On October 1, Fr. Javier Pérez Barba, Assistant General for Southern Europe, began his visitation of the communities of the Province of St. John of Sahagún in the Iberian Peninsula, delegated by the Prior General in accordance with number 461 of the Constitutions.
Javier himself told the Curia Communications Office, "I thought it advisable, in dialogue with the Prior Provincial, Fr. Domingo Amigo, to divide the visitation into three successive stages, given the large number of communities". In fact, the month of October saw the end of the first phase of this visitation, which focused on the communities of northern Spain, including the autonomous community of Castilla y León, together with the three that the Province has in the Spanish Levante region. The second stage is planned to cover the communities of southern Spain, the Balearic and Canary Islands, the two communities of Portugal and some others of the central peninsular area. Finally, in January, God willing, the rest of the communities located in the province of Madrid will be visited.
In this sort of pilgrimage," says the Assistant General, "in which I try to show the concern and closeness of the Prior General to the communities I visit, I have so far had the extraordinary opportunity to meet and speak with the brothers of Barcelona-Badalona, Zaragoza, Calahorra, La Vid, Loiu, Bilbao, Santander, León, Valladolid, Salamanca, Alicante, Valencia and Castellón. The fundamental aspect of the visit consists precisely in the dialogue with the brothers".
This is the first general visitation of renewal to the recently created Province of San Juan de Sahagún, resulting from the union of the four preceding Spanish provinces, which will celebrate its second ordinary provincial chapter in July 2024. Thus, besides seeking to promote the good of each community and of each of the brothers (CC 278), this visit of renewal "allows us to appreciate in part the road travelled up to the present day by the new Province, with the great achievements already made and also with its difficulties and challenges to be faced".
"Enormous affection and joy" visiting the Augustinian sisters
Javier did not want to miss the opportunity to visit and greet the Augustinian sisters of contemplative life who live in monasteries close to the places he visited. The communities of Zaragoza, Logroño, Bilbao, Valladolid, Orihuela, San Mateo and Ulldecona have received him "as one receives a brother, with great affection and joy".
At the end of this first stage, Fr. Javier wanted to express his gratitude for the hospitality and attention received from the brothers and hopes that this visit of renewal will serve as a stimulus to promote the different aspects of religious and apostolic life (CC 278) so that, "as we are praying these days in all our communities on the occasion of the Synod being held in Rome, always feeling dissatisfied with what we are, we may attain what we hope for" (Serm. 169, 18).