First Monastery of the Order in Spain to Pass under the Vigilance of the Master of the Order.
The vigilance of monasteries is governed by Canon Law. In the 2018 Instruction Cor Orans (Praying Heart: CO) on the application of the Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei Quarere (Seeking the Face of God) on women’s contemplative life, this vigilance has been revised and adapted to the needs of our time. In no. 74, we read: “Each structure of communion or government in which female monasteries can be configured, are guaranteed the necessary and due supervision, exercised principally – but not exclusively – through the regular visit of an authority external to the monasteries themselves.” In other words, the previous custom of carrying out this supervision is reaffirmed. The responsibility is exercised by the President of the female monastic Congregation, by the Major Superior of the male institute with which it is associated, or by the diocesan Bishop.And in no. 79 of the above-mentioned CO, it is added: “As far as possible, the legal association of monasteries of nuns to the corresponding male order should be encouraged in order to protect the identity of the charismatic family.” That is to say, we now add this Major Superior, who in a religious order can be the Provincial or, in our case, the Master of the Order. But this choice is made in the monasteries with respect to their own autonomy.
In Spain, for different reasons, the monasteries used to choose the vigilance of the Bishop, but for the first time, this practice changed a few months ago in the case of the Royal Monastery of Saint Dominic in Caleruega, Burgos. The nuns, after reconsidering this custom, requested the vigilance of the Master of the Order, which was accepted by the Holy See on November 29, 2021. The Master of the Order appointed Brother Juan Carlos Cordero, OP, as his vicar for the vigilance of the monastery. In this way, a step has been taken which, from my point of view, will be of great help for the contemplative life of the monastery and for its future, because of the closeness, fraternity, and support that our brother can offer, always in union and agreement with the nuns of the monastery. May God grant that others may follow his example in a country that currently has the most Dominican monasteries in the world.
Brother Fernando García Fernández, OP.