A new future for the Augustinian Recollects in the State of New York
The last Provincial Chapter of the Province of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, which took place in Marcilla, Navarra, Spain, in May of this year, had the challenge of articulating the presence, communities and ministries of the Augustinian Recollects in the United States, once the union of the Provinces of Saint Augustine and Saint Nicholas of Tolentine was carried out in the chapter.
Both had homes in the United States and the new synergies have meant that some specific communities had to readjust their goals. In this context, the provincial seat of the Province of Saint Augustine, which was located in West Orange, NJ, ceased to have its original purpose and for this reason was suppressed.
The other community that is now going through a process of readjustment is the old major seminary of the Province of Saint Augustine, located in Suffern, New York, with the name of Tagaste Monastery. Once the initial formation of the religious was unified with the houses of formation of the Province of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, it is necessary that the Suffern complex have new tasks.
To this end, the Provincial Chapter established in its Life and Mission Project, Decision Number 3, which establishes the possibility of maintaining the house in Suffern, but with new tasks and specific tasks beyond initial formation.
The formation house of the Augustinian Recollects in the United States has been established as the Priory of St. Augustinein Oxnard, California, while the novitiate and the theologate are common to the entire Province and are respectively located in Monteagudo, Navarra, an interprovincial novitiate, and Las Rozas, Madrid, Saint Augustine Formation House. The presence in Suffern requires, therefore, new tasks and possibilities.
In the recent fraternal visit of Prior Provincial, Sergio Sanchez, to the United States, a meeting was convened between the Provincial, the United States Vicar Provincial, Marlon Beof, and the community of Tagaste, with the objective of proposing the way forward to comply with the decision of the Chapter.
Currently the community of Tagaste attends to the pastoral needs of the local Hispanic community with the celebration of a Sunday Eucharistic at the monastery, attended by 400 faithful, providing service to Hispanic pastoral groups, and attending to the Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternity, whose members are also Hispanic.
The community also has two chaplaincies, providing pastoral care to religious sisters.
The Recollect community of Suffern belongs territorially to Sacred Heart Parish, located on the same street as the monastery, Lafayette Avenue. The parochial complex consists of a church, parish school, residential building and a religious convent.
Also across from the monastery, is Good Samaritan Hospital, whose chaplaincy was attended previously by the community, but not currently. It has 286 beds and is managed by a non-profit organization. It offers emergency services, consultations, surgery, gynecology and obstetrics, as well as specialized services for therapies against cancer and cardiovascular diseases. It also provides pediatric, psychiatric and dependency recovery care.
In this context, the Prior Provincial held other meetings to help determine the specific function of the community of Suffern. Thus, Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, was visited to express his desire to continue in the Archdiocese, providing new pastoral services that allow the continuity of a religious community that always seeks to serve the People of God.
A meeting was also held with specialists in legal matters and urban infrastructures who had carried out a preliminary study on the state of the complex and the possibilities of remodeling or building a new structure. This will also help to know what possibilities the property can be used for in the future, to meet the pastoral needs and mission of the Province.