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The Cursillo Movement was born from within the Diocesan Council for Young People. Within it, for various years, all the apostolate activities were centred almost exclusively in the spiritual preparation of the Pilgrimage to Santiago[41].


It is then that the pilgrimage ideal and style take shape, being a consequence of the youth's apostolic conception and pervading the leaders by means of the "Cursillos for Advanced Pilgrims" which, being six in number and led by propagandists of the Superior Council, were held during these years in our Diocese[42]. The first of these Cursillos goes back to the month of April 1941 in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lluc. Five more were held in the Holy Weeks of the years 1943, 1945 and 1946. In these cursillos, priests gave nine lessons on Christian life, and some lay people presented eleven topics dealing with the environment of Hispanic culture and the need for Catholic Action[43]. That was the doctrinal content. This climate is reflected by an editorial of "Proa" magazine, of which we extract a paragraph: True Christian charity reigns, there are no obstacles or surliness; greed and comfort are not known in this youthful background. Unknown youths, coming from the most distant parts of our Island establish ties of undying friendship; there are remnants, indeed, as fruit of these Cursillos, in the form of lasting trails of apostolic duties, wide roads open to our pilgrimage in faith; in short, these were the Lluc Cursillos, pushing us up towards our Ideal, towards the goal of "always more and better"[44].


The Cursillo's fruits are threefold: they bring about a serious apostolic mobilisation of the leaders existing in Majorca at that time, they facilitate the incorporation of new young people who, with time, would have outstanding roles in the birth of the "Cursillo Movement", and above all, they kindle within those young people an apostolic restlessness which with the perspective of time we can say went beyond the mere preparation of the pilgrimage[45].


This apostolic restlessness to retell the experience lived soon gets a hold and sets in, adapting the "Cursillos for Advanced Pilgrims" at a Diocesan level. Thus the "Cursillos for Pilgrim Leaders" come into being, similar in nature but organised and directed by the members of the Majorcan Diocesan Council, still following the contents, structure ... of the former. They do not begin chronologically when the others finish, but are held at the same time.


At this point we see we see how the different sources conflict. According to Monsignor Hervás and the authors of the book The How and the Why, five were the Cursillos held between 1942 and 1948[46]. Meanwhile, Fr Cesáreo Gil[47], affirms that nine were the Cursillos held to train Pilgrim Leaders. The first four are not recorded in the Bulletin, whilst the other five were held in August 1944, July 1945, September 1946 and, finally, two in April 1947.


I tend to agree with Fr Gil's thesis that nine were held as, from the information I have. I can certify the existence of the eighth and ninth, which are mentioned in "Proa"[48]. The eighth was held in the Monastery of Lluc between the 29th of March and the 5th April, with 35 young people attending and including a visit by His Lordship the Bishop. The ninth took place between the 16th and 20th April in the Sanctuary of Saint Mary of Cura, with 21 young people attending. Though there are no news of the very first ones, one can suppose that the number of Cursillos quoted is correct, and that there were in effect nine Cursillos for Advanced Pilgrims.


Without doubt, the Holy Spirit acted thoroughly in these Cursillos for advanced pilgrims and pilgrim leaders. Gabriel Seguí extensively highlights this action of the Spirit. And basing himself in the participation of various Cursillistas, he foretells from these Cursillos the emergence of a movement of charismatic and conciliatory renewal twenty years before anyone mentioned such renewal[49].


Those attending the process and its main connoisseurs share a common view that the matters, contents, structure... were tried and tested in those Cursillos[50].


While we have mentioned the threefold effects of the Cursillos for Advanced Pilgrims, we now show as specific fruits of the Cursillos for Pilgrim Leaders that within them it was noted that the luminous contents of Christianity were captured in its full scope and intensity by those who kept away, not just from Catholic Action, but also from religion. They became aroused and filled with Christ within a few days. With all this there was no doubt that God was providing an inexhaustible source of apostolate for the consideration of the leaders of the Majorcan young people's Catholic Action[51].


The aim of the Cursillos for Advanced Pilgrims seems to be orientated towards the "mobilisation", "incorporation" and "kindling of restlessness". Even when they share the same structure and contents, we see here a profound difference, this being that the main results are estimated by the extent to which those distant from their faith get the message and by the ensuing joy and enthusiasm. It is no longer a matter of revitalising leaders or incorporating new ones. It is a matter of a new and different success in the apostolate with those distant from their faith.


In the words of Monsignor Hervàs, a gold mine was uncovered; it was necessary to apply one's intelligence and heart to operate it. A fountain started flowing and it was necessary to gather its water. God had drawn back a veil and discovered a great field in the longing for apostolate[52].


The School of Leaders of the Diocesan Council set themselves to study the phenomenon widely and in depth. It was a matter of experimenting, reviewing, and confronting; in short, of improving the method. After each Cursillo, the results were subjected to a meticulous analysis, in the light of Theology and a profoundly humane Psychology, convinced that, with divine help, many souls would benefit from this work[53].


To conclude, one can affirm that from the Cursillos for Pilgrim Leaders, based on the ones for Advanced Pilgrims, a new variant was coming into being that, pondered for a long time, studied with care and tested time and time again, would set the model for the Cursillo Movement, the first of which began on the afternoon of the 7th January 1949, at the Monastery of Saint Honorato of Mount Luliano in Randa, island of Majorca[54].


We have situated and commented on some facts, inter-related but insufficient to explain the phenomenon of the Cursillo Movement. We must also analyse the ideas that give form and life to this process.


The founders and initiators do not tire in repeating[55] that the Movement's ideas were not products of chance, nor the consequences of a brilliant improvisation, nor either the effects of personal illumination. There is an insistence on preparation, work, the dissatisfaction and the nonconformism from some priests and young people who want to look for "something more", encouraged by their diocesan Pastor, without forgetting of course, the work of the Spirit.


While searching for an origin, a cause, we could say in order to summarise that it is but the development of that initial apostolic anxiety brought about in Majorca by the Cursillos for Advanced Pilgrims, which, starting from a central nucleus of catholic thought and always aiming towards more efficiency, came into being by the grace of God, into an ecumenical vision of the whole apostolic problem. These were the origins of a way of thinking from which all ulterior accomplishments arose[56].


A restlessness, which originates and wants to originate from the nucleus of catholic doctrine and which has aspirations to a total effectiveness of the apostolate. It is not easy to outline the ideas within the doctrine, which precede the birth of the Cursillo, but in the process, which gradually takes a clearer shape, the initiators define what they will eventually call the fundamental outlines of the ideological backbone of the Cursillo Movement[57]. They are as follows:


a)     A triumphal concept of Christianity, which is the only true and faithful one, as an integral solution to all human problems, in contrast to the bourgeois, static, conformist and non-operational concept that is Christian merely in the name it usurps.


b) A dynamic vision of militant Catholicism, seeing the apostolate not as an overabundance, but as a vital demand that, far from coming into being within a bureaucratic organisation, forms the decided vanguard of the Kingdom of God, the living and operating ferment of the Church.


c) A principle of sincere, straight and eager dissatisfaction, the only possible starting point for all inexhaustible effective action of numerous and always improved accomplishments.


d) A profound and exact knowledge of the men and women of today, of his problems and anguish; but also an experimental, living knowledge, taken not from statistics, formulae or "simple practical handbooks" but learnt from life itself, arising from an intimate coexistence with the mass that the evangelic ferment must vivify.


e) A profound conviction that certain methods for obtaining an essential objective of all apostolic action are insufficient or unadapted. A conviction that, far from becoming sterile in lament or resigning itself to the fatality of events, forged ahead with growing interest the vitalisation of everything that can be used and the search for new fertile horizons.


f) A strong conviction that it was really possible for those living apart from their religion, to feel the strong shaking of grace and that, however far they were from Christ, they were able to give themselves up to Him as long as the matters regarding Christ and his Church were shown just as they are. Dispensing if necessary, with any personal favouritisms or criteria regardless of how rooted they were, and which in the end were nothing but incidental aspects.


g) The firm hope that, on carrying out this experience, the same would happen as in times of Christ: the Samaritan women and the Zacchaeus' of this world would become the Lord's most dynamic apostles.


h) A tense effort to find a specific technique that, copied from apostolic procedures, would have in mind each individual's personal problems and specific demands so as to root them out with a solution given by Christ and his grace; accepted as the force and weight which would influence his/her whole life.


i) A conviction that the solution was simple, and that being simple, was universal; that is why an effective Catholicism of faith had to be lived in the Cursillo, in one same solution and one same atmosphere, even though flung to different horizons; towards different classes and diverse cultures.


Here lie the fundamental characteristics or fundamental outlines of the Cursillo Movement's "ideology". Rather than an ideology, it sounds like a course of action. The problem was to find an adequate vehicle to transmit this luminous and effective message. That vehicle will be the Cursillo. It is not a question of inventing anything, but of living and communicating the Gospel, which is the complete solution for the problems of man. Therefore the Gospel shall be the first source, the reason and the object of prayer and study. And as a logical consequence and a paradigm for those who want to live the Gospel, it is also the book of the Acts of the Apostles, which is the first Christian communal paschal experience[58].


In principle, they did not know of a channel other than Catholic Action in order to apply it and experience it. Therefore, the third source element would be the study of the pontifical doctrine on Catholic Action, as well as a generous, determined and faithful co-operation in the hierarchical apostolate[59].


Having assumed this doctrine, and having experienced it with its different outcomes, it only needed the cast in which to mould as many people as possible, injecting them with the energy and revitalising strength of the full ideal of Christianity: and the Cursillos were this cast. But well before the Cursillos began these ideas had already made an essential dual contribution: They had defined and pervaded the leaders' mentalities, and they provided the doctrinal body which would become the content of the Cursillo's fundamental Talks, which were also set up before the first was held[60] (60).

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[41] CCIRC, p. 39.

[42] CPSNE, p. 12.

[43] Cf. C. Gil, op. cit., p. 550

[44] "Proa", n. 90, May of 1946, p. 1.

[45] Cf. CCIRC, pp. 39-40; CPSNE, p. 12.

[46] Cf. CCIRC, p. 40; CPSNE, p.12.

[47] Cf. C. Gil, op. cit., p. 550.

[48] Cf. "Proa", no102, May of 1947, pp. 2-3.

[49] C. Gil, op. cit., pp. 550-551; Fr. Gabriel Seguí is witness to and collaborates in the process of the birth of the Cursillo movement. According to Caesareo Gil, he wrote a work on the origin to ciclostyl, Origenes de los Cursillos de Cristiandad (Origins of the Cursillos in Christianity), Rome 1969.

[50] Cf. Ibid., p. 551

[51] CPSNE, p. 12.

[52] CCIRC, p. 40.

[53] CCIRC, p. 41.

[54] CCIRC, p. 41.

[55] Cf. CCIRC, p. 47; Cf. CPSNE, p. 15.

[56] CPSNE, p. 15.

[57] CPSNE, pp. 16-17.

[58] Cf. CCIRC, p. 52.

[59] Cf. CPSNE, pp. 17-19.

[60] Cf. CPSNE, pp. 17-19.