Religious orders, like the Church in general, have been suffering for many years now, of lack of vocations. This brings about changes in the vocation, personnel and work situation of each religious and the consecrated life of groups like thr discalced Carmelites, the Jesuits, Sallesians, Franciscans, La Salle Brothers and the Marists. The Augustinian Recollects are no exception from the need to renew.
The Jesuits (from the provinces in Aragon, Betica, Castilla, Tarraconense, and Loyola) were fused into one province, the province of Spain, last June 21. This happened after the long process that began in 2008. The intention of the reorganization of its structure is “to give better service to the Church and to the society”, says Adolfo Nicolas, the General of the Jesuits.
The Order of Augustinian Recollects undertakes similar process. The 1,100 members of the Order are present in four continents; in 12 countries in America, 3 in Asia, 3 in Europe and 1 in Africa. They attend to more than 300 communities. The Order is divided into 8 provinces of varied nationalities: San Jose (including the monastery of Yuso), Santa Rita de Casia, San Ezequiel Moreno, San Nicolás Tolentino, Santo Tomás de Villanueva, Ntra. Señora de la Consolación, San Agustín and Ntra. Señora de la Candelaria.
The reflection phase as to which path the Order should take this new millennium and in response to the call of the Church made by Pope Benedict XVI to “New Evangelization”, was begun in the 54th General Chapter celebrated last 2010 in Monachil, Granada, Spain. The need to revitalize the Order starting from its charismatic identity with the purpose of doing better the mission of evangelization as proposed by the Church, was determined in this Chapter. The formal announcement of the process was made last 19 of March 201. And materials for reflection, study and consultation – taking into consideration all aspects that integrate the way of life of the Augustinian Recollects – were communicated to all religious starting that date.
Closure and transfer
Restructuring and revitalization can mean the transfer of some ministries, parishes or schools to the diocesan Church, a painful experience – although far from reality as of yet – to the Augustinian Recollects who founded or who worked for a long time in these areas.
To ensure the best of decisions and in order to bring the work to optimum result, the assistance of experts in planning, assessment and systems analysis was sought for. For the religious to manifest their charism and share their best with the society, maximization of synergies is needed. In this way the world can benefit from the message of St. Augustine starting from fidelity to Christ and his Church.
The week-long work in San Millán de la Cogolla led to a framework, the presentation and analysis of conclusions resulting from the data gathered and from many consultations that were realized. This also served as a common proposal of formative projects of life that the Order has established on the basis of the responses to the document: ‘Project of revitalization and restructuring of the Order: Synthesis of studies, data and consultations. Proposals of reconstruction’ that will be published on the 1st of September. The closing of the process will be done during the General Chapter on September 1, 2016.
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