Of Grateful Memory

In the light of the Gospel, the most important is the one who, like Jesus, becomes the servant of others (Lk 20, 26-28). St. Augustine reminds us that in our communities the presider should not be happy to command, but for his “service of charity” (Rule 7.3). Among us, the prior general is elected in the general chapter, and the choice is made freely: one is chosen who, together with his council, can foster the spiritual renewal of the Order and organize its evangelizing mission. There is no electoral campaign, nor is the most intelligent or the most holy sought. Of course, before the election the help of the Spirit is implored. The chosen brother is entrusted with the service of government for six years.

On July 21 Javier Ruiz Pascual died in Logroño, La Rioja (Spain), and on September 8 James McGuire died in Montebello, California (United States). The two have been priors general of the Order of Augustinian Recollects in the years 70 and 80 of the last century. I remember with gratitude and admiration these two brothers for their sacrificial service in promoting the renewal of the Order in fidelity to the Gospel, seeking to respond to the needs of the Church according to the ways consonant to the charismatic identity.

James McGuire led the Order from 1974 to 1980. His election was somewhat surprising. He was the first American general, the only American so far. He strove to accommodate himself to cultural diversity, thereby demonstrating great love for the Order. It gave new life to the Historical Institute, promoted the first reorganization of the general archive and facilitated the founding of the magazine Recollectio, to which he even gave the title. When he finished his term, he gave himself up to the parish ministry in the United States, and in this task he remained tireless until shortly before his death, at the age of 88. Javier Ruiz was prior general from 1980 to 1986. He signed the decree promulgating the revised Constitutions of 1982 and proposed them as “an expression of the spirit and charism of the Order”. He knew how to put at the service of the Order his intellectual preparation, his methodical spirit and his profound knowledge of the ecceliastical norms. His simplicity made it easy for others to approach him even being a superior. He was able to settle conflicts and bring peace to the communities. At the end of his term, he admirably combined formation and teaching in Salamanca (Spain), with the study of St. Augustine and his collaboration with the Institute of Agustinology of the Order.

These two religious worked hard in the service and mission entrusted to them. They had their difficulties, they made mistakes; but with humility they knew how to trust in the Lord’s mercy, and without seeking human recognition they continued to serve with simplicity and hope.

Thank you for your dedication to the service of the Church and the Order. Let your restless heart, now rest forever in the Lord.


Fr. Miguel Miró

Prior General
Orden de Agustinos Recoletos



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