Neguri, Spain: Last Thursday, October 20, the feast of Augustinian martyr
Saint Magdalena of Nagasaki
Father Alejandro Moral Ánton, the Father General of the Order of Saint Augustine, came to visit us his brother Augustinians detailed at Iglesia del Carmen. He was accompanied by the Order's Assistant General and concurrent President of the Institute of Augustinian Spirituality, Madrid-born Father Luis Marín de San Martín.
Of French origin, Father General spent part of his childhood in France before returning to Spain where he was born in Burgos. Having been born in the historic capital of Castile probably explains why he speaks Spanish as it should be spoken and his manners are elegantly impeccable. His love for the underprivileged, his humility, his simplicity and his total commitment to live by the gospel lead fellow friars to consider him not so much as their superior general but, rather, as the first among equals.
The parishioners of Iglesia del Carmen animatedly chatted with Father General after the Mass he had concelebrated with fellow friars. Then it was the friars´ turn to have a one-on-one talk with him. During our group discussion, his stamina to listen to everyone was on full display, showing interest in every point of view. He then gave the floor to his assistant, who delivered an encompassing talk on Augustinian spirituality
During lunch time, Father Luis Marín switched places with me at the dining table so I could sit next to the Father General, an unexpected gesture that pleasantly surprised me. Sensing my hesitation, Father General broke into a wide grin, encouraging me to sit down beside him. It was then when I came to realize why he is known within the Augustinian Order as "Alejandro magno" or Alexander the Great."