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Asia Pacific Augistinian Conference

Augustinian Missionary Sisters in 17 Nations

The Augustinian Missionary Sisters (Agustinas Misioneras) are not newcomers to the Asia-Pacific.

They ministered in China in 1925-1950, and returned there in 1998, and have been in India since 1985 and Taiwan since 2001. In December 2010 the Philippines became the seventeenth nation in which they currently serve throughout the world. 

The Congregation of the Augustinian Missionary Sisters had its remote origins in an initiative in 1883 that led to the founding of the Agustinas Misioneras in 1890. In 1883 the contemplative Augustinian Sisters of the Beaterio of St Augustine in Barcelona, Spain, were invited by the friars of the Order of St Augustine to go to the Philippines, which at that time was a Spanish colony. 

 The Sisters of the Beaterio responded positively, and took on the missions in the Philippine Islands, dedicating themselves wholeheartedly to the education of young orphaned girls. Within a few years the Augustinian Sisters of the Beaterio of St Augustine were running two schools for orphans in the city of Manila.

This beginning was the birth of the charisma of the Agustinas Misioneras, who are involved in an evangelizing mission through education and human development.

 And then in 1890, three Augustinian Sisters from the Beaterio of St Augustine in Barcelona, Mothers Querubina Samarra, Mónica Mujal (both were among the sisters who had gone to Manila in 1883) and Clara Cantó, founded a new community with a novitiate in Madrid, Spain. This was a new and separate congregation from the Beaterio. All three are regarded as the foundresses of the Agustinas Misioneras of today.

Mother Querubina Samarra was a strong woman. She began committing herself to the promotion of the Sisters empowering them for their service as teachers. She was the General Superior of the Congregation for thirty-three years.

 Mother Clara Cantó was the superior of the first community in Madrid, and a woman of deep spirituality. Mother Mónica Mujal dedicated her love and talents to the task of novice mistress and of education of the orphan girls in Manila and in the school of Madrid. 

 The main goals of the new community in Madrid were, firstly, the religious formation and training of sisters as teachers to be sent to the apostolic mission in the Philippines and, secondly, the directing a school for Spanish orphan children.

 The Sisters had a clear intention that this was not merely an extension of the Augustinian Sisters of the Beaterio (Convent) of St Augustine in Barcelona, but a different Congregation that came to be canonically erected on 6th May 1890. On 29th November of that same year, with the approval of the first Constitutions, the new Congregation was confirmed as “Agustinas Terciarias Misioneras de Ultramar”. 

  

The community of the Beaterio in Barcelona “Agustinas Terciarias de San Agustin of Barcelona” was also incorporated into the Congregation of the “Agustinas Terciarias Misioneras de Ultramar” on 5th June 1959, i.e., the “mother congregation” was incorporated into one of its “daughter congregations.”

On 28th August 1962 the Holy See raised the Congregation to the status of a congregation of pontifical right. From then onwards, the official name of the Congregation has been Agustinas Misioneras (Augustinian Missionary Sisters).

All three foundresses came from the Augustinian Sisters of the Beaterio of St Augustine in Barcelona. 

The fundamental source of Agustinas Misioneras spirituality is the Gospel lived out in history, and the spirit of St Augustine lived out in a context of interiority and the search for God, the Common Life, and service to the Church.

 As to the charism, the following of Christ leads the Agustinas Misioneras to carry out our mission in complete availability to the calling of the Spirit. We do this through education and human development programs paying attention to areas of poverty and great need and to mission territories ad gentes (“to the nations”). The Sisters live this out in a community of faith, love and prayer, in attitude of searching, openness, and evangelical simplicity that takes up and shares in the task entrusted to each sister.

 As to mission, from the beginning the Agustinas Misioneras were impelled by their missionary spirit to project this dimension beyond home frontiers, committing themselves overseas , and assuming responsibilities preferentially for mission territories ad gentes. In choosing new activities or changing and adapting the current ones, the criteria adopted are the call of the Church and a dynamic fidelity to the Agustinas Misioneras charism.

By means of education, especially of children and youth, and human development programs, Agustinas Misioneras work with people in the process of full self-realization so that they can be persons aware of their dignity, able to enjoy health, able to be critical, open to permanent and transcendent values, and committed by means of the Kingdom of God to the creation of a more just and human society.

Their specific mission to evangelize through education and human development programs is fulfilled today in the schools of the Congregation, in schools other than those of the Congregation, in working with children in need, in day-care centres, in residences for youth, in pastoral activities, in human development programs for women, and in health-care and social work.

Today the Congregation is present in seventeen countries: Foundation in Spain (1890), Brazil (1921), China (1925-1950; 1998), Algeria (1933), Colombia (1954), Argentina (1966), Peru (1967), Italy (1972), Tanzania (1978), Equatorial Guinea (1980), India (1985), Kenya (1985), Chile (1987), Mozambique (1995), Dominican Republic (1997), Taiwan (2001) and the Philippines (2010). 

In June 2012 there were 438 Augustinian Missionary Sisters (383 in Final Vows; 55 in Temporary Vows); 10 Novices and 4 Postulants internationally. There are some Aspirants in different realities of the world.

In the Asia-Pacific, the Agustinas Misioneras have a total of seventy-five Sisters. Of the sixty-one in India. Of the seven in China, five are Chinese and two are Indian. Of the four in Taiwan, two are Indians, one is African, and one a Peruvian. At present, there are three Indian-born Sisters at Pangasinan, Dagupan Philippines. They arrived in Manila on the 22nd November 2010 and were warmly welcomed and accommodated by their “twin sisters”, the Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation. They then moved to Dagupan on 16th December 2010. At the moment (June 2012) the residence is situated at 583 Malta Road, Barangay Malued, Dagupan City, 2400. 

 

Two of the sisters are involved in campus ministry in the University of Pangasinan, which involves them in informal catechesis, counselling, group retreats and preparing sacramental ministry particularly masses and reconciliation. Another sister is teaching and also involved in campus ministry in St Colomban College.

The Agustinas Misioneras and the Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation are “sister” congregations because of connections that existed among their foundresses. Among the four Sisters from the Beatery of Barcelona who went to the Philippines in 1883 was Sr. Querubina,  who became one of the Agustinas Misioneras foundresses, and another was Mother Rita Barceló, who became a co- foundresses of the Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation.

In a second group who went from the Beaterio in Barcelona to the Philippines was another one of the three future Agustinas Misioneras foundresses, Mother Monica Mujal, and along with this group also went a postulant, Joaquina Barceló, who was later called Mother Consuelo Barceló, the co-foundresses of the Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation. 

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