"We want to keep alive the legacy of the founder and refashion our charisma by taking on the challenges and challenges of a consecrated life (2/2)
What have the foundations outside Venezuela given you?
Opening to other countries has been a response to our chapter in recent years, in which God's will for our family is demonstrated. We are on the verge of a new General Chapter, which will reassess this aspect of our growth and will undoubtedly leave much work to be done.
I particularly believe that we must strengthen the countries where we are few religious, in order to strengthen those communities and possibly create new ones, because I witness the needs expressed by our nuns in Peru, for example, to feel accompanied and supported.
And although we always have the support of our Augustinian Recollect brothers, having two communities in a country is always of benefit, especially when facing any difficulty or unforeseen event.
As for vocations, they are already flourishing among us in Colombia and Peru and God willing, soon to see an increase in potential vocations in Brazil.
How do your apostolate groups work?
They work in all our ministries, even outside Venezuela and have a mission that defines their vision and identity.
We consider them as a helping hand that supports us. In addition, they are an expression of the continuation of our charism.
The Mother Mary Fraternal Community (COFRAMM) is composed of adults, lay people who wish to live our charism and spirituality in their specific vocation and in their work environments. We currently have three. One of its hallmarks is its consecration to the Heart of Jesus, renewed annually.
The Mother Mary Prayer Group is made up of lay people who support the Shekinah Ministry of Prayer and Intercession in assemblies, retreats, meetings and celebrations of the Holy Eucharist. There are two locations: Los Teques and Puerto Cabello.
The Augustinian Youth of Mother Mary (JAMM) is composed of adolescents and young people who want to live with a greater commitment to the Augustinian Recollect identity. It has several stages of training by age groups. There are two groups, one in Los Teques and the other in Maracay.
The Augustinian-Recollect Childhood Missionaries (IMAR) consists of eleven groups working under the guidelines of the diocesan Missionary Childhood, the Office of Missions and the Pontifical Missionary Works (OMP).
Finally, the Lauritas has such a name in honor of the first name of its founder. They are girls up to the age of six who begin in the initial steps of the faith before participating in the IMAR. They receive the first Augustinian Recollect seeds of vocational discernment by participating in activities suitable for their young age to show them the love of God and service to one another.
What can you tell us about the ministries of music, dance and intercession, ministries very characteristic of yours and unique within the Augustinian Recollect Family?
Having among us many religious with artistic gifts led us to organize music and dance classes to enrich our liturgical and community celebrations.
Numerous talented people take part in the music and dance ministries including nuns, music teachers, thus enabling young girls and women the opportunity to learn to play various instruments.
The next step was to acquire new musical instruments to form a Catholic band of contemporary music. In addition to their service in our celebrations, they offered concerts and countless presentations.
By supporting healing retreats with the assistance of international preachers, we too established the ministry of intercession. This ended up constituting the Shekiná Ministry of Intercession, which before the Covid-19 pandemic, gathered up to 400 people every Tuesday in prayer and Eucharistic adoration.
Can you give us a wide-ranging outline of the Prodigar ministry?
PRODIGAR (Divine Providence with Signs of Augustinian Recollect spirituality) is a program of social action in service to the most vulnerable, which was born in the Heart of Jesus Institute (Los Teques, Miranda, Venezuela) in 2016, when Venezuela began to see the social and economic crisis that the country currently faces.
Following in the footsteps of Mother Mary, this ministry has helped those most in need: promoting quality education, the value and dignity of women, true self-esteem, respect for God and brethren and the spirit of the family.
We were noticing the significant increase of people who daily came to request food in our community, and we restructured to meet this demand, trusting only in Divine Providence, which so far does not cease to amaze us. He is the one who directly takes care of the poor.
Besides hunger, we distinguish other pressing personal needs: maintaining sound health, first aid, malnutrition, whole families wandering in the streets, children at risk or abuse, lack of medicine and children dropping out of school.
The recipients of PRODIGAR are people in a situation of severe poverty. These include the disabled, thehomeless, young mothers and abandoned children.
The response of the congregation to the cry of the poorest is fulfilled in PRODIGAR, which keeps alive the legacy of the founder and refashions our charism, while assuming the challenges of a consecrated life.
We serve approximately 1,900 people each day and we will all provide food as long as Almighty Godcontinues to bless us.
Currently there are several foundations, institutions and benefactors allied to our PRODIGAR ministry that provide monetary resources, food and healthy dietary plans.