HISTORY

LUIS AMIGO and THE CAPUCHIN TERTIARY SISTERS OF THE HOLY FAMILY

Josè María Amigó was born in the beautiful town of Masamagrell in the Province of Valencia, Spain, on October 17, 1854, the year of the Proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

His father, Gaspar Amigó, a lawyer, and his mother, Genoveva Ferrer, the daughter of a merchant: Parents with great faith who knew how to give their children a good example of Christian life and a conscious education on the values of the Gospel;  were so described by Jose Maria in his autobiography:

“I do not think I act in vain pondering my father’s virtues, for such reflections lead to God‘s glory. My father’s distinguishing traits were his candid, compassionate heart and his very solid faith which were clearly evident when he was dying

Of my mother I can say that I have never known a lady who had suffered so much; yet no one would ever guess the sorrow and hardships she endured. She concealed her suffering well and was very prudent, saying it was nobody’s fault that we suffer tribulations”

As it was the custom at the time, he was baptized the day after his birth in the parish church of the town. The baptismal font where he was baptized has been preserved to the present time in the same church, and the record of the event has been saved on the marble font.

At the age of three, on November 18, 1857, Luis Amigo received the Sacrament of Confirmation administered to him by the Archbishop of Valencia, Monsignor Paul Avella, in the parish of St. Lorence in Valencia.  On May 13, 1866, when he was twelve, he received for the first time the bread of the Angels (first communion) in the parish of St. Nicolas in the City of Valencia.

Having overcome many difficulties, Josè María and one of his friends, Manuel Thomas, left for Bayone-France. They arrived there on March 31, 1874. The Capuchin Fathers received them warmly. After a period of preparation, on April 12th of the same year, the second Sunday after Easter, they were invested with the holy habit of the Order, Josè María took the name of Brother Luis de Masamagrell. From that day on, the young novice led the exemplary seraphic life of one who had been called by God to an exceptional apostolate.

On April 18th of the following year, 1875, Brother Luis pronounced the holy vows, temporarily embracing the Rule of the Seraphic Father, St. Francis which, despite his weak constitution, he observed constantly throughout his religious life.

In 1877, the Capuchin Fathers received the royal decree to return to Spain, Bro. Luis still a student, was selected to join the first group. In these ways— studying, working, and practicing virtues— he continued his ascent to the priesthood and was thus ordained on March 29, 1879 at the friar of Montehano de Escalante in Santander, Spain.

He dedicated himself with much ardor top popular preaching and the organization of the Third Order Franciscan Secular. His voice called together thousands of enthusiastic persons with an admirable spirit of conversion. The attention, care and moralization of the prisoners was one of the worries of Luis Amigo, a work which he had been doing since his youth when he attended to catechized and entertained the prisoners in Valencia. One greatest concern of his apostolic spirit was the Christian education of the young ones.

Father Luis wrote:

“The continuous progress and growth of The Secular Franciscans (Third Order) and the desire for greater perfection of those who wanted to consecrate themselves to God compelled me to find time to establish the religious Congregation of The Tertiary Capuchin Sisters.  Deeming this idea to be God’s will, I started to write the constitutions according to the particular objectives of the new Congregation, imploring Divine guidance for this purpose”

Among the Secular Franciscans, there were some who lived a very devout Christian life and felt the desire to strive for greater perfection.  They wanted to leave everything –homes, property, families-  to serve God, to practice charitable works and to do His holy will.

These deep desires in particular, moved Fr. Luis even closer to actualizing his special mission as he started to write the constitutions for the new religious family whose special mission would be:

  • Institutions for social re-education;
  • Institutions for social protection;
  • Providing shelter for poor girls;
  • Education;
  • Assisting the sick and the elderly and
  • Pastoral action at their mission sites.

As Founder

By the end of 1884, Fr. Luis had written the constitutions, and on March 17, 1885 he presented them to Cardinal Antolín Monescillo, Archbishop of Valencia, for approval. The Constitutions were officially approved  on March 27th. Fr. Luis then undertook preparations for the official installation of the congregation. On May 11, 1885, in the small friary of Montiel in Benaguacil, Fr. Luis officiated at the solemn ceremony effecting the canonical establishment of the congregation. Fr. Luis invested four new postulants with the holy habit of the Order, and the “Te Deum,” a hymn of praise and thanksgiving were sung.

The day so many had wished for arrived. Father Luis, of course, was also deeply satisfied with the canonical inauguration of the new Congregation which took place on April 12, 1889, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. All the postulants participated in the ceremony which began in morning with the celebration of mass and a sermon. This service was followed by the adoration of the Holy Sacrament, the singing of a hymn to the Holy trinity, and the delivery of a sermon in the afternoon.

Father Luis invested fourteen new religious with the holy habit of the Congregation. The first to take the habit was the priest José Moliner who assumed the new name of Father Francisco de Saueras.

On June 9, 1907, the third Sunday after Pentecost, he received the Episcopal Consecration in the Diocese of Madrid, the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He fulfilled his missions as a  Bishop in the Diocese of Solsona and of Segorbe. In both Diocese the pastoral ministry of LUIS AMIGO was marked by his dedication and service that symbolized  by his Episcopal  slogan: “ANIMAN MEAM PONO PRO OVIVUS MEIS” or “ I GIVE MY LIFE FOR MY SHEEP” that made him ready to give his life even to each one of his diocesans.

Exhausted by eighty years of life filled with work, penance and preoccupations, Bishop Luis Amigo fell ill during the summer of 1934. Hoping he would improve, he transferred to the quarters prepared for him by the Sisters in their Mother House at Masagmagrell. But when his religious Brothers and even the most Reverend Father General were convinced that the life of their saintly Founder was waning, they decided to transfer him to their Mother House in Godella, Where they would have the Consolation of providing him with all the filial care and attention possible and have the comfort of being near him to the last.

Fr. LUIS AMIGO ( SPIRITUAL FIGURE AND MESSAGE)

Every authentic prophet is a symbol and a message: symbol and message of God, a column of history and a servant of the people. Exactly what LUIS AMIGO Y FERRER had been: Capuchin, Founder and Bishop, symbol and message of a life profoundly anchored on God, of a clear insight on the signs of the times and of intuition on his brother’s clamour.

To try to draw with light strokes the spiritual personality of a man of God is arduous and difficult. The most solid nucleus of Fr. Luis teaching is the justification and salvation through faith in the dead and resurrected Christ. If, on the other hand, we seek to put in few words his charism and mission for the service of the Church, the best description would be REDEEMING CHARISM.

He had drank from the rich personality of St. Francis of Assisi, someone that powerfully caught his attention: his concern for the marginalized and his pedagogy in order to lead back to the right path those who are astray. The image of the Saint of Assisi approaching and kissing a leper and taming with affection the wolf of Gubbio left in him a deep impression.

As a good son of the Seraph of Assisi and in imitation of the attitude of Good Shepherd, his spirituality evolves around a merciful and redeeming christocentrism and a sorrowful Mariology, of Mary at the foot of the Cross, that develops into a well-defined apostolic vision: the Christian education of the youth deviated from the way of truth and goodness.

To bring back the lost sheep to the sheep-fold of the Good Shepherd was the Episcopal Slogan of LUIS AMIGO.

“I GIVE MY LIFE FOR MY SHEEP” and this GIVING OF LIFE was left to us, his children in the last testament for his two Congregations:

“YOU, I WHOM HE CALLS TO BECOME THE SHEPHEREDS OF HIS FLOCK, MUST BE THE ONES TO GO AFTER THE STRAY SHEEP TO BRING IT BACK TO THE SHEEP- FOLD OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD. AND DO NOT FEAR TO LOSE YOUR LIFE IN THE PRECIPICE AND RUINS IN WHICH MANY TIMESYOU NEED TO GO INTO IN ORDER TO SAVE THE LOST SHEEP.”

Luis Amigo discovered that the collaboration which God asked from him to the Nystery of Redemption must be accomplished with the two basic activities that distinguished the redemptive work of Christ: MERCIFUL LOVE AND THE CROSS.

HE BECAME A PROPHET OF MERCY to the most needy: prisoners, aged, sick, orphans, a strayed young ones- because he made his own the teaching of the Master, “I have not come to save the just but the sinners” and dedicated himself “to search for those who are lost”

Luis Amigo listened to the Word of God with extraordinary faith and converted it, with a prophetic mind, with enchanting and attractive simplicity and purity of heart, into a committed interpretation of the Gospel. This generated a supernatural transparency in his conduct which gave the impression of an existence that is completely sustained by the hand of God. A consequence of this was an extreme coherence between practice and theory in him.

His was transparent existence in which throbbed a rich and prodigal humanity together with a profound faith as a vital pledge and as a mission that is open to the reality of every man. His healthy spirit, with “an innate inclination towards virtue”, which he acknowledged as a gift from God, made his life an unceasing march towards good, always attentive to Divine appealing and always awaits opportunities for real and serious initiatives. In his duties as a religious as a preacher, as superior, as bishop and above all as founder of the two Congregations, we discover a very catching harmony between his fondness to retreat, to reposed contemplation, to conventual observance on one hand, and on the other an apostolic dynamism of great creativity and concreteness. All of these without the desire to monopolize or be praised, with the gentle security that he who is guided from above need not interest himself with personal success or failure, for only the glory of God pushes him. Without wanting it, the flight of Francis of Assisi comes to mind.

The life of Luis Amigo was an existence of profound communion with the Lord, nourished by grace and sustained by prayer. In studying his heroic virtues, one of the Theologians said, “We stand before a giant of spiritual life, a model and prototype of religious, priests, bishops and founder.”

Seduced by God’s love the “marginalized youth” in society that had not taken into awareness this problem, he intuitively went forward to offer the solutions.

He knew how to fit simplicity and strength harmoniously, balancing between prudence and audacity.

His Charism and Mission are profoundly ecclesial and enjoy perennial existence.

His mortal life is extinguished, but his spirit lives in the AMIGONIAN FAMILY, called by Divine vocation to the redemption of the poor and needy brothers.

Founder of the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters of the Holy Family and the Capuchin Tertiary Fathers and Brothers ofOur Lady of Sorrows

OUR ORIGINS

The Congregation of Capuchin Tertiary Sisters of the Holy Family was conceived in the soul of Luis Amigo as a consequence of his apostolate with the Third Order Franciscan Secular.

The desire for greater perfection of some young ladies of the Third Order who wanted to consecrate themselves to God moved him to found the Congregation and believing it TO BE THE WILL OF GOD, started to write the Constitution with an eminently Franciscan basis.

In the Sanctuary of Montiel, a group of young women had gathered together in their desire to live a contemplative and apostolic life with a Capuchin spirituality. They had some missionary attempts in Africa, but did not arrive at a consolidation as a congregation due to the grave political situations of that time.

Three of them presented themselves to Fr. Luis and asked him to consider them for the NEW FOUNDATION of Capuchin Tertiary Sisters of the Holy Family. In Montiel, with the three and the other young ladies from the Third Order, the Congregation started its march on the 11th of May 1885.

From that day onwards, the presence of some religious consecrated to abnegated, generous and creative service began to be felt everywhere. The new community was built on love and offers to the suffering world the most beautiful explosion of charity. The sisters do not live for themselves but for God and for their poor brethren; the sick and the most needy.

BY THE ROAD OF MERCY

JUNE 1885… the terrible epidemic of ASIAN CHOLERA attacked various zones of Valencia. Masamagrell cried for help… At only a few weeks of birth, the Congregation, through the Founder, sent four Sisters to care for the plagued victims. Three of them – the youngest and strongest ones – watered with their death the still delicate tree of the Congregation. They are the first witnesses of “love to the utmost” that the Capuchin Tertiaries offered to the Church and to the world.

AFTER THE CHOLERA…

THE CHLORE PASSED, LEAVING BEHIND FATAL CONSEQUENCES: UNDERNOURISHED FAMILIES, ABANDONED WIDOWS, CHILDREN WITHOUT PARENTS. THE PANORAMAS WAS THAT OF EXTRENSIVE DESOLATION. LUIS AMIGO WAS AWARE OF THIS. THERE WAS NO MONEY, NO MEANS, NO HOUSE… BUT NOTHING MATTERS WHEN THERE IS FAITH AND HOPE IN DIVINE PROVIDENCE WHO “FEEDS EVEN THE BIRDS IN THE SKY.”

Little by little, the small and poor rented house extended itself until it became the first ORPHANAGE of the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters.

Twenty years had not yet passed when the first missionary sisters parted for Colombia (the Guajira) in 1905. In 1928 they parted for Vanezuela. The tree continued to grow. In 1929 was the last missionary expansion in Fr. Luis’ life: destination Kansu, the poor mission of China.

Small in its birth, the congregation grows and strengthens itself in prayer in which the world is seen as a challenge to charity, and confronts it with a charismatic redemptive dimension.

It has been more than 100 years of history since that May 11 in Montiel that the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters give their life to God, to their brethren and to the world in a mission that is unmistakably “among the poorest and most needy.” Their testimony is a seed of surrender so that the future generations may see in them the “challenge to love” through a continuous martyrdom of their own selves.

OUR FORM OF LIFE IS: …

“TO FOLLOW JESUS BY OBSERVING THE HOLY GOSPEL”

A Christ inseparable from the Father.

A Christ incarnated.

A Christ, Poor, humble and crucified.

A Christ, God Sheperd who gives his life for his sheep.

We are born under the shadow of MARY. The Founder’s love for her is a gift that makes the Congregation a Marian Family par excellence. In the imitation of her virtues and the special devotion to her, the Sisters make of their own lives and of their apostolate a manner with which to express concretely in daily experiences the immense love that Fr. Luis professed to Mary.

Moved by the power of the Spirit who calls us to follow the footsteps of the poor, virgin and obedient Jesus, we consecrate ourselves to God, the Only True God in a total, undivided and definitive love.

Our religious consecration is a covenant of love, a preferential option and loving surrender to the person of Jesus Christ who frees our heart and opens it to universal love.

WE FOLLOW JESUS CHRIST at the style of Francis of Assisi:

-  As minor living in humility, poverty and simplicity

-  With joyful spirit

-  With the attitude of constant conversion

We have the Holy Family as a model, especially in its spirit of prayers, family life and disponibility to the will of God.

We trust fully in Divine Providence. We are always attentive to the signs of the times, a characteristics attitude of our Father Founder.

… IN FRATERNITY

“The Lord gave me brothers…”(St. Francis)

Gathered by the spirit in a community of faith, hope and love, we form a true family of sisters, united in the name of the Lord.

A common vocation and the same commitment unite us. (Const.28)

Fraternity which is a grace and a gift. The profound experience of sonship that God gave to Francis and tht he intensely and faithfully assumed, lead him to discover and live the fraternal dimension with peculiar novelty: “The Lord gave me brothers” (Test14). Sahring the same spirituality, “we welcome and love the Sisters as GIFT and GRACE from the Lord” (Const 31).

With the SPIRIT OF THE HOLY FAMILY, we discover that the Family of Nazareth inspires the manner of relating and living among Sisters and the manner of acting toward others.

This fraternal relationship and mutual understanding makes us feel members of one family whose life and action are our responsibility.

… IN PRAYER AND CONTEMPLATION

The EUCHARIST is the CENTER of our personal communitarian life.

… IN MINORITY, PROVERTY and PENANCE

Minority makes us present ourselves,individually and in community, as small ones, as servants, without any desire to dominate, humbly seeking those places that do not bring honors nor privilege. Franciscan minority, therefore, requires evangelical smallness and the attitude of service.

Our POVERTY and AUSTERITY demands us to live in insecurity, in need and renouncement. Only the very necessary belongs to us.

The spirit of PENANCE nad the attitude of constant conversion, components of our Charism, demands from us an interior disposition: to center our lives only in Christ, to conform our own manner of seeing, judging and acting to the criteria of the Gospel. To accept joyfully the habitual forms of the cross.

The penitential attitude implies poverty and humility,clear awareness of one’s own limitations, necessity of God and of the other’s help.

… In COMMUNION with the CHURCH

Our Religious life unites us more intimately with the church.

Our form of life communion with the church.

Our mission is participation in the church.

Our congregation of the CAPUCHIN ERTIARY SISTERS OF THE HOLY FAMILY appears in the Church by the action of the Holy Spirit. In the Church it is Mystery of Communion with God and with Men.

OUR MISSION

“THE SIPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME AND HAS SENT ME TO BRING THE GOOD NEWS TO THE POOR”

We participate in the saving mission of the Church, who SEND US TO EVANGELIZE those who need us, preferably the POOREST AND MOST NEEDY. (Const 4)

Imitating the attitude of the GOOD SHEPHERD, we fulfill our mission with children and youth in the field of education, protection and rehabilitation; assistance to the sick, in pastoral works of the Church and in places and environments of initial evangelization.

OUR WORLDWIDE VOCATION


PRESENCE IN EUROPE

SPAIN (Since 1885)

The congregation was born here (Montiel) and gives the first steps of loving service.

Masamagrell: sown with the first four martyrs of charity.

The remains of our beloved Father Founder Luis Amigo can also be found in Masamagrell, converting it into a precious reliquary.

From Valencia, the sisters went extending toward the north and the center. At present, they try to give an evangelical response with their life and service to the urgencies of today’s society:

BELGUIM (Since 1956)

GERMANY (Since 1961)

ITALY (Since 1964)

The Spanish provinces opened themselves to the rest of Europe and made their presence felt I Belgium, Germany, and Italy.

With care and solicitude, they attend to the aged and sick in clinics and hospitals.

They attend to young people with problems in conduct and develop programs of re-socialization. They work in youth pastoral and the promotion of women.

They welcome young immigrants who are searching for work and help them to resolve residential problems in the country.

Projects on parish and family pastoral and programs on social works are also developed.

They attend to children in nurseries.

In Germany, the vocational response of some young women is evident, opening new horizons for the Congregation.

PRESENCE IN LATIN AMERICA

COLOMBIA (Since 1905)

The first country in the missionary expansion of the Congregation and where it has reached greater development. With only 20 years of foundation, the first five missionary sisters arrived at Riochacha (Guajira). Among them was Sis. Elena de Barranquilla, a Colombian who crossed the ocean in a gesture of courage and evangelical bravery to be a Capuchin Tertiary in Spain.

The first missionary presence continues today in indigenous zones and afro-american zones, responding to this always present necessity.

The educational labor initiated in this type of presences became so strong, in a manner that educational work constituents the best part of the Congregation’s apostolic  force in this country – in different colleges and schools situated in great cities to the most out-of-the-way and unknown places. There, the sisters, in contact with more than 30,000 childrenand young ones, announce the Reign of Jesus Christ and project the Amigonian charism, developing important pastoral programs with families, following the way of Fr. Luis’ Pedagogy of Love.

The pastoral work on Health is one of the big tasks in Health Centers and dispensaries, or in rural areas and missions wherein, frequently, the Sisters Nurse is the only health agent within miles. The attention given to the aged in Shelters is one expression of the Pastoral work on Health.

In response to the demands of the Church and of the World, many sisters are interested in marginalized barrios, conflict zones and distant places, living their prophetic attitude as minors and messengers of peace, love and justice.

Protection and rehabilitation: a beautiful apostolic field that is starting to be strong in the reception of abandoned children and youth with problems on conduct, in risky situations or affected by drugs.

VENEZUELA (Since 1927)

Directly sent by our Father Founder, ours was the first missionary community who went to Venzuela, going to the unwholesome banks of the Orinico Delta where malaria and yellow fever did not delay in taking from them the first victims. From then on, the missions has always been an apostolic strength fro the Sisters, intensely and joyfully lived. At present, service is extended especially in the fields of Education, Rehabilitation, Health and Pastoral Works in Parishes.

PANAMA (Since 1947)

The initial educational work missionary environment is at present extended to include Pastoral works in parishes, Education in poor and marginalized places.

ARGENTINA (Since 1949)

From Colombia, the Tertiary Capuchin presence radiates itself to continue the work started by the Spanish Sisters in the Rehabilitation Center of Plata. At present, the sisters work with apostolic zeal in education, in pastoral works and a residence for the youth.

BRAZIL (Since 1948)

From Colombia the Sisters reach Brazilian soil for an initial service on the Pastoral Work on Health. At present, our presence is concretely expressed in various aostoloci activities: work with the children in nurseries, Protection Centers, Health, Parish assistance. The communities in Sao Paolo, Jacarei, Caca Pava, Palmas, in Parana and Nioaque and Jardim, Mato Grosso.

COSTA RICA (Since 1950)

A significance presence that shows itself in the flourishing vocational response. We attend to different apostolic works: Education, Protection and Rehabilitation, Catechism, Pastoral works in parishes, with families and youth, promotion of women.

GUATEMALA (Since 1961)

It is now a Vice-Province born in Spain, that continues to take roots with local vocations. The Sisters live our Charism with simplicity and joy. They dedicate themselves to Education, Protection and Rehabilitation, Clinics, Social Works, Pastoral work in Parishes and with families, Catechism, promotion of women, visits to houses, the sick and aged persons. They exert effort at enculturation, accepting the people’s values with much love.

ECUADOR (Since 1971)

In the Apostolic Prefecture of Aguarico, we are present in different communities, attending to different apostolic services. We work with some tribes, one of which caused the death of INES and ALEJANDRO. The colonies are offered human and Christian promotion. We work in education, with families, in health, promotion of women and catechism. We struggle to raise the standard of living through cooperatives and communitarian works. We labor for those who are called the “untouchables”, an arduous task because of their precarious way of living. We are also present in the state of Pichincha.

BOLIVIA (Since 1978)

With some sisters from Colombia, the apostolic work of the Capucin Tertiary Sisters begins in the Bolivian heghts of Catagaita, La Paz and Puesto ernandez. We work among the poor: children, youth, families, in Cathechism, promotion of Women and pastoral works.

PUERTO RICO (Since 1979)

The presence started with the plan “ New Image of the Parish”, a program with clear objectives and well defined lines of action. We help in Catechism and the formation of catechists in different zones. We also work with the sick, in rural areas, with the youth and families. It is a presence that grows with the new vocations.

PERU (Since 1982)

In the amazon jngle 9Requena)was the first stage of work. Now also present in Iquitos and Lima, the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters are, for Peruvians, the expression of love and generous dedication through Catechism, Health, Work with the children, the youth, and families and the promotion of women.

PARAGUAY (Since 1982)

It is a presence that forties itself with communities distributed between a distant rural zone and the capital, in Education and Parish works.

CHILE (Since 1984)

From Argentina and Colombia, the Sisters reach Chile and established themselves from the north to the south of the country, attending to Parish and rural Pastoral works and child protection.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (Since 1989)

In Sto. Domingo, the pastoral work is accomplished in Education, the promotion of women, health, families and the youth. In  Santiago de los Caballeros, aside from the before-mentioned, there is also a Formation House.

MEXICO (Since 1989)

We started our work in the field of Rehabilitation: young ones with conduct problems. We also work in the field of health, parish, family and youth pastoral programs.

PRESENCE IN AFRICA

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (Since 1987)

In Markounda, Diocese of Bosangoa, the sisters make a missionary presence at the center of an extremely poor and marginalized town, attending especially to Catechism, the youth pastoral and accompanying the people in their process of integral promotion.

ZAIRE (Since 1971)

It is the first missionary presence of the Congregation in Africa. Through the 21 years of apostolic work, the sisters work daily in generous and sacrificial service in the field of health, education, pastoral work with the youth and families, and the promotion of women. The first group of Novices are preparing themselves for the first profession.

TANZANIA (Since 1988)

The attention to disabled children in the Center of Mlali is the place of initial apostolic activity. In the Diocese of Morogoro, at the very heart of African savannah, we are starting an educational presence. Both works are complemented with the Pastoral work on health and of the family, Catechism, parish activities and the promotion of women.

BENIN (Since 1990)

Young presence of the Congregation in African lands. The Sisters share with the people their lives and realities through clinical services, catechism, pastoral work in parishes and among the youth, and the promotion of women.

PRESENCE IN ASIA

PHILIPPINES (Since 1982)

The 28-year presence of the Congregation in the Philippines is now expressed in attention to abandoned children and youth or those in risky situation: an urgency felt in the country in the field of parish, rural and missionary works.