Each year Portsmouth Abbey welcomes a group from the Manquehue Apostolic Movement in Chile. In spite of COVID-19 and travel restrictions, the newest group arrived on campus shortly after the new year to begin their two-month residency at the Abbey. During this time they will be helping to facilitate and support the Lectio program at the School.
This year's group includes Bernardita Opazo, a design student, Trinidad Hüe, a psychology student, Teresa Quiroga, who is studying music, and Rosario Achondo who is an elementary school teacher. Rosario previously visited the Abbey in 2013 but this is the first time for the three other women. Participants are invited to attend this particular but amazing experience, during Chile’s summer vacation, working closely and attending daily mass with the monks and helping to support the Lectio faculty leaders on campus.
The group quarantined for two weeks after arriving in Portsmouth, but even then they felt very welcome by community members who would leave treats -- even a basketball -- outside the guest house to help pass the time! The group is also enjoying the native wildlife, watching the deer that frequent the athletic fields and woods that border the campus.
With in-person classes resuming the week of January 25th, the group is excited to meet the students, whether via Zoom or social distance.
The Manquehue Movement is known for its integration of Benedictine spirituality and life into its lay community, bringing new vitality to Christian life. Their spiritual life is strongly rooted in Lectio Divina, a prayerful reading of scripture, as well as in education, service work, and fellowship. A principal theme for their mission is evangelization as the development of "agocida" (a welcoming fellowship) and "tutoria" (a guiding accompaniment in the faith life), or as Pope Francis has expressed it – evangelization rather than proselytization. The Abbey community has benefited from their efforts along these lines, both here on campus and through our visits to Chile.