16 March 1944 – 20 June 2019
Brother Manuel was born in Armenia, Colombia (in the Department of Quindío) on 16 March 1944, in a traditional Catholic family. His parents were Manuel J and Graciela, who had ten children. In the economic crisis of the 1950s, due to threats of violence, they moved first to Medellín and finally to the capital, Bogotá. In the first years of his youth, he worked as an educator in a Catholic institution and took the opportunity to complete his university studies, graduating in School Administration. When he heard the call of the Lord, he left everything and entered the monastery on 8 February 1988. He began the novitiate on 21 May 1988 and made his temporary profession on 26 November 1989, with solemn profession on 6 December 1992.
During his monastic life, Brother Manuel served as librarian; guestmaster; driver; cellarer (1993-2010); Novice Master (1996-2000); and claustral Prior (2007-2017).
In recent years he was afflicted with Parkinson’s disease, but this did not stop him from continuing to be active and pursuing his goals, and above all the telephone and the organization of the guesthouse agenda, without forgetting his collaboration in the dishwashing at the end of meals.
He was very appreciated by guests, visitors and friends of the monastery. Brother Manuel was characterized as being a cheerful person, of good humor, cultured, welcoming and fraternal with the monks, and totally dedicated to the services that were entrusted to him, besides covering quietly what others carelessly did not attend to sufficiently well.
During the past two years he became ill several times, without paying attention to the first symptoms that appeared but following his normal life, and he was taken almost by force to the hospital for medical care.
During various episodes of illness and hospitalization, he maintained faith and hope, in addition to his characteristic joy. He was patient with his limitations and health problems.
Brother Manuel died on 20 June 2019, and his funeral was held in the monastic church on Saturday 22 June with great participation of the faithful, as well as his relatives from Bogotá, and many friends of the monastery, especially people grateful for the care he had offered them through the telephone service of the guesthouse.