The Order of Contemplative Nuns and the Augustinian Recollects have signed an association through which they will support each other spiritually and formatively.
The Order of the Sisters of St. James with this association are part of the Augustinian Recollect family. The president of the Federation of the Sisters of St. James, Sister Lucía Girón, and the Prior General of the Order of Augustinian Recollects, Miguel Miró, signed last March 18 in Madrid the statutes of the association of the Federation with the Order of Augustinian Recollects. In a simple and intimate ceremony held in the Convent of the Comendadoras de Santiago in Madrid, the Prior General and the Federal Mother, together with several nuns and their Augustinian Recollect spiritual assistant, José Luis Lacalle, signed the statutes approved by the Congregation of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, for an initial period of five years.
The association of the Sisters of St. James and the Augustinian Recollects is based on three aspects: mutual spiritual help, collaboration in initial and ongoing formation, and the promotion of vocations. The nuns will have the religious present in their prayers and will be able to receive spiritual attention from them in any of the monasteries of the federation. Likewise, the Order of Augustinian Recollects will pay special attention to the integral formation of the nuns, when they require it.
In the signed document it is specified that the sealed relationship does not produce any effect of juridical dependence of the monasteries on the Order of Augustinian Recollects. The Commendatory Sisters will continue to maintain their autonomy, since the association strengthens spiritual bonds and fosters communion.
The linkage has come about in response to the provisions of the document ‘Cor Orans’, published by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in April 2018 as an Instruction implementing the Constitution ‘Vultum Dei quaerere’ on the feminine contemplative life. On August 5, 2019, the same Congregation issued the decree of association of the two orders, thus accepting the request made months earlier by the Federal President of the Commendatory Sisters. The signing of the document has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The desire of association of the Commander Sisters of St. James to the Augustinian Recollects is motivated by the Rule of St. Augustine, which they have had since their foundation in the 12th century, and by the close relationship they maintain with the religious in Granada. For several years now, priests of the Order of Augustinian Recollects have been spiritual assistants to the Federation of monasteries of the Comendadoras de Santiago.
“It is a very important moment”
For the nuns, this agreement is “a great joy.” “It is a very important moment for our Order because we are going to feel very accompanied,” said Sister Lucia Giron. The federal president affirmed that they feel “very Augustinian” because they follow the Rule of Saint Augustine. She assured that the association is “an advantage”, especially spiritually.
For the Prior General of the Order of Augustinian Recollects, this relationship is “a mutual help, since we join our efforts in prayer”. Miguel Miró indicated that the two orders want to: “Build Church and live in the Church”. This association has “an apostolic and spiritual projection”, supported above all by the living of the Augustinian Rule “which unites us”. He assured that the association is “a support of the Order” so that the religious can live their charism more intensely, while maintaining their juridical autonomy.
About the Comendadoras de Santiago
The first monastery of the Comendadoras de Santiago was founded in 1186. They emerged as a female branch of the military Order of the Knights of Santiago, engaged in the struggles for the reconquest of Spain. Their main purpose is contemplative prayer, although originally they were also in charge of the education of the children of the Knights of Santiago and the care of their families.
Because of the living of his Rule, St. Augustine is one of the saints most loved by the Commendatory Sisters, together with the apostle St. James, the patron of their Order. At present they have three monasteries: Granada, Madrid and Toledo. From them depend a community in India and another in Guinea.
The nuns have had a close relationship with the Spanish royal family since their beginnings. Their first monastery was founded in Palencia by Alfonso VIII of Castile (+1214). During the last period of the reconquest, the Catholic Monarchs asked for their prayers for the triumph of the battles and helped them in their expansion in Spain. Currently, King Philip VI is Master of the Order.