The Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternity celebrates in a special way the feast of St. Magdalene of Nagasaki. The Japanese martyr and patroness of the lay movement continues to mark the lives of thousands of people, centuries after her death.
If there is an Augustinian saint that especially attracts the members of the Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternity, it is St. Magdalene of Nagasaki. The young Japanese woman, martyred in 1634, is the patroness of the FSAR. She was tortured when she was 23 years old after she surrendered herself to the authorities, who persecuted her for being a Christian. Before her death she made her promises as a member of the lay movement, then known as the “Augustinian Recollect Tertiaries”. Her witness of life and dedication to the faith continues to spur the lives of lay people who decide to follow Christ according to the Augustinian Recollect charism.
Rosanna Pucarelli, a Brazilian, has been a member of the FSAR since May 5, 2019. She learned about the Secular Fraternity when, working with the Augustinian Recollect Youth of the Santo Agostinho de Novo Leblo School (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), she thought about how the young people could continue with their journey of faith once the Augustinian Recollect journey was over. He inquired into the meaning of the FSAR so that those young people could advance as lay people. “I took my own steps, opening my way in the Augustinian Recollect spirituality, immersing myself more and more deeply, falling in love with everything I knew and lived”, he says. This is how he took his step with these young people and founded the FSAR of Novo Leblon.
In her preparation to enter the Secular Fraternity, Rosanna had to know the life of the Augustinian Recollect saints; among them, the story of St. Magdalene of Nagasaki. “Her youth and determination are especially inspiring,” she explains. Of all the aspects of the martyr’s life, she especially emphasizes “the courage to remain faithful” by giving witness to her faith: “This is beautiful”. Also important to Rosanna is the fact that “she was one of the first people to join the FSAR.
Even today, centuries later and thousands of miles away, Rosanna’s companions and herself still have St. Magdalene of Nagasaki as a reference in their lives. “We seek to remain steadfast in our faith, like St. Magdalene,” she says, especially in this time of pandemic. She adds that, following the example of the martyr, they want to be “courageous in fulfilling our mission and persevering in the community that supports us. It is to her that they entrusted themselves when they made the promises and in her they continue to seek strength.
Through the apostolate, formation and community prayer, the FSAR community, which is barely one year old, has been growing. They also look at the lives of other Augustinian saints. “Knowing the story of the saints who preceded us is undoubtedly one of the most effective ways to inspire us to reach holiness as well,” he said. He made known the story of the saints of the Order in class, making known those religious and lay people who have made their lives a model for following Christ.
Like Rosanna, thousands of FSAR members celebrate the feast of their patron saint on October 20, claiming her protection for every day of their lives: spiritually and personally. Silgos later, St. Magdalene of Nagasaki is still alive in the hearts of people who, like her, have decided to follow Christ.