The Recusant

An unofficial SSPX newsletter, fighting a guerilla war for the soul of Tradition!

An Interview
Dom Raphael Arizaga, OSB

Translated September 2013, from the original Spanish, found on Non Possumus:


 - Father, can you tell us how the project of St. Joseph's monastery is going?

Certainly. Firstly I'd like to thank all the faithful and readers of Non Possumus for their spiritual and material help. I want to say that the project has come a long way with the help of God and all of you. Providence has installed us in Colombia. There were several important signs which called us here, so now all our plans are concentrated here. In recent months these plans have been finalised and all the Resistance is supporting us. The project which is well underway is the construction of a monastery which began about six years ago thanks to the faith of some families who wanted to build something that would help to preserve the faith. Without knowing exactly what it would be used for they began to build a monastery, and from the way it was build it is a Benedictine monastery, and it is in the mountains in a place where there have been monasteries for centuries. These people entrusted their work to God, that one day their would be a religious house, and consecrated the project to St. Joseph. Then when they saw me, and that I had the project of a monastery, they offered us this building, and after I analysed it and looked at it with my superiors, we saw that it was the most suitable for beginning the project of St. Joesph's monastery. 

 - When will the Monastery open and where is it located?

Our plan is to open on 7th October with five monks, with the help of the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Brazil and many benefactors. The new vocations will begin arriving in the new year. 

Saint Joseph has been in charge of the project from the beginning, and we are very pleased that it has advanced so quickly.

The monastery is located in the most blessed part of Columbia, a few kilometers from the city of Chiquinquira which is the national shrine of our lady of the rosary, the most important shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Columbia. It is also within a mile of a former Dominican monastery, which was built in that area because the Apostle Bartholomew appeared asking for a house of prayer to be built, a religious house, in that area, it was the Will of God. And as that monastery is now a museum, and seeing this desire of Our Lord Jesus Christ through his Apostle Bartholomew, we see that it is now up to us to continue that work.

 - What is the role of the Monastery of the Holy Cross in this new foundation?

Holy Cross saw that the best way to support and help that monastery was to found another Benedictine house. One which can receive Spanish-speaking vocations, and at the same time share the work and ministry of Holy Cross monastery in Brazil. So Dom Tomas [Aquinas] has given us all his help, all his support, and with the assistance of the monks we are going to start this new monastery. 

 - Are monks from Holy Cross Monastery going to Columbia?

Yes, some monks are going to stay with us. We don't yet know how many, but for now one is coming in October.

 - What will be the opening ceremony for the new monastery, on 7th October?

We'll have a solemn Mass with all the monks and a visiting priest will also be present, as well as the faithful. Our Lady of the Rosary is the patroness of the starting of the monastery.

 - Is Bishop Williamson aware of the project?

Bishop Williamson, seeing Providence at work, the desire to raise a bastion of the Faith to preserve the legacy of Archbishop Lefebvre, and all the signs of God will that we begin there, gave us his blessing and asked us to begin this monastic adventure in Columbia. He gave us his blessing and is willing to help us with everything we need. He asked only one thing of us: to keep the Divine Office prayed in common every day, because this is the strength of a monastery, its fidelity to the holy rule, the Divine Office, and the traditional liturgy.

 - How many monks and many priests will begin the monastery?
We're starting with five on 7th October. There is another priest that is going to be helping, a priest friend of Tradition who has always worked in traditional circles.

 - How many faithful have visited and are helpiung with this work?

In the last three months we have been visited by between 120 and 150 different faithful.

 - Will you also tend to the Resistance faithful who need the sacraments?

Yes. At the request of Bishop Williamson we will be travelling to the faithful, including the faithful of Ecuador, in Quito and Cuenca. The pattern of visits is still not fixed, but we will be visiting them once in a while. 

 - Father, what does the monastery now need? Is it completely finished?

The monastery is inhabitable, one can live there, but it is still very austere. Some very important things are still missing, for example there is no electricity (we are putting in solar panels), there is no drinking water, we are using water which we fetch from a lake, we need a well. We don't have any furniture, we are missing some windows and we need to build a second floor in order to be able to accommodate another ten monks. Also, we obviously need to be able to feed the monks. Therefore we need the help of the faithful of the Resistance. 

 - You have dedicated your work to St. Joseph, ever since you left the United States, is that not so?

He is the main driving force behind this project. St. Joseph began, is continuing and will bring the work to completion. I have been telling the monks and whoever wants to enter the monastery that St. Joseph is the Abbot. Everyone has to be devoted to St. Joseph who is the perfect model of monastic life, he who so loved Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary will help us to perfection in the Benedictine life. Saint Joseph is the Abbot, the Father of the House, and the monastery will be like Nazareth. The goal of the monk is to become like another St. Joseph, living to love the Blessed Virgin and to sacrifice himself to Jesus Christ through vows of perfection and fidelity to the rule. Working and praying like St. Joseph, and along with him and through him growing moer pleasing to Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin.

 - Does the monastery have a website?

Yes, and we call upon the faithful to visit it. 

 - Thank you very much for the interview Father.

Website of St. Joseph's Monastery:

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