Bells and cannons in the Church-stronghold of Agutaya, Palawan, in the Philippines. During the first two hundred years of missionary recollects in the Philippines the Spanish Empire controlled, supported and financed the religious´ expeditions

The missions, social projects and solidarity actions are a constant in the action of the Augustinian Recollect Family. The Province of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine has always lived in mission, since its very birth was motivated by the opening of the first evangelization missions in the Philippines in the 17th century. Since then, he has carried out his evangelizing activity following the mandate of Jesus in the places today called “frontiers”: there where it is necessary to defend the dignity of human life, social justice, equal opportunities, the defense of the most vulnerable.

It is usual to establish three parts in the Recollect missionary history: in reality, two large stages separated by a brief period of time that because of its complexity and consequences became an intermediary between the two larger periods:

  • 1606-1835: in the shadow of Spanish patronage the missions depended on the Spanish Court that organized the labour of the religious orders in overseas territories.
  • 1835-1891: the separation between the Church and State which was not made from the stance of reason or dialogue. The State had a schizophrenic attitude which did not favour the religious´ but needed them overseas. The missions saved the Order from dying out.
  • 1892 up until the present: in collaboration with the Holy See the missions have not been connected with the administration of the colonies; the Church itself has defined the places and ways of working of the missionaries.

NEXT PAGE: d. The Philippines, “surname” of the Province of St Nicholas


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