The Superiors of the Augustinian Recollects opt for a uniform plan of revitalization and restructuration.

The first objective of the meeting was to take the pulse of the process of revitalizacíon in which the Order is engaged. The Prior Provincials had spoken; they had agreed that the moment of initial surprise had gone by. The documents intended to mentally prepare the religious have been published, and are gradually having impact on the religious, the communities, delegations, vicariates and provinces.

The problem is how to channel the change from a proper identity. For this purpose there is a need to have a deeper knowledge and more authentic living of our Augustinian Recollect identity, which has as its source the encounter with Christ and is expressed in a particular history and spirituality. A whole plan of formation for the young and adults, both at initial stages and daily living of the communities, has been drafted. There is an insistence on sharing our charism and mission with the lay, particularly with our secular fraternities.

The recent creation for the Order of a team of revitalization on the basis of spiritual exercises, workshops of prayer centers of spirituality has been announced. A general plan of revitalization of parishes according to the demands of the new evangelization has been presented. Each one of the territories and nations is required to develop its own plan of life and mission, and it is desired that all these be integrated into a uniform plan of the Order.

The own style, the community

There is a saying. “The style is the man”, which means that the writer’s style shows his or her personality. In the case of the Augustinian Recollects, their style and the primary note of their proper identity is being communitarian. However, the dangers of individualism or provincialism are always lying in ambush. They must be prevented at all times by strengthening communion on all levels.

Communion is one of the key elements for both renewal and future restructuration. A common agenda had been given to all the Provincials for the entire six years. The updating of database about the Order was announced. There is a determination to define and preserve the charac-teristic of “Augustinian Recollect” and its corporate image. The collaboration of all is urged in order to put together a complete system of communication at all levels. Mechanisms have been set up, such as the Team of Renewal, which has the entire Order as its field of action. Inter-Provincial activities, such as Weeks of Permanent Formation or conferences on proper formation, which, until now have been concentrated in Europe, are extended to all the countries. Even the missions themselves are seen in this perspective, as a privileged field in which the communitarian and inter-Provincial activity may be accomplished.

With Pope Francis

Haren Fr. General greets to the Pope Francis, during the audience The experience of communion within the Order is nourished by that which forms the heart of the Church. And it is in Rome, together with the Holy Father, where that experience is more intense and authentic. Hence, to participate as a group, in representation of all the Augustinian Recollects, in Pontifical Audience of Wednesday was scheduled.

On the 10th of April St. Peter’s Square was a holiday in which hundreds of groups coming from the whole world gathered together with Pope Francis. In his address, done with simplicity, the Pope formulated the key to communion in the Church.”We have the dignity of children! We can live as children! Let us behave as true children!” The Augustinian Recollects strongly felt the impact. Just as the Prior General was strongly moved when he was able to greet the Pope and, after having introduced himself, he heard the Pope say: ”I know them already”.

Two days later, in a message sent to His Holiness, the Prior General completed that short interview, interrupted by the clamor of St. Peter’s Square. He informed Pope Francis about the event that had gathered together the highest representatives of the Order in Rome. He was referring to the General Audience, which “was for all of us” – he said – “an experience of communion”. And he concluded by expressing the total availability of the Recollects: “ with our prayer, our communitarian life and service to the Church we wish relive the spirit of St. Augustine and seek that which will inflame more our love for God and brothers”.

Several days later, the response came from the Secretary of State, in which Pope Francis thanks the message of loyalty, asks the Augustinian Recollects to pray for him for the fruitfulness of his service to the Church and, at the end, gives his apostolic blessing both to the Prior General and all the members of the Augustinian Recollect Family.