Voluntas Dei Institute is a Secular Institute founded in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada in 1958 by Rev. Father Louis-Marie Parent, OMI. It is being approved as a secular institute of pontifical right in 1987. It has priests, celibate laymen and married couples as its members who attempt to attain Christian perfection through the practice of poverty, chastity, and obedience and to carry out the work of the Church while “living in and of the world,” attending privately to their business or professional duties. They do not live in a community like religious, but they participate in teams. They strive for personal holiness by living the charism and 5-5-5 spirituality in the midst of the world as salt, light and leaven in the dough on the basis of the Gospel message and social justice.
Unlike the religious congregations, the administrative names and the names that are used for formation in the secular institutes have the secular nature. The superior generals of the secular institutes are called director generals. It is the same for Voluntas Dei Institute. The first director general of Voluntas Dei Institute was the Founder himself. Father Parent served as the director general from 1958 to 1970. After him, Fathers René Désilets (1970-1980), Mario Laroche (1980-1992), Yvon Carpentier (1992-1998) and François Hamel (1998-2010) guided the Institute as director generals.
Father Selvaratnam James Dunstan is being elected during the last assembly general which was held in June 2010 as the new director general. He is the first from outside of Canada. He is a Sri Lankan. He joined the Institute in 1986. He was ordained priest for the Institute on July 25, 1997. After having been served as a central council member for the period of six years from 2004, he received this responsibility.
The director general’s newsletter has been published regularly since 2002, and it was called the Voice of the Central. In the summer of 2010 it was renamed Director General’s Newsletter, and it has taken on a new format, with a monthly reflection has been added to help the members live their spirituality in their daily lives. Through this newsletter the director general shares his thoughts and reflections, some news of the central house to the members of the Institute, and he is also trying to introduce consecrated life in which the Christian faithful living in the world strive for the perfection of charity and work for the sanctification of the world especially from within (Code of Canon Law # 710).
If you are interested in the Secular Institute Voluntas Dei, you can go through the web page, and contact the director of the country of origin (Ref.: Contacting us) or the central house for more details. We are happy to give explanations if you have any questions.