Tagaytay City, Philippines–The Augustinian Recollect Sisters celebrated the 48th anniversary of the Holy See’s official declaration of the Congregation’s juridical autonomy granted on November 20, 1970.
Rev. Fr. Ian Anthony Espartero, OAR presided the Thanksgiving Mass with Fr. Kenneth Onda, OAR as concelebrant at Tahanang Talangpaz on November 20, 2018. Sisters from different communities, friends and benefactors assembled with gratitude.
Decretum Laudis or decree of praise is the official measure with which the Holy See grants to institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life the recognition of ecclesiastical institution of pontifical right. When the congregation has grown in importance and when its spiritual and apostolic maturity is observed, it can be formally approved by the Pope with the decretum laudis, which transforms it into a congregation of pontifical right subject to immediate and exclusive authority of the Holy See.
It has been a challenged for the AR Congregation to obtain such autonomy. Rev. Mother Eufemia M. Lauzon, A.R. heartily expressed her thoughts with these words: “It is not easy to obtain Papal recognition. Maybe it’s only 48 years but the people whom we have touched have already known us for quiet long. Thus, it is worth to give thanks.”
Being grateful entails a memory of God. In his homily, Fr. Ian Anthony Espartero, OAR remarks that what we are doing now is remembering something which is very significant in the life not just of the Congregation of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters but also of our own lives. He presented clearly that the ups and downs can also be traced back to the moments when one is growing in faith just like the personality in the Gospel by the name of Zacchaeus who was just small yet was compelled to be able to climb up the sycamore tree in order to see and to know Jesus personally that opens the conversion of his life. He further said, “This is the reciprocal encounter that whenever we give thanks to God there is always a movement—downwards to upward and upward to downward. We would want always to look up the memories of the past in order for us to take courage to face the present and thus eventually we can have a hope the better future.”
Sisters were all grateful for the grace that has been bestowed. It is a hope that the content of this gratitude is the love for God and for one another.