“Every commemoration of the past is an invitation to renew the commitment towards the future”, says the superior general of the Augustinian Recollect Missionaries

The Augustinian Recollect Missionaries -MAR- have celebrated the 18th of this month of January in their mother house of Monteagudo (Navarra, Spain), the closing of the 75th anniversary of the canonical erection of the Congregation, for which reason Sister Nieves Mary Castro, Superior General, she sent a letter to the entire Congregation in which she invited all the religious to gratitude, to return to the founding roots and to remain committed according to the charism received, moved by the hope infused by the Spirit.
News | 2023 Jan 30

The Spirit of God accompanied and continues to accompany the Sisters, struggling to achieve a dignified life for all, spreading the perfume of the Charism that is communion and fraternity and, therefore, they are signs of contradiction in a society that preaches individualism and the accumulation of goods.

The 75-year jubilee was lived and celebrated in all the countries where the MAR is. Each MAR community during the year shared and celebrated the jubilee with the Communities Ecclesial, Educational and the different Apostolates, according to their possibilities.

In Spain

During a whole year there have been numerous commemorative, cultural andreligious services carried out in the ministries attended by the MAR Family. On the 18th, the solemn celebration of the Eucharist in the mother house of Monteagudo, ended the designed program of events.


The Brazilian MAR had the great joy of celebrating the closing ceremony together, since they were all gathered in assembly and the annual retreat in Cariacica, Espírito Santo. January 15, end of the retreat, it was the day of celebration of thanksgiving to the Lord for the goodness andmercy of God in the life of each one of the Sisters and of all the laity who they walk with them.

The MAR community of Lábrea also celebrated with the parish community, in the community of São Sebastião, which celebrated the eighth day of the novena in preparation for the feast of its patron saint, on the 18th, the day of the birth of the Congregation. The celebration Eucharist was presided over by Monsignor Santiago Sánchez, Bishop of Labrea, and The Augustinian Recollects Luis Reyes and Miguel Ángel Peralta concelebrated. United to all Augustinian Recollect Family, on the altar of the Lord offered the life, mission and vocation of everyone, laymen and laywomen. It was a unique experience. The community shared not only the Eucharist but also food, all in an atmosphere of thanksgiving for the Closing of the Jubilee Year.

Message from the Superior General of the MAR

"Give thanks to the Lord that he is good, for his mercy endures forever" (Ps 117).

To all the sisters of the Congregation

Dear sisters: in the framework of the closing of these 75 years of canonical erection and in the 76th anniversary of the same I want to extend my greetings and fraternal hug to each one of the sisters and lay people who receive this message.

The consecrated life marks the journey of its history with periodic celebrations: we celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the institute, the approval of the constitutions, the birth and death of the founders, and those facts significant events that have marked history and have shaped our life and mission. Each of these celebrations brings a perspective, an accent, a framework, a dimension, and, in all of them, in one way or another, a path of spiritual renewal, welcoming and closeness to the poor and openness to new horizons, because in every commemoration remembering the past is an invitation to renew the commitment to the future. Today we search in this celebration of the closing anniversary jubilee reaffirm identity, communion and evangelizing mission. it's an occasion propitious for the recognition of the gift of God, thanksgiving, praise and for implore God's forgiveness and mercy in our history.

Each founder and foundress has opened in the Church a way of the Gospel, a way of holiness and service to the Kingdom through which those who are called to live the experience of grace lived by them. It is essential today in our history to return to the roots, as the prophet says: "Bring memory the quarry from which you have been extracted” (Is 51,1). A path that leads to the roots where it is possible to discover the experience of the Spirit in the founder and in the sisters who started a life project according to the Gospel.

Going back to the origins is to situate oneself in what was taking root in the life and mission of the founder or founders,

"it is to drink from the spring where everything becomes a river of hope, it is to let oneself soak up the creativity of the Spirit to collaborate in the construction of a new humanity” (Cf. A. Bocos Merino, Risky and rooted, General Government, Rome 2020, p. 12-13).

Bringing to mind the quarry from which we have been extracted is the best way to root our present life and discover signs for the future, is to remember where we come from, who have been our parents in vocation, what are they ultimately our roots. Pope Francis affirms:

"For me, the great revolution is to go to the roots, recognize them and see what those roots have to say today” (Francisco, Interview in La Vanguardia on July 13, 2014).

Going back to the roots is listening to the call to holiness that resounds in the heart ofour founders as a constant whisper that invites us to live radically what we profess one day. In the introduction to the positio of M. Esperanza Ayerbe the following is read:

“It is about a woman who feels called to the contemplative life, she enters in 1917 in a strictly closed convent of the Augustinian Recollects, she came to acquire a high degree of contemplation and, when she feels filled with God, she volunteers for the missions of China to be able to communicate to everyone the treasure that she carries in her heart: her greatlove to God.
In China she realizes the immensity of the field and the abundance of the harvest and she returns in 1940 to invite all the young women who want to experience her adventure and dedicate their lives to spread of the gospel And since she can't go back to her beloved China, after initiate together with Monsignor Francisco Javier Ochoa, her prelate in the missions of China, the work of the foundation of the Augustinian Recollect missionaries, it opens the field in various nations of Latin America.
The new Congregation, erected in 1947, was born under the impulse of her missionary charism and develops immediately with the same eagerness. In a few years, under the direction of the Servant of God, the number of missionaries increases, the foundations multiply and the number of applicants.
She was directly appointed by the Holy See in 1947 as superior general at the time of the establishment of the Congregation, she was later confirmed in her post for two six-year terms in a row. She resigned in 1961 from her position due to illness, but she did not stop her missionary activity. At the wish of the new superior general, she traveled through various nations of Latin America (Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil) to give impetus to the communities” (Positio M. Esperanza. Introduction).

Taking this extract from M. Esperanza is like taking the extract from the life of Monsignor Francisco Javier Ochoa, M. Carmela Ruiz and M. Ángeles García. All, in their own way, were saints, because they passionately lived the call of God and projected their intimacy with the Lord, towards evangelization and the poorest, towards the reality of a Church that He needed it there where hope and testimony of the consecrated life were urgent. Think about them in these moments with grateful memory is to put ourselves in their thoughts and listen to the voice of her heart that continues to demand from us, true missionaries, true Augustinians, true Recollects. Sisters!, it would be enough to discover the path of renewal that we need to do just by deepening our charisma, which means nothing more than being authentic, in the image and likeness of the God who gives us created, gave life and called us to bear witness to him without measure and without any other love than Jesus Christ, living the Gospel of him, with the awareness and confidence that everything else will be given to us by addition.

At this time, we are thanking with this jubilee closure the path taken for 75 years, where the Holy Spirit gave us birth as a religious life, helped us to grow and continues to accompany us in this stage where we find ourselves.

In retrospect we can see with eyes of faith what the Lord has done with us and with so many people who walking by our side have also grown and They have promoted evangelization with their testimony and his help.

By putting the finishing touch to this jubilee year we want to do it in communion, all of us; communion that reminds us that we have received the same Spirit, the same gift, a same call and a deep desire to be faithful until the end of our lives.

Today I especially want us to unite our prayer of thanksgiving for many reasons, which could be summed up in our motto: 75 years, walking with hope. And walking with hope always in company, never alone: with the sisters who have already preceded in their dedication and courage and with whom we live in communion with the saints, with the Augustinian Recollects, our brothers, with the Augustinian Recollects of closure of different communities, with so many bishops who have involved us in the evangelization of their ministries, with priests and parishes who have accompanied us always, with directives and people committed in the schools that have been the heart of them, with volunteers in the evangelizing and social work of our contexts, with children, young people and adults who have drunk from this source, with our families that have supported our availability for the cause of serving the Kingdom of God, with our neighbors, wherever we are and whom we consider true brothers.

In view of the next General Chapter, I thank each one of us for looking at our hearts and let us return to our roots, which have nothing to do with structures but with attitudes of the heart, of total donation to God, of full availability and passion for evangelization that needs our testimony and our docility to the Spirit.

May the God of peace, of joy, the jubilee God who celebrates with sinners, welcome and help us to be true Augustinian Recollect missionaries in these times that we continue to live and that there is no end to the Spirit of God.

I end with these words from our sister Inés Zhang, representative of her Superior General in China, who sends us for this circular and I ask that we record it in our hearts and each one can internalize them in light of what they represent in this event. She tells us like this:

“On the eve of the closing of the 75 years of the Congregation, we want to give thanks to the Lord for living where the Congregation was born and the founders lived. Despite the difficulties encountered, we have not forgotten who it was who called us and to whom we continue. We can hardly do activities like before, but living the religious life according to our charism, it is a witness that we can give to those around us, even if many, do not support us”.

May Our Mother of Consolation continue to accompany our pilgrim steps.

Many blessings for each one of us and for those who with us share our charism.

Leganes, January 15, 2023

Nieves Maria Castro Pertiñez
Superior General


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