The Province of St. Nicholas was
created by the first general chapter of the congregation which was celebrated
in Madrid towards the end of November, 1621. From the first the new province acquired
a definite mission profile. By the end of 2005, there were 344 religious in the
province distributed among 9 countries—Spain, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, the
United States, England, Italy, Mexico, Taiwan—and 54 communities.
The historical trajectory of the
province of St. Nicholas of Tolentine was not without facing many historical
challenges. There were times of joyful and rapid growth as well as downturns,
severe crisis, and discouragement.
Its history was very much
identified with the presence of the Recollects in the Philippines. For two
centuries, the Philippines, with some excursions to Japan (1623-1632) and Guam
(1768-1906), were the only camp of action of the province. In the 19th century
the crisis of the Spanish provinces obliged the province to open its own
seminaries in Spain although the field of missionary activity was still the
Philippines. Only at the beginning of the 20th century did the Philippines
begin to share this monopoly with other nations.
The beginnings of the province
reflect an epoch of fidelity to its particular chrism and with total faith in
the same and in the synthesis achieved of the best values of the recollect
spirituality. The priority among them was the organization of religious life.
During the 19th century, the Recollects gained greater socio-religious
significance in the Philippines. The evangelization of the island of Negros was
its most brilliant achievement.
In 1941, the province entered
into the area of education through which the religious hoped to attain greater
social recognition, a more secure economy, and, above all, a more viable living
of the community ideal. Little by little, schools began to replace parishes
transforming both the work of the religious and the social recognition of the
the end of 2018, the province counted with 317 religious distributed in 7 countries—Spain, Mexico, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, the United States, England, —and 49 communities.