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 4, 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 8, 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 7, 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.
The grace to found the Institute of the Incarnate Word—known as the “foundational grace”—came to him on May 3, 1981, while hearing confessions. Fr. Buela himself related it as such:
“Sunday, May 3, 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 doubt, nor could I 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 (whom 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 3, 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 vocations. 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,” remembered Fr. Buela, “who would agree to the project.”
On March 25, 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 Institute 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 was a prolific author who 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 more 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 was also a tireless preacher, preaching retreats to over one hundred groups of retreatants throughout his priesthood. He also gave numerous sermons, lectures, and conferences on various Catholic subjects.
He was 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; the 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 9 years as the General Superior of the IVE, under the request of Pope Benedict XVI, he resigned as General Superior. 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.
In 2013, Pope Francis asked him to live in the IVE community in Genoa, Italy, where he would reside for nearly ten years. Then, on April 23, 2023, Fr. Buela died in Genoa, Italy, due to a sudden decline in his health, at 82 years old. It was the Third Sunday of Easter, the same liturgical date on which he had received the foundational grace 42 years before, on Sunday, May 3, 1981. His funeral was held at San Teodoro Parish in Genoa on April 27, with hundreds of members of the Religious Family of the Incarnate Word in attendance. We give thanks to God for our founder’s fidelity to the charism that he received from God and which he passed on to all of us.