Communion in the Augustinian Recollect educational centers

The 5th EDUCAR Encounter has gathered in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) more than eighty directors and teachers of Augustinian Recollect educational centers from 12 different countries.

The call that Pope Francis made to the Augustinian Recollects to be “creators of communion” has become a reality in the 5th EDUCAR Encounter. More than 80 directors and teachers of Augustinian Recollect educational centers participated in the international meeting that brought together centers from 12 different countries in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). All of them have worked together for the same project, now reinforced after these days.

Communion and unity in the Augustinian Recollect educational values marked the meeting, organized by the International Augustinian Recollect Educational Network EDUCAR. For five days, the centers reaffirmed their commitment to education and collaborative work, as requested by the Prior General, Miguel Miró, in his message to the participants: “May this meeting help us to strengthen networking; for this we must foster an encounter with Christ and openness to the Spirit.

In the closing Eucharist, the Prior Provincial of the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova, Miguel Angel Hernandez, asked the centers to “build bridges in all directions. Today the Church,” he said, “must walk on the paths of dialogue and communion.

A new society, the same educational project

EDUCAR has established the Augustinian Recollect school of the present and the future; an adaptation of the educational project of the Augustinian Recollects to the present society. In this school, Christ is the main protagonist. The Augustinian Recollect Javier Acero reminded us of this in his presentation, asking us to transfer to the classroom all that was treated in Rio de Janeiro from the 18th to the 22nd of November.

The identity – internal and external – of the educational project must be well defined, as the new times demand. The Augustinian Recollect Rafael Nieto and Carlos Santana spoke of corporate and educational identity as Augustinian Recollects. The educational work of each Augustinian Recollect center must respond to the mission proper to the Order, and be evangelizing, pastoral and service platforms for society. This is expressed in the form of education and in the corporate image. To this end, the Ciudad de los Niños (Costa Rica) presented the model of evaluation of the charism that seeks to control, by means of quality standards, the perfect implantation of the Augustinian Recollect charism in the centers.

The EDUCAR Encounter has also committed itself to educational innovation as one of the bases of the Augustinian Recollect school of 2019. A pioneering educational model in new tools but without losing the essence of Augustinian pedagogy, as explained by Conchita García, of the Colegio Fray Luis de León (Mexico), and Jorge Peralta, of the Colegio Agustiniano (Guatemala).

Along these lines, the six winners of the first international competition EDUCAR of good practices in schools rewarded the work of teachers Francy Helena López (Colombia), Nancy Rebaza (Peru), Isabel García (Spain), Dulce Fabiola Valenzuela (Mexico), Ana Maria Rodrigues and Rosanna Pucarelli (Brazil), winners of the different categories for their projects impregnated with Augustinian pedagogical elements, connections with innovation and, above all, much love for the teaching vocation.

V Encuentro EDUCAR

Concerned about the present, not forgetting the past

Likewise, the Augustinian Recollect school must give priority to the neediest and weakest in society. EDUCAR and ARCORES will continue to work together as a network, especially with regard to the protection of the child in schools. The augustinian recollect Antonio Carrón, president of EDUCAR, explained the proposal to extend the Child Protection Plan – which for the moment is carried out only in Spain – to all the educational centers of the Order. In this way, “schools on the way out” will be created, as Francisco asks.

In addition, the educational centres will continue to be concerned about the present without forgetting the past. It has also agreed to strengthen, among other things, alumni associations and to be able to work together.

Communion has been demonstrated in the work in groups – with representatives from different countries -, in the different languages – which has not been an impediment to work for a common goal – or in the presence of the different branches of the Augustinian Recollect family; the Augustinian Recollect Missionaries and the Augustinian Recollects Sisters were present. The latter showed their educational model in one of the presentations.

Working together generates new synergies that will help strengthen the Augustinian Recollect educational project. After EDUCAR, the educational centers will have to join forces to create a school that is authentically evangelizing, pastoral and close to society.