Monteagudo, the place to have a gathering to start a new school year for high school students and their teachers of Zaragoza’s Romadera School.
Since years past, teachers and staff had already presented the idea that a special gathering should be celebrated with senior students that are in their last year of education in our high school and it should be in a place that is also special to the Augustinian Recollects. Monteagudo is some 90 kilometers (56 miles) from Zaragoza. This convent is very important to the Order because this is where the Recollects were permitted to continue existing in Spain after Mendizabal disentailment laws of 1835. Being this the novitiate, the students were glad to hear that this is where all the friars they’ve known in their school, came to learn how to be and live as true Recollects.
After a little more than an hour of travel, the students arrived to Monteagudo and were greeted by the novice master, Wilmer Moyetones, who gave them a brief welcome in Our Lady of the Way church and then invited them to the gardens for a moment of prayer and reflection.
Even the tutors were included in the icebreakers prepared by the novices. While the small groups were created, the superior of the community, fray Francisco Javier Jimenez, gave them a warm welcome and insisted his desire was that they feel at home.
The novices told the students and staff about the Extraordinary Mission Month of October which Pope Francis declared officially for this year with the motto “Baptized and Sent”. Each small group had to create an artistic representation of the motto. Some chose a short skit, others prepared a rap song, drawings. Another activity that included balloons, taught everyone the importance of team work. This part ended with a prayer and the “Missionary Soul” song which the novices did not give up until everyone learned it.
The open house tour then followed with the community prior guiding one group, and Fray Joaquín Uriz being the tour guide for the other half of the group. The tour included the cloister, orchards, St. Ezekiel chapel, etc.
After brunch, the activities the students had were prepared by their class tutors and they included their school year motto based on St. Augustine’s sayings: “Give what you have so that you may receive what you need”. The students reflected on the phrase and were surprised of its profound meaning.
For lunch and recess, the students were able to go anyplace they wanted in the monastery grounds. The teachers were invited to the religious community’s refectory.
At 3pm, the teachers had to take advantage of the time they had available with their students before the soccer and volleyball games started amongst teachers, students, novices and some friars.
The students left happy and appreciating the friars’ and novices’ hospitality. If the teachers continue to be class tutors next year, we will surely see them again.