Method of Treating and Dealing with Superiors
1. He who has
business with a superior should have the matter well in hand, arranged in
order, and thought out by himself or together with others, in keeping with the
greater or lesser importance of the matter. In matters of lesser importance,
however, or when there is need of haste and no time is available for study or
consultation, it is left to his own judgment whether or not he should
represent the matter to the superior.
2. After he has
examined and studied his proposal, he should place it before the superior, and
tell him that this matter has been examined by himself or with others, as the
case may be. He should give the superior the results of his examination and
study, but he should never say to a superior in discussing a point with him,
"This or that is the right one," or "This is the way it should
be," but he should speak conditionally and with a certain amount of
3. Once he has
proposed the matter to the superior, it will be the superior's duty to make a
decision, or wait for further study, or refer the proposal back to him or to
those who submitted it, or appoint others to examine it, or make the decision
then and there, according to the nature of the difficulty involved.
4. If he points out
some drawback in the superior's decision, and the superior should reaffirm his
decision, there should be no answer or discussion for the time being.
5. But if, after the
superior has made his decision, he who is dealing with him sees that something
else would be better, let him call the superior's attention to it, giving his
reason. And even if the superior has withheld judgment, this may be done after
three or four hours, or a day. He could then represent to the superior what he
thinks would be good, preserving, however, a manner of speaking and use of
words that would neither be nor appear to be dissentient or quarrelsome. He
should then accept in silence what is then and there decided.
6. But even
supposing that a decisive answer had been given the first time, or even the
second, he might, a month or more later, represent his view in the manner
already indicated. For time and experience uncover many things, and the
superior himself may change his mind.
7. He who deals with
a superior should accommodate himself to the character and abilities of the
superior. He should speak distinctly, so that he can be clearly heard, and
whenever possible at an hour that is suited to the superior's convenience.
8. As far as
possible, Ours should not wait until the day or the previous evening to write
what should have been written by Saturday, or at other ordinary or
extraordinary times when the post is about to leave for places beyond Italy,
and then be forced to write in a hurry. But they should try to arrange to
begin writing on the Sunday before what should be written by Saturday, and
finish the dispatch by Wednesday evening, and leave as little as possible to
be written in answer to letters received up to that time. In this way
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will be free to deal with and to answer other
matters of importance that may turn up and need an immediate response.
9. Ordinarily do not
write to different parts of Italy more than once a month; inform the rectors
that this is in keeping with the orders given, unless something arises that
does not permit a longer delay.
10. To places that
are more distant, write every three months, unless something important
happened, or the post is more frequent than usual.
11. Regarding the
reception of candidates for the Society in Italy, the enclosed points1
are sent to the colleges; these points deal with the qualities required in
those who are to be admitted to the Society. And they should not receive
anyone, or send anyone here, until we have been informed about them, point by
12. However, if
there are some who impressively, and beyond the possibility of any doubt,
fulfill the conditions set forth in the points, they may be received or even
sent to Rome, if they are of such high-standing, or if there be danger in
delay, in which case superiors will have to use their own judgment. But it
would be much better to advise the general in Rome and wait for an answer.
There might be no difficulty about the candidates, but there might well be
difficulty for the house in Rome.
13. We are sending
these same points and directions everywhere; they had been prepared for Italy
and Sicily (which is always to be understood when we speak of Italy). It will
prove advantageous for other places to know what goes on in Italy, and these
points may be of the greatest possible help to them. It is true that in places
far distant from Rome, such as in other kingdoms, there is no need to consult
with the general about admissions, or about sending men to Rome. But the
charity and discretion of the commissary or provincial, with whom lower
superiors such as rectors will consult, will take the place of consulting with
the general. There could well be cases that will not allow the delay involved
in consulting the general.
14. Provision has
been made that a copy of this notice be sent to all places where there are any
of the Society, and in the book in which this is entered in Rome a note has
been made at the foot of the page indicating that it has been sent everywhere,
and whether it has been received. Until such a time that a notice arrives of
its receipt, let a reminder of this instruction be sent with each letter you
write, and ask them to advise you of its receipt.
15. This same
instruction is being sent to India, and the provincial there should send the
same to the remote parts of his jurisdiction. The same dispatch can be sent
from Portugal to Brazil and the Congo, although in such remote places,
especially among infidels and recently converted Christians, even though they
should be helped by what is here written, it is left to the discretion of
superiors, who, taking into consideration the condition of the region and
other circumstances, will act according to their judgment about what is best
for the greater glory of God and the greater spiritual progress of souls.