From the 10th-20th April, the General Councillor of the Order of Saint Augustine, Fr Alexander Lam, made a canonical visitation of renewal to the Province of Our Lady of Grace in Chile
Following a long and fruitful stay in Mexico for almost a month and shortly before participating in the Assembly of the OALA, Fr Lam had the opportunity to get to know first hand each of the communities and friars that make up this Province, and to express the closeness of the Prior General to the faithful and religious of Chile, and of his council: "always in the spirit of renewal".
As is customary in this type of visit, the General Councillor was accompanied by the Provincial of Our Lady of Grace - Fr José Ignacio Busta - during his tour of the five local communities, where Fr Lam was able to see the pastoral and apostolic work that is being undertaken, how community bonds are formed and strengthened, and the various ways our brothers share our Augustinian charism.
Confident, courageous and determined for the mission entrusted to them
"Remembering the elements that constitute our religious life, and discovering together with them the essential elements that define us as Augustinians in carrying out the mission entrusted to us" is how Fr Lam captured the essence of these days of "affection and fraternity." Moreover, he added that "it was nice to see the affection they have for one other. It is one of their great strengths, thanks to which, despite any differences or difficulties they may have, they face the reality of shared religious life with maturity." He later commented to the General Curia's communications office that "...they are doing a very beautiful job. They have important parishes and good educational services."
It is worth remembering that the political and social upheaval that the country has endured, together with the scandals that have affected the local Church itself, have made Chile true mission territory, where 12 of our religious "in spite of everything, have been able to move forward with the schools and parishes."
"We give infinite thanks"
As provincial secretary Fr Samuel Jara reports from Chile, "Fr Lam’s renewal visit ended with a meeting with the brothers of the Provincial Council, sharing with them his take on the days spent with us, as well as identifying some challenges for us to tackle in our Province, in a couple of different areas."
In between visiting the conventual communities, Fr Lam celebrated the Sacred Triduum in the parish of the Good Shepherd, in San Pedro de la Paz, and was able to witness the day-to-day life of the sisters of the Third Order and the workings of the Secular Augustinian Fraternities.
Fr Jara concluded his commentary on the visit by adding, "We give infinite thanks to our brother for these days of visitation, for his closeness, his attentive listening, for encouraging us in our challenges, and for generating spaces of trust in each individual dialogue that he held with the brothers. Without a doubt, these spaces were critical in allowing us all to be re-energised and to come together in the spirit of St Augustine and our Order, allowing us to reclaim our part in this great family that seeks to have one soul and one heart oriented towards God."