83/I, Romae 2002
  • Arnold Janssen to the German and Austrian Bishops on the imminent Foundation of the Mission House, Steyl, 5 August 1875
  • Curia Generalitia, Fontes Historici Societatis Verbi Divini, vol. II, Constitutiones Societatis Verbi Divini 1898-1948, Romae 1967
  • F. Bornemann (ed.), Curia Generalitia, Fontes Historici Societatis Verbi Divini, vol. 1, Costitutiones Societatis Verbi Divini 1875-1891, Roma 1964
  • F. Bornemann (ed.), Remembering Arnold Janssen. A Book of Reminiscences, “Analecta SVD”, vol. 42, Romae 1978
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  • Fontes Historici SVD, vol. II, Constitutiones Societatis Verbi Divini 1898-1948, Roma 1967
  • J. Alt, Journey in Faith. The Missionary Life of Arnold Janssen, “Analecta SVD”, nr 85, Romae 2002
  • J. Alt, The Constitutions of 1898, “Verbum SVD”, nr 1, 1963
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  • J. Ommerborn, The Arnoldus Family Story, “Bulletin SAJ”, nr 6, June 2011
  • J. Ommerborn, The Arnoldus Family Story, “Bulletin SAJ”, vol. 12, nr 8-9, 2018
  • L. Haberstroh, Zusammenfassender Bericht, Das erste Generalkapitel (10 Dez. 1884-12 Mai 1886), Conventus (11 Dez.)
  • O. Stegmaier, Mutter Maria Anna Stollenwerk und ihre Familie – Briefe (Quellen 4), Rome 1988
Document Type
Publication order reference
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