80 years of presence of the Augustinians Recollects in Mexico: Seminar Saint Pius X (3/4)

An important link of the chain of events that occurred in the Vicariate of Mexico-Costa Rica is the foundation of the formation house Saint Pius X, in the city of Querétaro, Mexico, which began to function as such in 1955, although fifteen years later its extensive campus was opened to education giving rise to the Fray Luis de León College.
News | 2021 Feb 19

In February 1952 the Augustinian recollect Buenaventura Petrina took up in Querétaro in search of new vocations for the seminary of San Felipe del Progreso, in the State of Mexico, about 150 kilometers from the Queretana city.

The reception he had and the fact of getting thirteen new aspirants in a single trip encouraged everyone, including the bishop, to open a training house in the Queretana city for aspiring Augustinians.

The friars' lively enthusiasm encouraged the search for land to build a house of formation that would respond to their growing vocational demands while the bishop entrusted them with the pastoral cure of the Parish of Saint Rocco.

On May 22, 1954, the first stone was laid in a simple ceremony. On June 12th they began the works, which lasted 33 weeks. On February 17th , 1955 all the young seminarians of the training house of San Felipe del Progreso moved in full to the new Queretana house, which acquires the name of Seminary of St. Pius X. He was blessed ten days later with great solemnity.

Friar Ireneo Ojer thus described the new seminar:

"It is a building that honors us and that, although it is not like those convents and temples that abound in this city, and whose transfigured stone covers in bloom seem to speak and sing, nevertheless gathers all modern demands, rises airy on a plot that measures 54,000 square meters, dominates the whole city, has very wide horizons and , by the way, is the best of its kind."

The new community of the Seminary Saint Pius X had as its first prior Casimiro Royo, appointed in February 1955, followed by another nineteen Augustinians recollects in this function. It is currently practiced by Friar Mario Ramón Jiménez, who was a seminarian in the house.

The hopes of the friars to find new vocations led to vocational promotion reaching the states of Guanajuato, Jalisco, Querétaro, State of Mexico and Mexico City. In this vocational work, it was the collaboration of some religious congregations that lent their schools for the dissemination and promotion of Augustinian recollect life.

The Saint Pius X began with a satisfactory registration of 56 applicants; in 1960 there were 70 contenders and in 1963 it reached the hundred. The following year it reached its highest number: 107 applicants.

In 1961 the first thirteen Mexican students from Querétaro left for the novitiate house of Monteagudo (Navarra, Spain). The dream of the religious of the Vicariate , after a few years, came true with the simple profession of Mexican novices, Víctor Bayón Eugenio López, Raimundo Salazar, Jesús Villaseñor, Ignacio Ramírez, Arturo Gómez, Antonio Franco, Antonio Castellanos and Atanasio Gutiérrez.

There have been just over a thousand seminarians who have passed through the St. Pius X. Certainly the final course of many of them has not been the Augustinian Recollect religious and priestly life; but while dozens of them have been called to Augustinian Recollect life, many others have somehow integrated in their lives the Augustinian Recollect formation and its charisma, its values and way of understanding the world, beyond studies carried out in Primary, Secondary, Baccalaureate or Philosophy. There are few who remain closely related to the Order.

The vitality and energy of the friars of that time encouraged them to have the Vicarage decide to enter the field of education, choosing Querétaro as the seat of their first College:Friar Luis de León.

It began operating in 1970; the following year the Primary and Secondary sections opened their doors; three years later the same thing happened with High School, although it would not have its own building until April 1976.

Indeed, the Augustinian Recollects sought not only to train good, integral, Christian people in the vocational field, but also in society at large, thus strengthening by several items the family nucleus.

Today the Order counts among its ranks a graduate of the High School of this school: FriarJuan Manuel Ramírez Sixtos, who, leaving behind his desire to study medicine inGuadalajara, decided to enter the Postulancy in Mexico City after having lived a pre seminary stage in the San Pio X.

Since June 2020 the Saint Pius X has become a vocational and welcoming house, which aims to accompany children with vocational concerns, but already without the typical system of minor seminaries.

In addition to this task and the educational apostolate, the Augustinians Recollects inQuerétaro have spread to other fields; in Friar Luis de León with the social apostolate,the Augustinian Recollect Spirituality Center (CEAR) and the charismatic dissemination in the media through Recollects TV; and another recollect community serves the People of God of the Parish of the Divine Redeemer of the Colonia de Lomas de Casa Blanca, along with another community of Missionaries Augustinian Recollect Sisters.

The Augustinian -Recollect Family is completed today in Querétaro with the presence of the Augustinian Recollect Lay Fraternities and the Augustinian Recollect Youth (ARY) in both ministries.

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