Fr. Carlos Miguel Buela, IVE, founder of the Institute of the Incarnate Word and the Institute Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara, was born in Buenos Aires on April 4th, 1941, into a deeply religious family. At the age of eight he received his First Holy Communion at St. Bartholomew the Apostle Parish on December 8th, 1949, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
At the age of 23, Carlos entered Villa Devoto Seminary in Buenos Aires and finished his studies at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in the city of Rosario. He was ordained a priest on October 7th, 1971, in the crypt of the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes of the Holy Places in Buenos Aires. On the following day, he celebrated his First Mass in the main chapel of the Basilica of Our Lady of Luján.
After his ordination, he began to teach at various educational institutions and worked at various parishes in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires. As a young priest he was mentored by two influential Argentine priests, Fr. Julio Meinvielle and Fr. Leonardo Castellani, S. J. He was also greatly influenced by the teachings of Pope St. John Paul II. After the Holy Father’s election in 1978, Fr. Buela began to follow very closely his writings and activities from his parish in Buenos Aires.
Fr. Buela Founds the Institute
The grace to found the Institute of the Incarnate Word—known as the “foundational grace”—came to him on May 3rd, 1981, while hearing confessions. Fr. Buela, himself, relates it as such:
“Sunday, May 3rd, 1981, while I was hearing confessions in the old chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Villa Progreso—I believe it was before the 11 o’clock Mass—I was the only priest available for a few minutes to confess a large group of penitents. While attending to them a thought came to me: there needed to be a community of priests to serve parishes. I immediately rejected it as a distraction.
After having lunch and taking a siesta at my parents’ home, I returned to the parish. While I was in the rectory, between approximately five and six o’clock in the evening, the thought that I should found a religious congregation came to me again with such certainty that I did not, nor could not doubt that God was asking it of me. So, I made an examination and discernment of spirits in order to discover whether or not there had been any previous cause which could have given rise to this thought. I could find no such cause.
Afterwards I called Fr. [Carlos] Lojoya (who I had known since I was six, and who was my friend since I was nine) on the phone in order to tell him what had happened. He reminded me that that Sunday, May 3rd, had been the Feast of El Señor de la Quebrada, a title for Our Lord at a shrine in San Luis. The happy coincidence made both of us even more joyful because we were both very devoted to the Lord under this title and because we had both preached many Spiritual Exercises there which bore fruit in a rich harvest of priestly and religious vocation. In addition, we both preached various novenas on the occasion of the shrine’s patronal feast.
The next—and necessary—step was to find the approval for such a project from a representative of the Church’s hierarchy: “We had to find a bishop,” remembers Fr. Buela, “who would agree to the project.”
On March 25th, 1984, the day that Pope John Paul II consecrated the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Msgr. Leon Kruk, Bishop of San Rafael in Mendoza, Argentina, approved the foundation of the Institute of the Incarnate Word. A few years later, in 1988, Fr. Buela also founded the Sisters of the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará, the female branch of the Religious Family of the Incarnate Word. He also founded the IVE Secular Third Order.
Fr. Buela has been a prolific author who has published dozens of titles. His book Youth of the Third Millennium was recognized as best book on Religion and Spirituality in the International Book Fair in Buenos Aires. Other recent works have been San Ignacio Hoy, Ars Participandi, and El Arte del Padre.
A major promoter of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises, he has also been a tireless preacher, preaching retreats to over one hundred groups of retreatants throughout his priesthood. He has also given numerous sermons, lectures, conferences on various Catholic subjects.
He has been a teacher at numerous educational institutions such as St. Charles Borromeo Minor Seminary in the Archdiocese of Rosario; Mary, Mother of the Incarnate Word Seminary in Mendoza; San Rafael’s Diocesan Seminary in Mendoza; Diocesan Seminary of the Diocese of San Isidro (Buenos Aires); the Superior Institute of Catholic Culture in Rosario; the Diocesan School of Formation for Catholic Leaders in the Diocese of San Martin (Buenos Aires), and the Catholic University of Argentina (UCA).
After serving many years as the General Superior of the IVE, he retired in 2010. Wishing to remain in Italy, he wanted to dedicate much of his time to leaving behind his testament to the patrimony of the Institute through his writings.