The daily gathering of members of a religious community for disciplinary purposes and administration of monastic affairs has always included the reading of a chapter of the rule, and so the assembly became known as the chapter, and the place of meeting the chapter-house.
There are various kinds of assemblies: conventual, provincial, and general, the latter composed of delegates of an entire order, congregation, or group of monasteries.
The idea of general chapters originated with Saint Benedict of Aniane in thc 9th century, was revived at Cluny in the l0th, and finally culminated in the congregational system promulgated by the Fourth Lateran Council, 1215.
Since that time general chapters have been held by practically every order and congregation.
New Catholic Dictionary