Since its origins in 1641, there were general
administrative structures, always coordinated by the general superiors.
But it was not until 1966 that a General Assembly decided to create a
particular and autonomous body called the
that would be at the service of the whole Society.
The building of the rue du Regard in Paris,
the see of the Generalate of the Society
of the Priests of Saint Sulpice.
The Constitutions of the Society of Priests of
, in part three, deal with "Structures in the
Service of the Mission" (cf. Art. 69-148). The Introduction summarizes
their meaning, and Chapter II presents "The Structures at the General
Level" (cf. Art. 72-99). Article 72, in effect, states their purpose
and objective: The General structures guarantee the unity of direction
and of spirit essential to the very life of the Society and to the
exercise of its proper mission in its international setting. These
structures have, for their principal purpose, the orientation and the
leadership of the Society by decisions and directives in harmony with
its mission and its vocation.
These structures include:
- The general assembly (cf. Art. 73-80), which is held every six
- The general council, composed of a superior and four consultors
elected by the General Assembly for a term of six years (cf. Art.
81-94) [the Generalate has its headquarters in Paris];
- three provinces - France, Canada
and the United States – each
with its own structures (cf. Art. 100-126);
- various local communities with their particular structures (cf.
- and various international and interprovincial instances at the
service of the whole of the Society and of its mission (cf. Art. 95-99):
- the general financial administration in Rome;
- the general secretariat in Paris;
- the general financial office in the United States, which, among
other things, coordinates the work of the Interprovincial Committee of
- the Bulletin de Saint-Sulpice;
- the Study Commission of Sources and Traditions of the Company;
- the archives of the Society;
- the formation of new members by the institutional program
called Solitude, organized by the various provinces and followed by the
- the ongoing formation international and interprovincial
realized by periodic sessions: the Sulpician Month, conferences,
seminars, sabbatical periods and others.
The present General Council is composed of the superior general and
The chapel of the Generalate in Paris.
The general administration promotes
inter-provincial cooperation, encourages active solidarity in front of
the financial challenges, organizes new services necessary for the
entire Society. This is done in close collaboration with provincial
superiors and their councils.
In summary, it is about the
strengthening of the international links with adequate and effective
means. The goal is to realize well the role and mission of the Society
at the service of today’s Church and society. All this always requires
a constant effort of inculturation, dialogue and discernment.