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In 1910 the Vatican’s Congregation of Bishops and Religious issued norms for the revision of the statutes/constitutions, primarily for small, newly founded communities of consecrated religious. The norms stated that in these texts there were to be no references to Sacred Scripture or ascetical writers, and that they only include references to canonical norms.

Section by section, the Order of Prémontré’s new Statuta were approved by successive General Chapters until 1937 when Abbot General Noots took a different approach which adhered more closely to the Vatican’s 1910 norms. Thus the statutes of 1947 lacked all spiritual elements, and it was determined that material that dealt with the ascetical and spiritual be gathered together “in a book entitled ‘Directorium Spirituale’, in such a manner that it would be useful for providing unity in the formation of novices and professed juniors in our Order”. Abbot Emmanuel Gisquière of Averbode Abbey was tasked with bringing into this one text much of what had been lost. The Directorium Spirituale was published in 1959, the same year that Pope St. John XXIII announced the opening of Vatican Council II (1962-1965).

Fr. Theodore J. Antry, O.Praem (Daylesford Abbey, Paoli, PA USA) has dedicated the past several years to translating the Directorium Spirituale from Latin into English.