OMIWORLD published an article about a retreat for perpetual vows in Bolivia organised by CIAL. Hipólito Olea shares with us how the article helped him to remember with gratitude his retreat in preparation for perpetual oblation 20 years ago.

We are finishing the summer session for scholastics in Aix, with scholastics from Vermicino, San Antonio, Obra and the International Scholasticate, coming from Namibia, Zambia, Cameroon, Chad, Pakistan, Jaffna, Indonesia, Ukraine, Germany, Poland, United States, Colombia and Paraguay. It was inevitable for me to think back to when I, twenty years ago, experienced the retreat in preparation for final vows.

A few days ago I read in OMIWORLD about the preparation retreat for final vows organised by CIAL. When I saw the photo accompanying the article, I immediately recognised “Villa Marista” in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. And so I remembered that in 2003 I had experienced the retreat in preparation for perpetual vows in the same place. The retreat has been a Latin American tradition for more than 20 years.

We were the first group to make the retreat in Bolivia, and it was a very beautiful experience. The animation team was made up of three Oblates from Paraguay – Leo GUILMETTE (American), Pedro BRITEZ (Paraguayan) and Olegario DOMÍNGUEZ (Spanish), a Frenchman from Brazil (Francisco RUBEAUX), and a Canadian from Bolivia (Juan René PELLETIER).

Among the scholastics who were at this retreat, I believe the ones who professed perpetual oblation were: Pedro Paulo SANTOS and Gerardus GROENEN from Brazil; from Cruz del César ROJAS (Paraguay sector) and the Argentinian Sergio SERRANO, now Provincial. From Mexico Félix GARCÍA, now superior of the delegation of Guatemala and myself.

Let us continue to share the fire of the Spirit that animated St. Eugene to live the consecrated life as religious in missionary communities. May God bless the participants and the animation teams of these experiences and retreats.

Originally from the Province of Mexico, Hipólito OLEA TINOCO is now a member of the International Community of Missionary Oblates in Aix-en-Provence.