Augustinian Family Educators’ Congress 2019

This past November, the Augustinian Family Educators’ Congress 2019 was held by the Asia Pacific Augustinian Conference (APAC); themed Truth, Unity, Love: Typically Augustinian Family Values, in Bacolod, Philippines. Representatives from 30 schools in various Asia Pacific countries participated who share in the traditions of Augustinian values, yet differ from school to school. APAC is a union in Asia Pacific of Augustinian Congregations within the Augustinian Family, Augustinian Recollect Friars, Augustinian Recollect Sisters, Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation and others. 

The keynote address, given by Fr. Gary McCloskey, O.S.A., Augustinian Pedagogy: Asia Pacific Moment, challenged, on purpose, the leadership of the Augustinian Family’s educational developments. His talk encouraged leaders to share the gift of their inter-congregational and intercultural experiences to the Augustinian educational movement through dialogue but, to move beyond their dialogues; from a level of mission and vision to a concrete level of the educational practices of Augustinian Pedagogy. Fr. Gary also asked group leaders to expand their horizons with the teachers of their schools and learn through an Augustinian Reflection Circle; a reflection process that he developed from the writings of Saint Augustine.

Other Augustinian educators presented on each of the values of Truth, Unity and Love. Small group discussions followed and were reported back to the whole group. Fr. Gary expressed, “It was humbling to hear how the presenters and participants of the small groups using the Augustinian Pedagogy materials that I, and many other early developers had a hand in creating. In doing so, they are building school cultures, providing bases for accreditation of mission implementation and creating renewed teaching practices.”

Fr. Masaki Imada, O.S.A. of the Vicariate of the Japanese Martyrs of the Villanova Province, was part of a panel discussion on intercultural and interfaith challenges. He was joined by an Augustinian Sister who administers an Augustinian School in Indonesia and an Augustinian Friar from Colegio San Agustin – Davao, a Filipino Augustinian School in a predominantly Muslim area. They shared on interfaith issues and engaged non-Catholic teachers in the discussions about Catholic and Augustinian values which helped other educators expand their understanding of the spectrum of Asia Pacific challenges faced by Augustinian schools.

Local experience was also shared in concurrent sessions on Augustinian educational leadership training, justice and peace in Augustinian schools, ecological stewardship as Augustinian care for the common good and “Loob” a Filipino approach to interiority akin to Augustinian Interiority.

Fr. Gary’s closing talk, Augustinian Learning in a Technological World: Social and Emotional Learning, discussed two categories of Augustinian spirituality: interiority and communion. On interiority, Saint Augustine gives us antidotes to the speed and noise we experience. Fr. Gary again used reflection as a way for participants to process the radical exteriority through Internet Sabbaths, where users take time away from technology to better respond to using it. On the value of Communion, Fr. Gary shared Augustine’s attention to the social aspect of learning through technology as well as the need to find out who is being marginalized and addressing the presence of negative technological realities, such as cyberbullying.

Join us as we learn and teach in the spirit of Saint Augustine, go to AugustinianPedagogy.org