History of Foundation House
To the east of Santiago de Chile, towards the Cordillera de los Andes, is the Commune of Lo Barnechea, in this town is the Founding House of Prayer and Life Workshops, where Ignacio Larrañaga lived next to the El Sauce Community of the Religious Capuchins
In 1991 the Center for Franciscan and Pastoral Studies for Latin America, CEFEPAL, was transferred to the Franciscan Family of Chile, and the parents left the house where they had lived and worked until then.
In June of that year Gloria Domínguez, TOV Guide, cedes her home on Avenida El Rodeo, so that Father Ignacio and his Capuchin brothers reside there. It is a wooden cabin built shortly before, in a very traditional and rustic way on stilts, with unevenness and lack of insulation which made it hot in summer and very cold in winter.
They move to this house in Lo Barnechea in October and decide to call it El Sauce Community in honor of the leafy tree that grows nearby. They depend directly on the Capuchin Order of Santiago, which in its internal structure gives them the name of Fraternity Workshops of Prayer and Life. Father Camilo will be the treasurer and assistant of Father Ignacio Larrañaga, while continuing to collaborate with CEFEPAL, they are joined by Father Patxi Balenciaga, to whom Father Ignacio orders the songs of the Prayer and Life Workshops.
The parents accommodated the house to their needs, first adding a desk for Father Ignacio and a bathroom on the ground floor. Some time later they expanded that first floor, adding a bedroom, a laundry room and surrounding Father Ignacio's desk a room for the archives of books and their editions, as well as the TOV documentation, leaving the second floor for residential use of the Capuchin community .
In March of 2003, the International Coordinator of that time, decided to buy the house from the heirs of Gloria Domínguez so that Father Ignacio could continue living there. The sale of the house in the name of the TOVs is signed and it is confirmed that it will be the only property that the TOVs will have in the world.
During these years the house receives very significant visits in the life of the Prayer and Life Workshops, such as the Guide of Brazil María Victoria da Silva, who has already passed away, who was instrumental in the beginning of the TOV in Brazil; Maristella Carvalho, also Guide of Brazil, a great collaborator of Father Ignacio in the drafting of several manuals, retreats and other writings, which works until today in a very fruitful and exemplary manner, as well as many other Guides who generously collaborated with him at that time and then.
The house has witnessed the fruitful life of the TOVs because valuable documents for the spiritual stimulation of the TOV Guides and writings that founded the organizational foundations of the Association were forged and concretized there.
There are records of numerous meetings, recordings, filming, celebrations, and visitors full of enthusiasm, eager to contribute and realize dreams. On Sunday, Sunday Mass was celebrated at 9:00 am in a warm and enriching environment, sharing experiences with both Father Ignacio and Father Camilo. Unforgettable experiences for many because of the intimate and trustworthy atmosphere in which it was shared.
In 2007, in February, Father Ignacio and Camilo cite the meeting of the National Coordinators of Chile and the secretary of the parents, to establish a work team for the Foundation House, with a view to transforming it into a center of spiritual irradiation , the heart of the Prayer and Life Workshops (TOV), for when they were in the Father's House.
The pertinent steps were taken to create a Foundation that was most suitable for your wishes within the framework of Chilean legislation. At that time Father Ignacio considered the process very cumbersome and this project was left for later. Although he always insisted on the idea of making his home a living center when he was not there, and even before.
In 2010, Father Camilo died after six months of illness, a few months later, Father Ignacio expressed his desire to transform his bedroom into an oratory and give him his name. The project was entrusted to the muralist, Rosita Guzmán, to whom Father Ignacio directly transmitted her fundamental idea for this oratory, which was a place to facilitate the “meeting”, humble and without distractors, where only the Presence reigned, keeping company with who would like to approach Him.
A year later, in what could be called a sabbatical year, in which he had to deal with a dental problem, Father Ignacio personally took care that numerous recordings were made for the future. Thanks to this initiative, they were filmed in the house, Integral Humanism, From the charm of God to the charm of life, Pray, Modalities of Prayer and others.
After the unexpected death of the father, in October 2013, the International Coordination of that time visited the Pontifical Council for the Laity and suggested safeguarding their spiritual heritage and the dissemination of their work, and implementing a place where they can constantly expose significant facts of their life. The 2015 International Coordination completed the creation of the Foundation to respond to Father Ignacio's request to make this place the living center he visualized. This is how this Mother house, which we can call with ownership, historical for the TOV, with the grace of God will always be a place from which the spirit of the Founder of the TOV is radiated to the world, in its messages full of hope and wisdom.
Father Ignacio Larrañaga Orbegozo.
History of the Founding House
Father Camilo Oratory
Sometime after, dear Father Camilo left for the House of the Father, in January 2010, Father Ignacio expressed an ardently kept wish: "I have been thinking that we should leave Camilo's room to make it into a chapel. It's what I'd like." It was then that we opted to have the help of a Guide who suggested removing all the shelves, painting the walls, removing all the furniture and cables in sight, leaving the room clean in order to be ready for its new function.
At that time, we contacted the well-known and talented mural artist Rosa Guzmán with father Ignacio so he could ask her to be a part of the project.
Rosa enthusiastically accepted to undertake the task of creating the mural in the chapel and got the main ideas directly from Fr. Ignacio. The first thing he said to her was that the only Presence that had to be in the chapel was that of the Tabernacle. His clear idea was that everything there should move one to prayer and contemplation. The use of minimal elements, such as a light for the tabernacle, and a very evocative mural that calls to silence, perhaps having only a few sentences. In short, something discreet and without distracting ornaments. Rosa promised to present sketches of her proposal; we were all very happy to have someone of that artistic caliber, voluntarily working on our little chapel.
The sketch turned out to be something beautiful, evocative, perfect, as Father Ignacio wanted it to be. Gently undulating mountains, white clouds rising in a blue sky, that followed the same undulations. Here and there, white stars can be seen. The phrases chosen by father undulating next to the hills "The Lord is here and He calls you" and “In the Silence of the Presence.
Presiding over the wall facing the Tabernacle, Rosa reproduced Saint Francis of Sorrento; an iron sculpture that Father Ignacio discovered one day while visiting that city. He was dazzled to the point of making a great effort to find a professional photographer in the city. Taking him to Sorrento so he could photograph a series of beautiful and inspiring pictures of the statue, which he kept as a treasure. He especially asked Rosa to paint Francisco as represented in that sculpture, as radical as he was, with an extreme thinness and a torn habit, totally forgotten of himself.
As something special, we asked the artist to add in some discreet place, slight butterflies to represent father Camilo whose spirit flies through the fields of the Lord.
Meanwhile, our efficient Guide gave herself the task of searching all over Santiago for models of tabernacles, chalice and everything we would need for the chapel. Finally, with skill and good will she designed a model that she made herself with the help of her brother. She also painted the door of the tabernacle according to the model that Father Ignacio liked the most, in a series of images that she showed him. Her help, as stated above, was essential to the task.
So, step by step, she took to the chapel what was minimally necessary: the candle-shaped light for the tabernacle that simulates a lighted flame, an old pedestal to place the Bible in a prominent place, the tabernacle beautifully and neatly finished, completely lined with white velvet and with its key, ready for its sacred mission. Days later, she brought the precious chalice and the ceramic patina in white and blue colors, especially made for us by a potter.
The chairs and kneelers were sent to be made by an artisan from Melipilla, similar to the ones Father Ignacio had at his desk, small, made of wood and straw. Pillows were made to make a seat out of a piece of furniture that could not be removed, forming a cozy corner to immerse oneself in prayer.
Finally, with great joy this wish of Father Ignacio was fulfilled and the chapel was inaugurated on August 1, 2010 with the solemn celebration of the Eucharist by Father Ignacio; with the attendance among other people, of Guides, the National Coordination of Chile, the International Coordination, and the artists.
May all of you be very welcome to this small and significant oratory, which invites us into meditation and to enter into communication with God.