WITNESSES OF HOPE
On June 15, in Baeza, Spain, we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Sister Monica of Jesus, an Augustinian Recollect contemplative nun. Particularly noteworthy in her life were the natural ease and spontaneity with which she spoke about God and spiritual things. She viewed everyday happenings in the light of faith. Her self-giving presence to the sisters in her community, the joy and peace that she exuded, even in times of persecution and war, vividly revealed her love for Christ. The virtues of Sister Monica were approved by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1992, and now we are waiting for a miracle so that she can be beatified.
A few days later I was in the Augustinian Recollect monastery in Monteagudo, Spain, where the mortal remains of Saint Ezekiel Moreno are venerated. In that community fourteen young men from several different countries are completing their novitiate, a year of community experience, and giving direction to their lives along paths of commitment and holiness. The novices transmitted contagious hope and expectation; they gave evidence of their desire to live with consistency their life of prayer, fraternity, and apostolic service. They declared that the revitalization of the Order is their future. In the mystery of the human heart, the Lord continues to call followers to accompany him along different paths and to be witnesses of hope.
And on June 25 I was back in Rome. I had to go to the Congregation of the Saints, together with Father Samson Silloriquez, our councilor in charge of promoting the causes of the saints of the Order, and with his assistant Father Eliseo González. We visited the Prefect of the Congregation, Cardinal Angelo Amato, and presented to him the study of the life and virtues of Bishop Alphonse Gallegos, an Augustinian Recollect and Auxiliary Bishop of Sacramento, California, USA. Bishop Alphonse died in a traffic accident in 1991. We explained to the Cardinal that Bishop Alphonse had a serious problem with his vision and so experienced serious difficulties in his studies. As a priest and a bishop he went out of his way to serve the needs of the poor and the sick, immigrants and the marginalized. He befriended the young people on the street to help them in their problems with drugs and violence. They liked to call him “Father Al” or “the chaplain of the low-riders” or “the Bishop of the Barrio,” the troubled barrio of Watts in Los Angeles. He was Hispanic and was a pioneer in Hispanic Ministry. Among the Hispanics he was a witness of hope.
Bishop Alphonse Gallegos, OAR (1931-1991)
The paths of holiness are many and varied, depending on the particular vocation of each individual. In the mystery of the human heart, the Lord continues to call his followers to sanctity in different ways. But all the saints are witnesses of hope; they intercede for us and inspire us by their example. We frequently ask them to intercede for us, and the Lord grants us his favors. To declare a Christian a saint, however, the Church makes no small demands, but boldly requires that, in addition to virtues in a heroic degree, there be a miracle. Or, rather, two miracles granted through the person’s intercession, miracles scientifically proven. To see a miracle requires faith, that simple and profound faith that only God can give and that takes root in a humble heart.
Fr. Miguel Miró, OAR
Order of Augustinian Recollects
(from the OAR website: agustinosrecoletos.com)