The word is said to be derived from the chapter of the rule book: it is a custom under the Rule of Saint Benedict that monks or nuns gather daily for a meeting to discuss monastery business, hear a sermon or lecture, or receive instructions from the abbot/abbess, and as the meeting begins with a reading of a chapter from the Rule, the meeting itself acquired the name “chapter”, and the place where it is held, “chapter house” or “chapter room”.
The term was then extended to apply to other meetings. The term general chapter designates a monastic general assembly, usually of representatives from all of the monasteries of an order or congregation.
The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon (SSMO) hold a general chapter every five years for the purpose of spiritual introspection, charting the course for the next five years and election of new leadership.
The Chapter was opened by Sr. Charlene Herinckx on Sunday March 22, 2015 with 61 members of the Congregation in attendance. The meetings will conclude Saturday March 28th.