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FHFLAFr. Luis Amigó

 

HIS LIFE

The Capuchin Tertiaries of Our Lady of Sorrows, also known as “amigonians”, in memory of its founder, is a Congregation created by Monsignor José María Amigó y Ferrer who was born in Masamagrell (Valencia), on October 17, 1854. At the age of seventeen, when other boys pay attention on only worldly things, a marked interest in social problems was awakened and an interest that accompanied him throughout his life. He persuaded some friends to accompany him to the School of Christ and following the guidelines that were taught there. He dedicated all his free time to care for the sick in hospitals, to catechize and to literate people in the neighborhoods, and to visit and help in the best of his ability the prisoners in jail.

 Moved by an intense desire to give himself to God and to help others, José María decided to become a religious. This was the reason why he made the decision to move to France and join the Capuchins. When taking the habit and following the custom of time, he changed his Christian name to Fray Luis de Masamagrell. After three years of his stay in Bayonne, he returned to Spain. The first place where he developed his evangelizing activity was Antequera, to later go to Montehano in the province of Santander. Both places witnessed the work of the young Capuchin.

 It was precisely in the last town mentioned where he was ordained as a priest (year 1879). As a priest, one of his occupations was to regularly visit the Santoña prison, getting in close contact with the prisoners. And it was before the negative situation that he contemplated in that prison, where children and young people shared cells with the elderly, living in frightful promiscuity, the weakest being, the object of all kinds of humiliations by the strongest, which awoke Father Amigó not the desire, but the need to do something for them. He did everything in his power to sweeten and make life more bearable for those people, many of whom were more worthy of pity than condemnation.

 From Montehano, he was transferred to Valencia in 1881, a city from which he had left almost eight years ago. From the convent of La Magdalena, in Masamagrell, he resumed his apostolic tasks and the entire Valencian region knew very soon the work of the Capuchin. Their main concern continued to be the most needy and marginalized classes, including visits to jail. The San Miguel de los Reyes prison is precisely one of the places to which he devoted most of his attention. He understood that the prisoners were in need of help and with a group of young people, trained in the Schools of Christ, he undertook a social work with the prisoners.

 At the age of thirty, he founded, in the Sanctuary of Montiel (Benaguacil), the Tertiary Capuchin Sisters of the Holy Family, whom he destined, in accordance with her constant social concern, to care for the most helpless sick and children of needy families. Four years later he founded, also in Valencia, the Capuchin Tertiaries of Our Lady of Sorrows so that they are concerned with educating and reintegrating marginalized young people into society. The Capuchin Tertiaries with their educational work, developed at the beginning of the century an educational method for the recovery of minors with behavior problems and actively participated in the development of the first Tutelary Law for Minors in Spain and in the implementation of the Tutelary Courts.

 As bishop, Monsignor Amigó continued serving all the congregations that he had founded and that were spreading throughout the world, working in a field as difficult as the education of young people. In 1934, close to his eightieth birthday, he died peacefully on October 1.

 Today, following the guidelines set by their Founder, the Capuchin Tertiaries direct their mission mainly to those children and young people who, for a thousand reasons, have stumbled in life or have not found their way, which misfortune has thrown and vice or drug prostituted. Their educational and therapeutic action covers the whole of the person and the cause or circumstances that may have triggered the difficult situations that they present in their family, social, psychological aspects, etc. This work is carried out in centers for rehabilitation, the protection or preservation, observation and diagnosis, reception in homes or family houses, in professional or agricultural schools, in therapeutic communities, in psycho-pedagogical clinics, in youth residences, in slums, etc.

 The main objective of the Tertiary is promoting the integral development of the minor, seeking their individual fulfillment and their progressive readjustment and reintegration in their socio-family environment, helping them to acquire maturity and autonomy. They cover all the activities that help to free young people from the problems in which they are immersed, be it personal, social or family. Activities such as sports, occupational, cultural, professional training, civic, human, catechetical activities, etc. which they have special interest with.

 Attentive to the passing of time and to the diversity of places and cultures, the Capuchin Tertiaries organize and plan their action in a coherent and progressive system whose most notable characteristics are: exhaustive knowledge of the minor; the attention in an individualized manner; gradual and dosed therapy; respecting the time of the entire re-educational process in its fundamental and progressive stages; working in small groups in a pleasant; and, open and familiar environment.

 The Tertiary Capuchins carry out their activities in more than twenty nations of Europe, America, Asia, and Africa. Already as  a bishop, Monsignor Jose María Amigó y Ferrer, whose name in the Order was Fray Luis de Masamagrell, his native town preserves in his expression and gaze a plastic representation of his clean spirit, of his goodness, and of his dedication to others.

 

 

Fr. Luis Amigó y Ferrer

(✞ October 17, 1854 - October 1, 1934)

 

 

 

 

 

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