Province of St. Thomas of Villanova
The present Province of St. Thomas of Villanova dates from 1907. The General Commissioner of the congregation following the requirement of the Constitutions created the Hispano-American province of Our Lady of Pilar. On June 10, 1909, the Vicar General signed a decree which modified the arrangement of the provinces and changed the name of the new province to that of Province of St. Thomas of Villanova. By 2203, the province was made up of 210 religious distributed among 32 communities, 11 in Brazil, 10 in Spain, 7 in Argentina, and 4 in Venezuela.
The special identity of the province was cultivated and the mission activity of the province was directed to the territories of mission confided to the Order. The urban apostolate was further developed. Efforts to increase native vocations were initiated. The implications of official education dictates were debated and greater interest was shown in developments in other countries.
The Province of St. Thomas of Villanova suffered more from the violence of the Spanish Civil War than the other provinces. Two days after the beginning of the conflict. The house in Madrid was sacked by the crowds and, in Motril, 7 of the 8 members of the community were assassinated.
Recovery from these events was slow. Spain lacked everything and there were no means with which to maintain the seminaries. The will to transcend these difficulties and the collaboration of the vicariates of Brazil and Argentina provided support. Beyond Spain the singularity of the vicariates facilitated the recuperation. Parishes and missions of the previous period were attended and local vocations from both Brazil and Argentine were promoted.
Within ten years the province recovered from the blows received and a consistency, at once numerical, spiritual and apostolic, was achieved allowing the province to view the future with optimism. The 198 religious of 1936 became 242 in 1949.
The most outstanding event of the second half of the 20th century was the division of the province. The Prior General of the Order created the Province of St. Rita and assigned to the new entity most of the houses of Brazil along with the religious, both Spanish and native, then residing in these communities. The mother province kept the houses in Spain and in Venezuela in addition to the mission prelacy of Marajó, the school of Leblón in Rio de Janeiro, and the residences of Sao Paulo and Belem.
As of the 31st of december of 2003, the province counted with 210 religious distributed among 32 communities and dedicated to various ministries including 31 parishes, 15 schools and 7 seminaries as well as the Prelacy of Marajó. There are 11 communities in Brazil, 10 in Spain, 7 in Argentina and 4 in Venezuela. The religious of the province proceed from 5 countries: Spain (148), Brazil (26), Argentina (26), Venezuela (6) and India (3). Two religious of the province are member of the hierarchy of Brazil. The province also continues publishing the magazine, “Santa Rita” and “Pueblo Cristiano” with its corresponding editorial, founded respectfully in 1905 and 1915.
OCTOBER 2008. WORLD. Miguel Ángel Hernández: “The greatest wealth of the Province are the friars”
A history of the St. Thomas Province Autor: OAR (103 Kb)
Province of St. Thomas of Villanova Official website.
Vicarage of Saint Thomas of Vilanova (Brazil) Official website.
Vicarage of Saint Thomas of Vilanova (Argentina) Official website.