The Superiors General of the Augustinian Recollect family warn of the impact that the COVID-19 will have on the evangelizing mission and call for “the imagination of charity” to face the consequences.
In the face of the world emergency caused by the coronavirus, the Superiors General of the Augustinian Recollect Family have sent a joint message in which they reflect on the impact that the COVID-19 has had and will have on the Augustinian Recollect communities and the work of evangelization. In their writing they recalled the religious and people who have died from the pandemic, and called for hope after a difficult situation in which creative initiatives have emerged to bring the faith closer to all corners.
The letter was signed by the Prior General of the Order of Augustinian Recollects; the federal mothers of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters of Spain and Mexico; the federal mother of the Discalced Augustinian Sisters; and the general superiors of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters, Augustinian Recollect Missionaries, Augustinian Recollect Sisters of the Heart of Jesus, Augustinian Recollect Sisters of the Sick and Comendadoras of Santiago. All of them begin their writing inviting not to be afraid and to ask for the gift of the Spirit “to listen to the voice of Christ in the cry of those who suffer from the pandemic, as well as in all those who are victims of human injustice or any kind of abuse”. We want to hear,” they say, “the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.
“We have suffered and we suffer”
At the moment when the crisis begins to subside, the superiors of the Augustinian Recollect family assure that “it has been a time of suffering”. “We have suffered and we suffer with those who suffer in our religious communities, in our families, parishes and educational centers and in the whole world”, they indicate. Concretely they remember the “dear brothers” who have died for the COVID-19, as well as those who suffer in hospitals or in their communities.
In this regard, they recall the words of Pope Francis in the extraordinary blessing Urbi et Orbi on March 27: “In the midst of the isolation in which we are suffering the lack of affection and encounter, experiencing the lack of so many things, we hear once again the announcement that saves us: Jesus is risen and lives at our side. From his Cross, the Lord commits us to rediscover the life that awaits us, to look at those who call upon us, to strengthen, recognize and encourage the grace that dwells in us. Let us not extinguish the flickering flame (cf. Is 42:3), which never gets sick, and let us make hope come alive again”.
However, in addition to the negative consequences, the superiors recognize the evangelizing and educational work that has been done by religious, lay people and young people in this situation. They especially value the prayer of the contemplative sisters from their monasteries. In general they note that “prayer has been intensified” in a virtual and telematic way in many places, a modality that they value as “new and especially precious”.
“The health crisis will have a social impact”
Likewise, the Prior General and the superiors of the women’s congregations ask for unity in the situation generated by the pandemic: “We all have the mission to be in solidarity and to spread hope. In this sense, they warned that “we cannot confine ourselves and worry about what is ‘mine’ and ‘ours’ but for the common good.
The religious have warned that “the health crisis will have a social impact, on work, on the economy, on human relations and also on our evangelizing mission”. Even though this situation will provoke “greater austerity”, these phenomena are “a call to the imagination of charity, to be creative in order to be more human”, they say.
To this end, the superiors of the Augustinian Recollect family invite collaboration with ARCORES in the different initiatives it is carrying out in various countries to alleviate the consequences of the coronavirus. The help can be through economic resources, through volunteering or by giving material means or space.
“We have to prepare ourselves and be ready with prayer, charity and solidarity to walk together in each country,” they say. Finally, they have asked to be open to the Spirit in order to “see the world in the light of Christ, while hope grows in the depths of our hearts.