The Province of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine of the Order of Augustinians Recollects celebrates its Fourth Centenary (1621-2021) and dedicates every month of the centenary year a specific theme of its work, its history, its charisma or the people who have made up this family for 400 years.
April is the usual context for Augustinian Vocational Week in the environment of the celebration of the Conversion of St. Augustine. Hence, in the programming of the Fourth Centenary, vocation has been chosen as the theme from almost all perspectives: vocations, agents of vocational promotion, the dissemination of vocational culture, prayer for vocations, the direct vocational proposal.
Throughout the month there are initiatives among which virtual meetings stand out, moments of prayer for vocations, interviews and reflections on vocational pastoral care, presentation of various testimonies and the virtual Vocational Festival.
The aim of the Festival was to move to a visual or sound form, and with all the creativity possible, the motto of the Fourth Centenary, "Always In Mission". The participation has come from Spain and Mexico and from various fields: contemplative religious communities, Augustinian Recollect Lay Fraternities, CEAR, educational communities (specifically, the Romareda College of Zaragoza, Spain), alumni and training...
The provincial prior of the Province of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, advised by various people, has chosen the pieces he has considered most attractive and creative. Its authors, in addition to a diploma of thanks, will have a Tablet to facilitate their creativity and increase their spirit of artistic expression.
Video and music modalities have received several entries. But it was the contemplative Contemplative Augustinian Recollects that have received special recognition in both cases.
Thus, the Monastery of the Holy Trinity of the Contemplative Augustinian Recollects of Tula (Hidalgo, Mexico) presented the video "What We Love". While visiting the monastery, we know a large part of the community that presents us with the keys to their charismatic and communal life.
The monastery of Tula was made up of 14 sisters and was founded in 1991 from the monastery of Puebla. The idea for the video arose after watching the invitation and reading the call to the Festival. We opted for the video thinking it could also serve us in the future to make ourselves known and for vocational promotion.
In saying "that which we love", we took into account phrases of St. Augustine on prayer, fraternal life, work, service, the monastery or Jesus crucified; because it is the same reality that, as nuns, we want to make life in our day to day.
As we have no practice of making videos, a diocesan priest and the communication team with which he works guided us in the process. As we recorded we felt emotion, nerves, joy.
We are not accustomed to these forms of communication, so when we received the news, it gave us much joy: by our mind we never missed winning. We thank Gabriela Díaz Lugo and Father Juan Diego Pérez Hernández for their valuable support in making this video.
Thank you for taking us into account and making us part of this 400th anniversary! God bless you for your dedication and give you back with abundant fruits!
The Monastery of the Holy Angels of Morelia (Michoacán, Mexico) has been awarded in the musical modality with the presentation of the song: “We are Builders” which has lyrics and music by Paula Robles Andrade, Augustinian recollect of this community. For both text and music, as well as for interpretation, the community was opened to dialogue and teamwork, all providing ideas and solutions. Here's what they say:
"In our community we are twelve sisters, eleven of solemn vows and a novice. Our singing is the work of the whole community, and we seek that it be simple, that it was within our means.
The video we recorded three times and among all we saw the details; if anything was missing, we would repeat it, and so until he convinced us. What cost us the most was the presentation, because every time we recorded it someone changed words, until we succeeded and settled for it. They perform the song Maria Teresa, Maria Eugenia, Eunice, Rubiseli and Guadalupe, the novice. Play the organ Paula and record the prior, Gudelia.
We are a community and thanks to all of us we were able to participate; It was a bit rushed, but really our motivation was to see that what matters is not only excellence, but feeling part of it, making a presence, sharing and sharing, giving what we are and have, because that's how we collaborate in building the Kingdom."
The Augustinian composer and singer-songwriter José Manuel González Durán has also sent one of his works to be part of the acquis of this Vocational Festival: "I want to tell you: yes!" .
The monastery of Michoacán has also wanted to participate, in addition to the winning song, with this beautiful duet entitled "Experience Of Love":
The musical participation closes with the song "Always in Mission", by Israel Díaz Puga, of Ciudad Cuauhtémoc (Chihuahua, Mexico), who has also been prolific in creativity, also presenting a poetry and a photograph, with which he has won in that modality.
Fernando Ponce participated in the video section and from the Seglar Fraternity of the Parish of Santa Rita in Madrid (Spain), with his proposal "Vocation for Life".
Graphic design area
The posters have mostly come from students from three classrooms of 6th Primary (11-12 years old) of the Romareda College of Zaragoza (Aragón, Spain), encouraged by their teachers. In fact, the winning poster is by David Antoñanzas, former student, student father and teacher of the Romareda College of Zaragoza (Aragón, Spain).
"I have been in the Augustinian Recollect Family since I was 4 years old, more than 4 decades old in this great community. Since the fourth Centenary was launched, I have followed it and passed it on to my students to make them feel part of this great family.
Given the possibility that was opened to us with the Festival and linking it with the subject of Lengua Castellana, we decided to participate in the poster contest. We read the Sing and Walk, we look for the logos and we talk about vocations, that each person has his vocation, and the importance of guiding us through the star of Jesus, to find it.
To make the poster I let myself be helped by the word "road". I looked for options and found the background image. In it I saw a river of life, green of hope, as the color that characterizes the Province. In the stacked pieces, the logo of the Order: we are a Province, but the four together form the Order.
In the pieces of the puzzle, in red, the names of the values that characterize the Augustinian Recollect Family; in green, the places where the mission takes place today. Not all pieces have words, because in them we are all who form this community, you can not leave anyone out. In addition, the puzzle means that anyone who wants can join.
The last thing is the star, as a guide and symbol of St. Nicholas of Tolentine and whose center is on the 400-year-old piece."
The winning photograph, titled "On Mission", is by Israel Díaz Puga. Israel is 46 years old and although born in Mexico City, for 18 years it has lived in Cuauhtémoc City, Chihuahua. His professional activity is that of printer, he loves art and is a collaborator in the human growth area of the Augustinian Recollect Spirituality Center (CEAR) of Chihuahua.
"I studied ballet, theatre, music and plastic arts and developed my taste for poetry. I drew cartoons and then learned formal drawing techniques and started drawing on hen's egg shells, an activity I'm still doing to date. I have a great interest in the image and its symbolic language, the musical language and I play the guitar.
Art has become my way of reflecting and sharing my experience of faith with others. From a retreat in communities in St. Martin's Parish in 2011, all my songs began to revolve around the person of Jesus. The humanism that Jesus teaches us is the subject of everything I write in poetry and compose in my songs or in any artistic creation I make. I consider myself a pilgrim of faith.
The story of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, the saint of the star, inspired me by the idea of walking or sailing in search of the other to reach out and my heart full of humanity. It's a longing for me.
I believe that the Permanent Mission is this decision to see the horizon as the scenario that opens every day and impels us to walk to meet our own humanity through the humanity of the other. The idea began with this reflection and the photo emerged during a Sunday morning walk in the viewpoint of my city.
I was accompanied by my wife and sister and suddenly the image presented itself in front of me. I was moved by the broad horizon, open the blue sky and the firmament full of homes with stories writing.
And I thought of that city as full of hope, despite the violence that surrounds it, as we walk, towards life, accompanying ourselves, in community, with our life as the treasure to share and thus make our environment enlighten.
Life is walking to the horizon, it's learning that we never go alone. Our lives share life, when we walk or navigate looking at others. Getting to fully understand this is what makes sense of existence."
Three poems have been presented, and the winner is "YourLight", by Luis Nahum Avila. The other two, by Fernando Ponce and Israel Díaz, can be read in the graphic gallery of this news.
Luis Nahum usually resides in Monterrey (Nuevo León, Mexico), where he studied a bachelor's degree in Visual Arts at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León and teaches religion and computer science at the Colegio Fray Bartolomé de las Casas. Although currently, because of the pandemic, he lives in San Luis de la Paz (Guanajuato) accompanying his mother.
"I really like drawing, painting and photography. Music is part of my daily life, because there is no day that I do not want to listen to the music that I like. I also like to look too much at everyday natural things. Thanks to this observation I can realize that these wonders are God's gift and so I appreciate the opportunity to contemplate them and the gift of having them.
The poetry I presented arises from two ideas. First, what for me is to be a missionary and the path that runs to become such. Thanks to his own path, the missionary becomes a companion and guides those who undertake their journey in life, always sharing the flame that is discovered and illuminates every path: God.
The second idea is that this walk is clearly influenced by St. Augustine, who with his life and process teaches a way to make way, to seek God and to accompany others.
All this is linked to my life, for I thank you for having and continue to have in my walk "missionaries", Augustinians, who have accompanied me and continue to accompany me as a flame that illuminates my path. I was forming Augustinians recoleto and this charisma has marked my being. I am grateful for this, I try to take care of such a gift and take it into my life day by day.
Life is a continuous search for God and, as St Augustine said, this is done by looking inside man, returning to the heart; which for me is not always easy, however, I always try to keep God’s desire burning."
This is the winning poetry:
Your light, versed walker,
guides the path of the walking neophyte,
undertakes his journey at night.
The world walked
because of the one who erred in life,
and from his lived experience,
he found the eternal flame
of the lighthouse he cares for.
Burning is your desire
to seek without rest;
your path is illuminated
by immortal brightness,
fixed for a destiny
and begins to walk.
Your sentry look
at the great deserts,
populated by dry spirits
who walk with uncertain steps,
who don't know where
they live and where they're going.
You open your eloquent lips,
mystical sentinel and shepherd,
and pour out serene words,
upon the thirsty spirits
that you resuscitate with the light of your voice.
The centuries confirm you
as guidance and guardian
of the passers-by you watch;
O immortal guide,
who always wants to light
the gaze of the mortal walker
and as an inner pedagogy
the process to accompany.
Now you, guide par excellence,
always ready to help
distract the man who walks
continue on his walk.
so that by searching inside
the heart you can turn;
and from there a new journey
must be undertaken.