The Prior General presides over another Provincial Chapter and promotes revitalization
Last Monday, July 9, the 34th Chapter of the Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova was opened. This Province has, at present, 32 communities distributed in Spain, Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela. Its 175 Augustinian Recollect members have elected 28 brothers who, together with the Prior General, make up the Chapter.
The Province of Saint Thomas has already had 102 years of history. And every three years, it would hold a chapter to study the reality of the province and the differences of opinion among the brothers, and to listen to the Word of God, in order that it may continue its mission with renewed vigor and a better perspective of its direction. There had been a lot of challenges within its over a century of existence. At present, the challenge of renewal may seem to be particularly arduous. But history shows that this Provincial Chapter as a communitarian act becomes an opportune moment to grasp the prompting of the Spirit and to continue its mission with a renewed vitality.
The capitulars are gathered at the Convent of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Monachil, (Granada, Spain), a convent which is 100 years old. It used to be a textile factory when it was acquired by the friars two years after the foundation of the Province. Since then, Monachil has been the central house and the heart of the Province of Saint Thomas. For decades, it has also been the principal house of formation and from here came 14 expeditions with 207 missionaries directed principally to Brazil, as well as to Argentina and the United States.
The Province settled in these countries. Now it has 10 communities with 77 religious in Spain, 10 communities with 39 religious in Brazil, 7 communities with 23 religious in Argentina and 5 communities with 18 religious in Venezuela. The members of the Province are mostly Spaniards (115 friars), but the number of those coming from the Americas already reaches 35% and they are generally the youngest friars of the Province.
Of its 175 friars, 78 are assigned in parish ministry and half of them are in Spain, 25 are involved in the educational apostolate, 14 are dedicated to formation and the rest are working as missionaries in the in the island of Marajó (Brazil), at the mouth of the Amazon river. In fact, the Bishop of Marajó, José Luis Azcona, and the Bishop of Cametá, Jesús María Cizaurre, belong to the Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova, whose dioceses are found in the same of region of the Amazons.
OCTOBER 2009 · WORLD. End of the Centenary of Saint Thomas Province