Augustinians in Ecuador Safe after Eruptions of Volcano

Following eruptions of the massive volcano Cotopaxi, close to the Ecuadorian Capital city of Quito, people are very nervous, and the government has declared a state of emergency, Fr. Chris Steinle, O.S.A., reports.  He and the other Augustinians are safe at this time. 

Fr. Chris was assigned to the Augustinian Monastery in Quito Ecuador.  Originally from Wisconsin, he professed his first vows as an Augustinian in 1992 with the Midwest Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel.  He has since served as an Augustinian missionary in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador at present.

Here is his first report, sent 6 p.m. August 17:

Fr. Chris Steinle, OSA, is an Augustinian missionary presently serving in Quito, Ecuador.  He has previously also served in Peru (as seen here) and Bolivia

Greetings from a very nervous Quito. Please ask the province members to pray for us.
The government has issued a state of emergency. There is a yellow alert for most of Quito. But for the section of the city closest to Cotopaxi, they are planning on evacuating 325,000 people. How they will do that is not known. They’re already evacuating the immediate villages to Cotopaxi.
The government says that Cotopaxi is currently erupting, and there have been a series of small earthquakes. They are advising people to be ready to evacuate.
We were given face masks to wear to keep volcanic dust from entering our lungs. I tried to wear it but it limits the amount of oxygen I get and I need every bit of oxygen here at 9,300 feet...
“The government is worried about the snow pack melting and causing landslides . Cotopaxi is 5,700 meters in height and topped by snow and ice.
So far the airport remains open and most things go on as normal. If Cotopaxi really blows they won’t need to worry about evacuations as the whole of Quito will be wiped out, the volcano is that close to us.
Some of the Augustinians from here are in Bogotá, Columbia for meetings. I am here in the monastery with Brother Reynaldo and we will do the best we can. Thanks for praying for us.”
— Fr. Chris Steinle, OSA

Here is an update, sent 9:21 a.m., August 18:

I have more info about Cotopaxi. Our parish in Latacunga is right in the path of the volcano. The whole city of Latacunga was destroyed in an earlier eruption. The priests and brothers are not sleeping there at night, and only return during the daylight hours. Also I have been informed that the retreat house in Conocoto is being used as a refuge for those who have been evacuated. We keep getting volcanic ash in this part of Quito. Thanks for the prayers.
— Fr. Chris Steinle, OSA

We ask you to please send your prayers to Fr. Chris, his Augustinian community, and the people of Ecuador during this state of emergency.


Patrick Murphy

Patrick Murphy has been working with the Augustinians in fundraising and communications since 2010. He began working with the Augustinian Vocations office in 2015. He also holds a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management.