Founders

Fr. Agustin Nistal, C. Ss. R.

P. Agustín Nistal García, CSsR
Coming from a very Christian family in Astorga Leon, Spain, Agustin Nistal was born on September 10, 1879 with a mother who, early in life, taught him to pray and not to offend God. At age 8, he met the Virgin of Perpetual Help and felt his heart filled with joy. Agustin, a person of high ideals, was noble, generous, rigid, rough and energetic. Ever since childhood, he had wanted to be a priest.
 
Fr. Agustín Nistal García, who was born in the Charism of the Alphonsus - Redemptorist Foundation is instrumental for the birth of a new Charism. From his missionary activity and his being in the Temple of las Nieves emerged the concern of founding an Institute or religious congregation of women with the name of our Lady of Perpetual Help, to provide the simple people true Christian convictions and the better experience of such convictions. The historical circumstance that can be vividly recalled is the catechetical activity of some pious associations of the Temple of the Nieves Oaxaca, and nearby towns. These associations include the Daughters of Mary, who taught doctrine in the nearby villages and who were sometimes accompanied by Fr. Nistal himself. As soon as he became conscious of this reality, he reaffirms his idea of founding.

Our founder was a great preacher, a man who knew how to be a spiritual guide and director, who went beyond his time, who saw the future, a great missionary with the spirit of sacrifice and who was able to realize his ideal of founding a Congregation of sisters who would live a deep contemplative prayer, great asceticism and who would be able to share their great mystical experience in search of Holiness.

His great love for Jesus, the Redeemer made him to pass through roads of great risk. He did not look at the barriers to accept all the will of God and because of his great dedication in listening to the Spirit and his love for the Sacramental Jesus sacramentally, he was able to see the realization of his work.

 

On July 19, 1920 he had a meeting with Fr. Provincial Nicanor  Mutiloa, who visited Mexico, and discussed with him his desire to found a congregation, which under the protection of our Lady of Perpetual Help, will evangelize and catechize the least fortunate in collaboration with the priests and missionaries. Fr. Mutiloa suggested that Miss Soledad Santa Cruz appear as the founder. However, Fr. Nistal refused, clarifying that the grace was given to him by God's mercy. 
 
In May 1921, Fr. Agustin Nistal was sent again to the community of the Templo de las Nieves in Oaxaca. In August of the same year, Monsignor Gillow, Archbishop of Oaxaca, approved the Foundation but not the rules. He also made some corrections on some points regarding discipline. For September, Fr. Nistal had already visualized six convents or communities: in Oaxaca, Veracruz, Durango, Iztacalco, Santiago Tepalcatlapan, Tulancingo or Buenavista, Hidalgo. 
 
Fr. Agustin considered December 8, 1921 as the date of Foundation of the congregation in Tehuacán, Puebla, with Soledad Santa Cruz. 
 
On August 29, 1924, he joined the community of Pachuca, Hidalgo and attempted to form a community of his long-awaited foundation with Miss Conception Peñaloza. On July 24, 1926, he went from Mexico to Spain, because of the Cristero war provoked by the Government of Plutarco Elías Calles. 
 
On April 24, 1928 he arrived as a missionary in Venezuela. In the month of July of the same year, Fr. Nistal was sent to the first Redemptorist mission in Colombia. During their stay at the Church of Socorro, he attempted to found a community of his Congregation: "Missionaries of the Perpetual Help" even with the idea of bringing over the Mexican ladies. 
 
With these initiatives of Fr. Nistal, his superiors changed him and sent him back to Venezuela in April 1929. In August of the same year, he went back to Spain. From Spain, Fr. Nistal continued his work by maintaining continuous communication with the three ladies that could be considered as pillars of the Foundation in its beginnings: Soledad Santa Cruz in Etla, Oaxaca, Concepción Peñaloza in Pachuca, Hidalgo, and Maria del Pilar García Ortiz in Veracruz, under the guidance of Monsignor Manríquez Zarate, Bishop of Huejutla. In 1931 by different circumstances each one was abandoning the work. At this time, Fr. Nistal wrote to the Miss Adelaida Islas of Pachuca and confided his work. In spite of the great difficulty, she accepted it. During the first days of the year 1933, the much-desired Congregation of Missionaries of our Lady of Perpetual Help only had Miss Adelaida Islas Alfaro who had moved to Mexico City while communicating with different priests. 
 
On January 3, 1951, Fr. Agustin Nistal died in Pamplona, Spain.