Ten Augustinian friars from the delegation of Japan joined three friars from Korea for a week-long spiritual retreat at an iconic and evocative Japanese site
The retreat was directed by Joseph Farrell, OSA, Vicar General of the Order of St. Augustine, and held at a house of prayer, Villa Fuji, run by the Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ). All participants were able to savour the magnificence and beauty of Mt. Fuji while at prayer, as Fr. Joe recounts on his return from the trip, "the quiet peace immediately found in the house, the chapel and the surrounding woods and trails definitely created the perfect environment for meditation and prayer".
A time of unity and prayer to think about synodality
Over the week, the participants walked together "in fraternal sharing and charity" as they explored how "Communion, Participation and Mission" are the foundations on which "the heirs of St. Augustine" must stand, notes the General Councillor.
The retreat was also an occasion to share reflections on synodality, on the life of the Church, and on the spirituality, works and deeds of St. Augustine. "It was a time to give thanks to God," said Fr. Joe Farrell upon his return to Rome.
Augustinians in Japan today
The delegation in Japan is small, but diverse. There are 11 friars in total, including one each from the USA and the Philippines. The remaining nine are Japanese, with one - Atushi Kuwahara - due to be ordained to the priesthood in May this year. God willing.
Their work is also diverse, covering four apostolates in four different cities. The friars run two parishes (one each in Tokyo and Nagoya); there are nursery schools in Fukuoka; and an elementary school in Nagasaki.
Augustinians in Korea today
First established in 1985 in a joint initiative between the Australian and the English/Scottish provinces, in 2023 the Korea delegation comprises 21 friars across three communities: a retreat house (in Yeon-Choen), and the formation house and the delegation house (both in Incheon). Currently there are no Augustinian-run schools in Korea. Seventeen of the friars are Korean, one is from England, and three are from the Philippines. There are two novices and two students with simple vows made at this time.