What is San Jose?

  • San Jose is one of the deaneries of the Movement stablished in a farmstead in Chilean Patagonia, where a community of oblates and novices, men and women, celibate and married, live and work following the Rule of Saint Benedict.
  • There are two formation houses: St. Bede, for men, and Saint Hilda, for women. The oblates and novices that live there receive young people, mainly university students that go for a 4 month experience of life in community, prayer and work.
  • San Jose is part of the Aysen Catholic Church, where Luis Infanti de la Mora is the Bishop and Vicar Apostolic. The community is also a pastoral figure in the small villages of the area, joining the Sunday masses, helping the priest in different activities, which during the years has (…) streng friendship with the local people and church.

 

San José has isolation and many of the attractions of the eremitical life. It has the quiet, the complete separation from the pressures, confusions and contradictions of contemporary city life. The four pillars of Manquehue spirituality provide the basis for the formation of the young: the search for God through lectio divina of the scriptures – community life together – the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours – the sharing of common work.

Cristián Destuet gives an outline of the life these young people live at San José:

Our aim is to help people coming here to have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, who is alive and risen, and is present in each person’s life. The way in which they can do this is by living the spirituality of the Movement, something which most (although not necessarily all) of them have had some experience in before coming to San José.

This is the reason why shared lectio divina is our principal activity of the day together and is done twice, in different forms and at different times. God really speaks to our young people and they become strongly aware of his presence in their lives.

Community life according to the Rule of St Benedict is also central. The young people often find themselves making significant changes in their way of thinking, moving from self-centred thinking to having an open heart and mind. They find themselves asking more and more, “What does the community need?” This change is almost impossible if it is not supported by faith. This community life is very intense and can often include lots of problems and sometimes frequent arguments that force fraternal correction and reconciliation, so we can live out what St Benedict says, “Rid your heart of all deceit. Never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love.”

The Liturgy of the Hours builds up the community. By striving to become one voice together, we unite with the whole Church and we live the Paschal Mystery, offering with Christ a sacrifice of praise.

Manual labour brings the young to discover that they are co-creators with God. What becomes important is not so much what sort of work they do, but the dignity of what they are doing as human beings. They collaborate towards supporting the community by working on the farm.

Acogida is vital to each person. It requires taking a lot of time to listen to everyone, to get to know each one’s personal history, helping them to listen and respond to God who is speaking to them.

It is not necessary to be a member of the Movement to take part in this experience. [1]

 

[1] Barry, Patrick OSB, A cloister in the world, p. 233-234