In January, 2015, Dick Hemler did a wonderful talk on the “Foundational Charism of the Cursillo Movement.”

The Foundational Charism of the Movement are the special graces given to the founders of the Movement.

In the talk, Dick spoke about the first Cursillo weekend that took place on August 19 to 23, 1944 in Cala Figuera, Spain. Eduardo Bonnin was the rector. It contained all the structures of future Cursillos.

I would humbly suggest that if you haven’t read it, you take the time to do so. You can read it here. 

Today, I’d like to look more at that first rector, Eduardo Bonnin, and focus on how his life experience, influenced by the Holy Spirit, helped to shape Cursillo and its charism. In this talk, I will use Eduardo’s own words, and those words came from an undated interview with Eduardo conducted by Cardinal Josef Cordes, who was President of Pontifical Council for Human Development from 1995 to 2010.

Eduardo was asked what type of formation he received as a young person. He responded:

“Very sincerely I believe that the Lord, using many circumstances has manifested his will, little by little, throughout my life.”


There’s a story about three men who helped to build one of the great cathedrals in Europe. When asked what they did, the first described the mechanics of laying down the mortar, placing one brick atop another and setting the next brick beside it. The second described what he did as a step towards perhaps one day becoming a master builder on greater projects. The third simply replied, “I build cathedrals.” You see, through his explanation the first man saw what he did as a job, the second as a career, and the third saw what he did as a vocation.

Even before his 57 years as a priest, I’m sure that Fr. Jay also saw his life in terms of vocation: that call to holiness which each one of us – ordained, religious, married and otherwise – is given by God. The deep search that he made throughout his life – in his work, in his family; yes, even in the stubbornness that he carried with him, were clear indications of the thirst to satisfy that vocation, his own call to holiness.


As Jesus sent 72 disciples to prepare the way before Him, He told them:
“I am sending you as lambs in the midst of wolves. Do not carry a walking staff or traveling bag.” (Luke 10:2)

Can you imagine that? When my family goes to the beach for a few hours, we carry beach chairs and blankets, towels for each of the children, a cooler with sandwiches, soft drinks, water, and snacks, toys for the beach. A week’s vacation looks like moving day, with all the suitcases. Yet, Jesus said to His disciples, “Travel light.” His message to them and to us is “Trust in My Providence. Go and spread the good news and I will take care of your needs.”

As adults, we have come to trust in our own ability to provide for ourselves. Giving control to God is very difficult for us because it is submitting to the will of God. 


This week Cursillo has lost two of the most holy men to live a weekend: Father Jay Bowden, our founder and Spiritual Advisor for over 30 years, and John DiStefano, past Lay Director and Rector.

God must be loving Cursillo because He has called to Himself two extraordinary men.


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