A bakery in a convent in solidarity with the victims of climate change and the pandemic

In the monastery of San Ezequiel Moreno of the contemplative Augustinian Recollects in Bacolod (Philippines), all hands are kneading dough and all the ovens are on to provide bread for dozens of families who have been victims of the latest climatic catastrophes in the country.
News | 2022 Jan 21

The cloistered monasteries of the Augustinian Recollects around the world often earn their living through manufacturing activities that allow them to continue living their charism (community and contemplative cloistered life) while obtaining resources for their subsistence.

For the most part, they have specialized in some activities that can be carried out from the silence of the monastery without the need to go outside, such as bakery, pastries, the creation of forms for the Eucharist or the making of liturgical vestments. With the collaboration of friends or in small shops in the monasteries themselves, their products reach the local society.

In addition, there are monasteries that have some special features that allow other activities; In the case of the Philippine monastery, located by the sea, a fish farm is a good example of this community subsistence activity.

However, monasteries are not strictly profit-seeking businesses. Their participation in the local economy is also eminently social. In Kenya they distribute water; In many other places, their gardens serve to feed disadvantaged families or passing migrants, as in Mexico. And in the Philippines they have been characterized by their support with a basic necessity, such as bread, in the face of major catastrophes.

From December 12 to 22, Typhoon Rai, known in the Philippines as Odette, a catastrophic, powerful and deadly Category 5 tropical cyclone, caused immense damage in the Philippines and Vietnam. In the first country, 392 deaths and damages worth almost 620 million dollars were recorded.

The Augustinian Recollect nuns have not only prayed for the victims in a constant and intense way, but have also distributed thousands of bags of bread from their ovens and prepared by the entire community to those affected.

Places like Sipalay, Kabankalan, Ilog or the Balatoc indigenous village, with 75 families of the Tablanhon Bukidnon ethnic group, have received the bread from the nuns along with other essential goods and assistance through the UNO-R University of the Augustinian Recollects and ARCORES, the Augustinian-Recollect International Solidarity Network.

Another great tragedy shared by all of humanity has been the coronavirus pandemic, to which the contemplative monastery responded in the same way: with prayers (they have even organized a spiritual meeting via Zoom that many people joined and a concert broadcast on social networks on December 31), and putting the ovens to work to feed so many families who, without any social coverage, could not work due to the restrictions necessary to stop the pandemic.

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Augustinian Recollects Province of St. Nicholas of Tolentine.

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