On the afternoon of Friday 21st July, a most anticipated celebration for the Augustinian family in Ecuador finally arrived: it was precisely 450 years since the foundation of the Province of St Michael the Archangel.
Fr Aridio Taveras, of the Vicariate of the Antilles, gave an opening address. He had been asked by the Prior General, Fr Alejandro Moral, to talk about these five centuries of apostolate. To this end, Fr Aridio dug deep into the archives which contain all the information about the history of this Province in the life of the Order and of the Church.
Fr Wilson Posligua, Provincial of Ecuador, reports that Fr Aridio reviewed the "most outstanding" events from the Province’s birthday on 22 July 1573 until Saturday 22 July 2023.
For example, Fr Aridio recalled that in the 1574 provincial chapter of the Province of Our Lady of Grace of Peru, the officials and conventuals destined to manage the projects that the Order, from the first moment, had set in motion in Quito, Arequipa and Abancay, were nominated. The Augustinian Province of St Michael the Archangel of Quito would depend on Our Lady of Grace until 1601, when it became autonomous. During those first 28 years, 63 friars were professed.
It was, as Father Provincial tells us, "an hour-long talk that left everyone with an abiding memory of those who have been part of this glorious Province", highlighting, for example, the arrival in 1573 of the first friars Fr Luis Álvarez and Fr Gabriel de Saona in the city of San Francisco de Quito.
Poetry, dance and fraternity among the friars
After the talk, on this first day of celebrations, the Augustinian friars, together with the invited lay guests, enjoyed a fraternal gathering where there was space for agape, dance and the reciting of poetry, all in a joyful and fraternally cordial atmosphere.
The next day, Fr Wilson was accompanied by the Prior Provincial of Colombia, Fr Israel Jimenez, in celebrating a thanksgiving Mass. During the homily, Fr Israel invited the Augustinians present “to continue evangelising with the witness of our consecration." To this end, he stressed the importance of "daily community praise to give to our faithful what we have received in personal and community prayer."
"We must be faithful to our charism as Augustinians by living in fraternity," stated the Provincial of Colombia, and who continued, "The testimony of our ‘Brothers in arms’ who were missionaries at the very beginning of our Augustinian presence in Ecuador teaches us that to be missionaries we need contemplation, simple food and clothing, detachment from material things in order to be able to share them with the poor, attracting others with patience and love, promoting humanity, and a zeal for evangelization and catechesis."
Fr Wilson took the opportunity at the very end of the special celebrations to remind everyone that both the friars and the lay Augustinian fraternities that work together in Ecuador, "are here, in this small country", at the disposition of the Gospel and of the Order.
Puedes descargar la fascinante historia de la creación de la Provincia Agustiniana de Ecuador