The Congregation of the Austrian Canons Regular
The Congregation of the Austrian Canons Regular unites the Augustinian Canon Monasteries of St. Florian (Upper Austria), Herzogenburg (Lower Austria), Klosterneuburg (Lower Austria), Neustift (South Tyrol), Reichersberg (Upper Austria) and Vorau (Styria). The Congregation was founded in 1907.
The head of the Congregation is the General Abbot, who is elected every five years. Since 2002, Bernhard Backovsky, Provost of Klosterneuburg, has held this office. His representative or “convisitator”, Gerhard Rechberger, Provost of Vorau, has also been in office since 2002
General Abbots since 1907:
1907 – 1920 Joseph Sailer, St. Florian
1920 – 1937 Josef Kluger, Klosterneuburg
1937 – 1953 Alipius Linda, Klosterneuburg
1954 – 1987 Gebhard Koberger, Klosterneuburg
1987 – 2002 Wilhelm Neuwirth, St. Florian
since 2002 Bernhard Backovsky, Klosterneuburg
The Confederation of the Austrian Canons Regular
On 4 May 1959 (900 years after the Lateran Synod of 1059, see History of the Order), Pope St. John XXIII, in his apostolic letter “Caritatis Unitas”, founded the Confederation of the Canons Regular of St. Augustine. Originally there were four members: the Lateran Congregation (Rome, Italy), the Austrian Congregation, the Congregation of Great St. Bernhard (Switzerland) and the Congregation Saint-Maurice (Switzerland). Subsequently other Congregations have joined the Confederation: the Windesheim Congregation (Paring, Germany). the Congregation “Redemptoris Mater” (La Cotellerie, France), the Congregation of the Immaculate Conception (Rome, Italy), the Congregation of St. Victor (Champagne, France) and the Brothers of the Common Life (Maria Bronnen, Germany).
The head of the Confederation is the Abbot Primate, who is elected for a six-year term of office; since 2010, Bernhard Backovsky, Provost of Klosterneuburg, has acted as Abbot Primate.
Abbots Primate since 1959:
1959 – 1968 Lois-Séverin Haller, St. Maurice
1968 – 1974 Gebhard Koberger, Austrian Congregation
1974 – 1980 Anthony Bull, Lateran Congregation
1980 – 1986 Angelin-Maurice Lovey, Great St. Bernhard
1986 – 1992 Karl Egger, Windesheim Congregation
1992 – 1998 Henri Salina, St. Maurice
1998 – 2004 Anthony Maggs, Lateran Congregation
2004 – 2010 Maurice Bitz, St. Victor
2010 – 2016 Bernhard Backovsky, Austrian Congregation
since 2016 Jean-Michel Girard, Great St. Bernhard