1621-2021: four centuries since the first general chapter

The Order of Augustinian Recollects will begin celebrating on November 29 the 400th anniversary of the first General Chapter, celebrated in 1621 in the historic convent of Madrid.

November 19, 1621. This is the date of the beginning of the first General Chapter of the Augustinian Recollects. We are in Madrid, in the convent whose construction work had been completed just a few months earlier. In the Chapter of the then Congregation of the Augustinian Recollects it was decided to create the Provinces of Castile, Aragon, Andalusia and the Philippines, the latter with the name of St. Nicholas of Tolentino. It was the continuation of a journey which had begun on December 5, 1588 and which, in spite of the difficulties, would have no apparent end.

The Order of Augustinian Recollects will begin to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first General Chapter, which took place from November 19-30, 1621. The beginning of this year of remembrance and celebration will be in the same place where the remembered event began: in the original and historic convent of the Augustinian Recollects in Madrid, where the National Library of Spain is currently located. A commemorative ceremony will be held at the Spanish National Library on November 29 at 10 a.m. (Spanish time). Subsequently, on November 30, the date on which the Chapter concluded, the opening Eucharist will be celebrated at the Monastery of the Incarnation of the Augustinian Recollect Nuns in Madrid.

Opening of the Centenary in Madrid

The commemorative act of January 29 will recall the origins of the place, the importance of the event being remembered and the history that the Augustinian Recollects have traversed throughout the centuries since their foundation in 1588. The Prior General and the President of the Institute of Spirituality and History of the Order will intervene in the event, which will be presented by the director of the magazine Vida Nueva, José Beltrán.

The Monastery of the Incarnation has been the place chosen to celebrate the opening Eucharist that will officially begin the 400th anniversary of the first General Chapter. The celebration will be presided by the Prior General, Miguel Miro, and will be attended by the major superiors, religious, members of the Augustinian Recollect family and invited personalities.

It will be the starting point of a year in which the Order of Augustinian Recollects intends to remember the past in order to look towards the future. The main milestones of this year of celebration will be the 56th General Chapter, which will take place from March 1st in Rome, and the four provincial chapters, which will be held throughout the year 2022. The closing will be December 5, 2022, on the 434th anniversary of the Augustinian Recollection.

National Library of Spain, where the historic convent of the Augustinian Recollects of Madrid was located.

“Hope in the future”

The Chapter of 1621 was convoked by mandate of Cardinal Antonio Sauli, protector of the Order of St. Augustine, to whom Pope Gregory XV had commissioned the execution of what was established in his brief Militantis Ecclesiae, of June 5, 1621. With this brief, the Pontiff elevated the Province of the Augustinian Recollects to the rank of Congregation, entrusted its government to a Vicar General and granted the new Congregation the faculty to organize itself into provinces, according to the geographical distribution of the convents, as indicated by Angel Martinez Cuesta in the first volume of the History of the Augustinian Recollects.

In a letter sent to the Augustinian Recollect religious, the Prior General, Miguel Miro, has assured that “this Centenary is an opportunity to let the Lord touch our hearts”. “Let us all stop for a while, take a break, take a look at these 400 years, and try to draw proposals of life and hope for the future”, he says.