The Prior General and his Council met with the provincial priors to establish the priorities of the Order of Augustinian Recollects after the restructuring process. It is the first meeting after the union of provinces
In October 2016 the General Chapter of the Order of Augustinian Recollects approved a historic restructuring process that would reduce the organization from eight to four provinces. After taking place in 2018 during the provincial chapters, the new organization is now a reality.
In the meeting that the Prior General and his Council held with the four provincial priors from 1 to 5 April, the new time in which the religious live became clear, already immersed in a new configuration that wants to bring about a revitalization of the charism. With a new structure, the Augustinian Recollects maintain their desire to live intensely their community charism of prayer and mission. The ‘Forma de vivir’ that Fray Luis de León wrote for the Augustinian Recollects continues to be present with a new configuration.
The process of union of the provinces was one of the main themes of the meeting. We analyzed the progress made after the provincial chapters and the implementation of restructuring, which leaves new realities for religious from different provinces and countries. Likewise, a new reality of social works, education and pastoral ministries, until now dependent on other provinces, is proposed.
The Project of Life and Mission: the guide of the Augustinian Recollects
In this process of restructuring and revitalisation, it is necessary to carry out a project on which to pilot all the actions. For this reason, the Life and Mission Project of each province was evaluated, in harmony with the one that derived from the General Chapter of 2016. In addition, the need to create this same project in each community in order to make them more alive and evangelizing was stressed.
The General Council and the Provincial Priors agreed to join forces in two key points of the six-year period 2016-2022: the formation of Augustinian Recollect religious and the promotion of vocations. In both areas the corresponding secretariats and the provinces work together.
There are two other matters that are a priority in the Order of Augustinian Recollects: the protection of minors and the prevention of abuses in communities and apostolic works (in educational centres and ministries); and the implantation of the International Augustinian Recollect Solidarity Network ARCORES in the world.
A historic meeting
The meeting also evaluated the work of general and provincial organizations (secretariats and commissions); analyzed internal communication in the Order, in the provinces and in the vicariates; presented proposals to promote communion and teamwork; and established guidelines for the economic management and communion of goods in the Order and in the provinces, among other topics.
The historic meeting – the first of the General Council with the four provincials – stood out mainly for its climate of openness, sincerity, transparency and desire for communion. All the councillors were present, as well as the provincial priors. The General Councillors were responsible for making a presentation on each of the themes, based on a previous questionnaire sent to the provincials and adding the corresponding reports to their respective secretariats or commissions. Then the provincials intervened by adding more information. Then the dialogue was opened and all the themes ended with an intervention of the Prior General for the conclusions on the topic raised.
With this impetus, the Order will continue to work on these priorities with its new scheme. The meeting will be repeated every year to follow up on the agreements and new challenges that are presented.