The government of the monastic Family of Bethlehem

The monastic Family is composed of two branches: the branch of the monastic sisters today has 550 sisters living in 29 monasteries in 15 countries. The branch of the brothers has 35 brothers in 3 monasteries in 3 countries.

The two branches, the one of the brothers and that of the sisters, have an independent government.

On February 22, 2017, Sister Emmanuel was appointed prioress general of the branch of the monastic sisters of Bethlehem by the Dicastery for Consecrated Life. In this service she is helped by a permanent council of 6 sisters also appointed by this same Dicastery. Two apostolic assistants, also appointed by the Dicastery: Father Jean Quris and Mother Geneviève Barrière, osb, participate in this council. The permanent council usually meets at least once a month.
Members of the current Permanent Council are: Sister Paola, Sister Laure-Marie, Sister Christia, Sister Liesse-Myriam, Sister Gemma and Sister Mia.

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The local prioress provides the service of authority in the monastery entrusted to her. She is elected by her community for three years and she can be reappointed every three years by the General Chapter. The duration of mandate will be defined in the new constitutions. The prioress is assisted in her service by two sisters vicars. Together, they form the "triad".

The community elects two sisters-counselors who together with the triad constitute the local council.
The prioress together with the counselors listen to the Holy Spirit to promote the evangelical fidelity of the community in the life of solitude and fraternal communion. It is up to the council to prepare the meetings of the chapter of the monastery and to deliberate on the economic and material questions of the monastery, such as for example approving the provisional budget.

The chapter of the monastery, composed of all the perpetually professed, meets regularly to discern together the calls of the Holy Spirit for the community and to decide on the modalities of their concrete incarnation in daily life. Chapter members express themselves at the time of admissions to temporary and perpetual profession of their sisters. Among other things, it is up to the local chapter to propose a way of living the poverty of the community, taking into account the choices made by the general chapter.

The local prioress and her council are in close contact with the Prioress General and her Permanent Council.

The branch of the monks of the Bethlehem Family has a government similar to that of the sisters, but with some differences, given the smaller number of brothers and of their monasteries.
At the General Chapter of October 2018, Brother Jean-Baptiste was elected to fulfill the service of Prior General by all 30 Brothers in perpetual vows, for a three-year term. He is assisted by a council of four brothers, also elected for three years by the General Chapter. Since 2017, Father Cesare Falletti, Cistercian, founder and former prior of the Pra’d Mill monastery, has been appointed as apostolic assistant to the community of monks. His mission is to advise the brothers in the government of the community, and also to accompany especially the work of the writing of new constitutions requested by the Dicastery for Consecrated Life.

The two prior generals assisted by their respective councils form a “Family Council” which is at the service of the communion of monks and sisters. Its role is purely consultative. This Family Council meets several times a year for a discussion around issues that concern life in our monasteries and fidelity to the charism common to the brothers and the sisters.