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The Augustinians, named after Saint Augustine of Hippo (died AD 430), are several Roman Catholic monastic orders and congregations of both men and women living according to a guide to religious life known as the Rule of Saint Augustine. Prominent Augustinians include the only English Pope Adrian IV<ref>Sources quoted in the [1] New Advent Encyclopaedia, cf. cf. also Duchesne's edition of the Liber Pontificalis (II, 388–397; cf. proleg XXXVII-XLV)</ref>, Italian Pope Eugene IV, mystic Thomas à Kempis, Dutch Christian humanist Desiderius Erasmus, the German Reformer Martin Luther, the Spanish navigator Andrés de Urdaneta, Italian composer Vittoria Aleotti, German mystic Anne Catherine Emmerich and the Czech geneticist Gregor Mendel. The order has made a very significant missionary contribution to Christianity as well as establishing educational and charitable institutions throughout the world.


The five main branches of the order internationally

The Augustinian family worldwide is made up of five main branches

  1. The Order of the Hermit Friars of Saint Augustine; the friars subject to the jurisdiction of the Prior General (International leader)
  2. Augustinian nuns or sisters of contemplative life (enclosed nuns)
  3. other Augustinian orders not under the jurisdiction of the Prior General of the pope
  4. religious congregations of apostolic life (active congregations of men or women)
  5. lay fraternities and societies established under the name and teaching of Saint Augustine.

Some of the most visible contemporary groups of Augustinians include:

The Order of the Hermit Friars of Saint Augustine

The O.S.A.'s, formerly called Augustinian Hermits, but today known as Augustinian Friars or Austin Friars, are a mendicant order. Being friars, they pray the Liturgy of the Hours throughout every day. This Latin Rite branch is active in society (ie. not enclosed), and it is counted comprehensively in the article below. It is headed by the international Prior-General in Rome, and while spiritually and historically connected is now canonically separate from the other Independent Augustinian Communities such as the Canons Regular, Discalced Augustinians, Augustinian nuns, Premontres, Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception, Augustinian Recollects and the Dominicans.

The modern order of friars (Under the Prior General in Rome) is associated with the United Nations as a Non-Governmental Organization and maintains a full-time representative to the United Nations. Worldwide there are nearly 2,800 Augustinian friars working in:

  • Algeria
  • Argentina
  • Austria
  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Benin
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia

  • Costa Rica
  • Czech Republic
  • Dominican Republic
  • England
  • Ecuador
  • France
  • Germany
  • Guinea
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Italy

  • Japan
  • Kenya
  • Madagascar
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Nicaragua
  • Nigeria
  • Panama
  • Papua
  • Peru
  • Philippines

  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Scotland
  • Spain
  • South Korea
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • U.S.A.
  • Uruguay
  • Vatican City
  • Venezuela
  • Zaire

Around 1,500 women live in Augustinian enclosed convents in:

  • Bolivia
  • Chile
  • Ecuador
  • Italy
  • Kenya
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • U.S.A

Augustinian lay societies

The lay societies are voluntary groups, generally made up of people who are either married or single and have sympathy with, and interest in, the Augustinian approach to life. These lay people do not take the monastic vows, but offer support to the work of the Augustinian order through voluntary work, gifts of money and goods, and the study and promotion of Augustine and Augustinian teaching. The Brotherhood of the Virgin Mary of the Belt in Italy, the Friends of Augustine in the Philippines, the Augustinian Lay community and the Augustinian Friends in Australia are some examples of Augustinian lay societies.

Aggregated communities

Other orders and groups belong within the Augustinian family either because they follow the Rule of Augustine or have been formally aggregated through their constitutions into the worldwide Augustinian Order. These are not counted comprehensively in this article only because the Catholic church's system of governance and accounting makes only the numbers of ordained priests relatively accessible and verifiable. Some of these include:

The Augustinian Rule

The ancient Rule of life formally constituted for the hermits around 1243, had its origins established soon after St. Augustine was converted by Ambrose in Milan around the year 384 AD. He and some friends returned to his native Thagaste in North Africa, gave away their possessions and began a life of prayer and study. Probably, Augustine didn't compose a formal monastic rule despite the extant Augustinian Rule <ref name="The Rule">Augustine of Hippo Constitutiones Ordinis Fratrum S. Augustini (Rome 1968) </ref>. Augustine's hortatory letter to the nuns at Hippo Regius (Epist., ccxi, Benedictine ed.) is not considered a formal Monastic rule by some scholars <ref>c.f on which the beginnings of this article are based</ref>. However, the present rule has strong consonance with the existing writings and teaching of Augustine of Hippo.

Three sets of the "Augustinian Rule" have been attributed to Augustine's authorship (texts in Holstenius-Brockie, Codex regularum monasticarum, ii, Augsburg, 1759, 121–127), the longest of which, a medieval compilation from certain pseudo-Augustinian sermons in 45 chapters, is the one commonly known as the regula Augustini, and served as the constitution of the Augustinian Canons and many societies imitating them, as, for example, the Dominicans and Arrouaisians.

The extant Augustinian orders claim lineage from the communities founded by Augustine of Hippo, and while the history of ideas is evident, historic continuity is not conclusively proven according to the standards of contemporary historical method. The most likely process of transmission occurred between the years 430 and 570 as the Roman empire collapsed - rapidly in Roman North Africa. Augustine's style of communal living was carried into Europe by monks and clergy fleeing the onslaught of the Vandal tribes under Geiseric. Around 440 Quodvultdeus of Carthage established communities in Naples. St. Fulgentius of Ruspe arrived in Sardinia by 502 and introduced Augustinian teaching there. The 5th century Donatus and his monks probably brought a form of it to Southern Spain around the year 570 when he established the Monasterium Servitanum <ref>c.f references to this exist in the later writings of St. Isidore, St.Ildephonsus and Eutropius</ref>. A form of Augustine's Rule was later used as a basis for the reform of monasteries and cathedral chapters during the 11th century. Clare of Montefalco was one of the first abbesses to adopt the formally constituted Augustinian rule in her monastery in 1291. The rule was also adopted by the Dominicans, Canons Regular of the Abbey of St. Victor in Marseilles (before its suppression), the Abbey of St Victor, Paris (a precursor to the University of Paris) as well as the Premonstratensians and Lateran Canons.

History of the Grand Union

The year 1256 is usually quoted as the date of the Grand Union that brought the modern order into existence, but there is some scholarly discussion over the exact date of the formal constitution of the Augustinian order, as it occurred in stages. By the 11th century there had appeared historically identifiable groups of clerics in various part of Europe who renounced private property and lived together in community following the Rule of St. Augustine described above. The consolidation of this movement can be connected to the changes proposed by the Gregorian Reform. In 1243 the decree, Incumbit Nobis was issued by Pope Innocent IV, and it called together a number of monastic communities in Tuscany. The Augustinians owed their formal existence to the policy of Popes Innocent IV (12411254) and Pope Alexander IV (12541261), who wished to counterbalance the influence of the powerful Franciscans and Dominicans by means of a similar order under more direct papal authority and devoted to papal interests.

The Augustinian Hermits (who are generally meant by the name "Augustinians", one branch of which Martin Luther belonged to) became the last of the great mendicant orders to be formally constituted in the thirteenth century. It is historically verifiable that Innocent IV, by the bull issued 16 December, 1243 united a number of small hermit societies with Augustinian rule, especially the Williamites, the John-Bonites, and the Brictinans.

Alexander IV (admonished, it was said, by an appearance of Saint Augustine) called a general assembly of the members of the new united order under the presidency of Cardinal Richard of Saint Angeli at the monastery of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome in March, 1256, when the head of the John-Bonites, Lanfranc Septala, of Milan, was chosen general prior of the united orders. Alexander's bull Licet ecclesiae catholicae<ref>Licet ecclesiae catholicae issued on 4 May, 1256</ref>, confirmed this choice. The new order was thus finally constituted with Italian, Hungarian, French, English, Belgian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swiss, Austrian and German Augustinian friars united into one international order. Pope Alexander IV afterward allowed some houses of the Williamites, who were dissatisfied with the new arrangement, to withdraw from the union, and they adopted the Benedictine rule.

Several general chapters in the thirteenth century (1287 and 1290) and toward the end of the sixteenth (1575 and 1580), after the severe crisis occasioned by Luther's reformation, developed the statutes to their present form (text in Holstenius-Brockie, ut sup., iv, 227–357; cf. Kolde, 17–38), which was confirmed by Pope Gregory XIII. A bull of Pius V in 1567 had already assigned to the Hermits of Saint Augustine the place next to the last (between Carmelites and Servites) among the five chief mendicant orders.

The Augustinian ethos

The teaching and writing of Augustine, the Augustinian Rule, and the lives and experiences of Augustinians over 16 centuries help define the ethos of the order, sometimes "honoured in the breach".

As well as telling his disciples to be "of one mind and heart on the way towards God"<ref>Augustine of Hippo Constitutiones Ordinis Fratrum S. Augustini (Rome 1968) Chapter I</ref> Augustine of Hippo taught that "Nothing conquers except truth and the victory of truth is love" (Victoria veritatis est caritas}<ref>Augustine of Hippo "Victoria veritatis est caritas"</ref>, and the pursuit of truth through learning is key to the Augustinian ethos, balanced by the injunction to behave with love towards one another. It does not unduly single out the exceptional, especially favour the gifted, nor exclude the poor or marginalised. Love is not earned through human merit, but received and given freely by God's free gift of grace, totally undeserved yet generously given. These same imperatives of affection and fairness have driven the order in its international missionary outreach. This balanced pursuit of love and learning has energised the various branches of the order into building communities founded on mutual affection and intellectual advancement. The Augustinian ideal is inclusive.

Augustine spoke passionately of God's "beauty so ancient and so new" <ref>Augustine of Hippo </ref>, and his fascination with beauty extended to music. He taught that "to sing once is to pray twice" (Qui cantat, bis orat) <ref>Augustine of Hippo PL 38, 1472 </ref>, and music is also a key part of the Augustinian ethos. Contemporary Augustinian musical foundations include the famous Augustinerkirche in Vienna where Orchestral Masses by Mozart and Schubert are performed every week, as well as the boys' choir at Sankt Florian in Austria, a school conducted by Augustinian Canons, a choir now over 1,000 years old.

History in Europe

In its most flourishing state at the beginning of the 14th century C.E., the order in Europe had forty-two provinces (besides the two vicariates of India and Moravia) with 2,000 monasteries and about 30,000 members <ref>c.f. Augustino Lubin </ref>. The Canons Regular and the Augustinian Recollects also have considerable history in Europe.

German-speaking lands

The successful German branch, which until 1299 was counted as one province, was then divided into four provinces. These provinces produced significant Augustinian leaders and reformers. These included the most famous German Augustinian theologian before the Augustinian Martin Luther: Andreas Proles (d. 1503), the founder of the Union or Congregation of the Observant Augustinian Hermits, organized after strict principles; Johann von Paltz, the famous Erfurt professor and pulpit-orator (d. 1511); as well as Johann von Staupitz, Luther's monastic superior and Wittenberg colleague (d. 1524).

Reforms were also introduced into the extra-German branches of the order, but a long time after Proles's reform and in connection with the Counter-Reformation of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Augustinian credentials of Martin Luther did not prevent anti-clerical attacks on the order during the Reformation, and neither did it enhance the order's political influence within the Catholic church during the Counter-Reformation.

Spanish-speaking and French-speaking lands

The order of friars in Spain and France has had an eventful history, from being part of the Grand Union, through the periods of extensive Spanish colonisation, the French Revolution, the effects of the Napoleonic wars, the War of the Spanish Succession, suppression of the order, the Spanish Civil War, and then Francisco Franco.

Historically, the other most important of the observant Augustinian congregations are the Spanish Augustinian tertiary nuns, founded in 1545 by Archbishop Thomas of Villanova at Valencia; the "reformed" Augustinian nuns who originated under the influence of Augustinian educated Carmelite St Theresa after the end of the sixteenth century at Madrid, Alcoy, and in Portugal; and the barefoot Augustinians (in France Augustins déchaussés) founded about 1560 by Thomas a Jesu (d. 1582).

A significant Augustinian missionary college was established at the former Spanish capital of Valladolid in 1759 - and this house was exempted from the suppression of monastic houses in Spain c.1835, later becoming the centre of restoration for the order in Spain. In 1885 Filipino Augustinians took charge of the famous Escorial, and friars continue to administer it today. The modern Augustinian province of Spain was refounded in 1926- largely through Spanish and Filipino friars from the Philippines- but that was not the end of difficulty for the order in Spain. During the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) ninety eight Augustinians were murdered - sixty five friars from the Escorial alone were executed. Many of the discalced Augustinian nuns of Valencia were also put to death.

As of 2006 there were 177 Spanish Augustinian friars, with 23 in simple profession. <ref>c.f. International Order of St. Augustine</ref>

Setbacks in Europe

Many European Augustinian priories and foundations suffered serious setbacks (including suppression and destruction) from the various periods of anti-clericalism during the Reformation and other historical events such as the French Revolution, the Spanish civil war (among more than 6,000 clergy, 155 Spanish Augustinians were killed) <ref name="Moreno">The statistics come from Historia de la Persecución Religiosa en España (1936–1939) by Antonio Montero Moreno (Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos, 3rd edition, 1999)</ref>, the two World Wars and Communist repression.

Latest statistics in Europe

As of 2006 there were 148 active Augustinian priories in Europe, including Germany, Belgium, Poland, Ireland, England, Scotland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Malta, Spain and Spanish houses in the Philippines. This includes 1,031 friars<ref>N.B.numbers cited from information on the website International Order of St. Augustine</ref> in solemn vows, and 76 in simple vows.

The order is in numerical decline in Europe.

History in England

In England and Ireland of the 14th century the Augustinian order had had over 800 friars, but these priories had declined (for other reasons) to around 300 friars before the anti-clerical laws of the Reformation Parliament and the Act of Supremacy. The friaries were dispersed from 1538 in the dissolution of monasteries during the English Reformation. The martyr St John Stone was one of the few British Augustinians to publicly defy the will of Henry VIII in this matter. The partial List of monasteries dissolved by Henry VIII of England alone includes 19 Augustinian houses such as Bath Abbey, Bourne Abbey, Newstead Abbey and Waltham Abbey, the last one dissolved under him, but not the last to be destroyed. Clare Priory was one of the houses dissolved by King Henry VIII, but the Order managed to buy it back in 1953, with help from the family who then owned it.

History in Ireland

The English Province of the Order of Saint Augustine founded their first house in Dublin some time before 1280, and for a considerable time the Augustinians of Ireland were all English, effectively serving the English settlers in Ireland. Great Connell Priory was founded about 1202. However, by the mid 14th century thirteen houses of the Order had been established in Ireland. The Irish branch was relatively poor, and very few of the indigenous Irish friars were sent to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge for their education (unlike the English Augustinians). The fortunes of the Irish order changed in 1361 when Lionel, the second son of King Edward III, became viceroy of Ireland. He favoured the order, and soon established an Augustinian professor of theology based at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, and the Irish then order grew significantly until the time of the English Reformation.

In Ireland after the Reformation Parliament that began in 1529, the Augustinian houses in Leinster, Munster, Dublin, Dungarvan and Drogheda were soon suppressed. The houses in Ardnaree, Ballinrobe, Ballyhaunis, Banada and Murrisk managed to remain functioning until 1610. By decree in 1542 the English parliament had allowed the Augustinian community at Dunmore in County Galway, Ireland to continue. After 1610 the Dunmore community was the only surviving foundation, and in 1620 the Irish Province of the Augustinians was given pastoral charge of both England (where all houses had been forcibly closed) and Ireland. Irish Augustinian students were sent to the Continent to study, and the Irish Augustinians continued their work in Ireland under the harsh English Penal laws designed to protect the establishment of the Church of England. A number were executed - including William Tirry OSA (executed 1654 for saying mass). In 1656, in response to the persecution at home, Pope Alexander VII established the Irish Augustinians in Rome in the church and priory of San Matteo in Merulana. Many Augustinians though remained in Ireland. In 1751 Augustine Cheevers O.S.A, an Irish Augustinian, was made Bishop of Ardagh. Others left to work in America and after the 1830s to Australia. After the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829, the order began to re-organise more openly in Ireland. The Irish friars took the Order back to England, establishing a priory at Hoxton, London in 1864. They further turned their attention to Nigeria, Australia, America and missionary work. The contemporary Irish order conducts parishes, a school in Dungarvan (founded 1874), a school in New Ross and special ministries in Ireland.

Contemporary Ireland is undergoing rapid change, and this presents challenges to the order there. Many Irish emigrants (including Augustinian friars) are now returning. Over 40,000 immigrants each year are admitted to keep the Irish economy working, and many are coming from the new Eastern European members of the European Union. For example, there are now over 100,000 Poles in the country as well as asylum seekers from Africa and the Balkan countries. The formerly unified Celtic culture of Ireland is diversifying, and this means its predominantly Celtic Catholic ethos as well.

Measuring the growth or decline of the Augustinian Order internationally

Given that the Roman Catholic church in the Western world has been experiencing a decline in vocations to the priesthood and religious life since the 1960s, a relatively simple way to assess the vigour of this order is to compare the numbers of those in solemn profession (vows) with those in simple profession. For a mendicant order such as the Augustinians, the most formal and significant commitments are the permanent and lifelong vows of Solemn profession. Ordination is considered a separate matter, and though most are, the Augustinian friar may or may not be ordained priest or deacon. Those in simple profession are the newer members of the order, but have agreed to make a serious commitment (temporary, but with a view to permanent commitment), and been formally accepted as suitable by senior members of the order to make that formal commitment. The figures quoted do not include aspirants to the order who have not reached the significant step of simple profession. The details of the median age of friars in respective national grouping is another way of assessing the vigour of the order, but these details are not included here. They may be found on the order's international website. Likewise, the growth of lay organisations of Augustinian spirituality is another (less-precise) way of measuring the vigour of the order.

History in the New World: North America

File:Saint thomas villanova church.JPG
St. Thomas of Villanova Church, on the Villanova University campus.

The North American foundation of the order happened in 1796 when Irish friars founded Olde St. Augustine's Church in Philadelphia. Michael Hurley was the first American to join the Order the following year. Friars established schools, Universities and other works throughout the Americas, including Villanova University (1842) near Philadelphia (USA) and Merrimack College (1947, USA). While Malvern Preparatory School was founded in 1842 alongside the University, by 1909 two Augustinian houses and a school had been established in Chicago, 1922 in San Diego, by 1925 a school in Ojai and Los Angeles; 1926 a school in Oklahoma; in 1947 a college in Massachusetts; in 1953 a school in Pennsylvania; 1959 a school in New Jersey; in 1961 a school in Massachusetts; and in 1962 a school in Illinois . The Augustinian Recollects are also present in the U.S.A.

The Order's 20th century establishment in Canada<ref>c.f. Augnet historical information</ref> was one result of both poverty and political trouble being experienced by German Augustinians. From 1925 and later during the Great Depression German Augustinians began arriving in North America to teach. After 1936, with the political situation in Nazi Germany worsening, more German Augustinians departed for North America. By 1939 from there were 46 German priests, 13 German religious brothers and 8 German candidates in North America. The order established the first of their Canadian houses at Tracadie, Nova Scotia in Canada in 1938. Among other Canadian foundations, the order also established a significant priory and school in Toronto. The order, by 2006 has since professed many native Canadians.

Latest statistics for the United States and Canada

As of 2006 there were more than 70 Augustinian priories in the United States and Canada with 386 friars<ref>N.B. numbers cited from information on the website International Order of St. Augustine</ref> in solemn vows and 16 in simple vows, numerically the order of friars is in decline.

History in the New World: Central and South America

File:Convento san agustin 1.jpg
Monastery of San Agustin at Yuriria, Guanajuato, Mexico, founded in 1550.

Sent by their Provincial St.Thomas of Villanova, the first group of Spanish/Castilian Augustinians arrived in Mexico in 1533<ref>c.f.Augnet historical information</ref>. They soon formed multiple priories, including at Guanajuato (pictured) and were later instrumental in establishing the Pontifical and Royal University of Mexico. By 1562 there were nearly 300 Spanish Augustinians in Mexico, and they had established some 50 priories. Their history in Mexico was not to be an easy one, given the civil strife of events like the Cristero War, periodic anti-clericalism and suppression of the church that was to follow.

Spanish Augustinians first went to Peru in 1551. From there they went to Ecuador in 1573, and from Ecuador in 1575 to Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Panama and Venezuela. The order founded the Ecuadorean University of Quito in 1586. Augustinians also entered Argentina via Chile between 1617 and 1626, and their history there was eventful. The order had considerable property confiscated by the Argentinian government under the secularisation laws in the 19th century, and were entirely suppressed for 24 years until 1901 when they returned.

Augustinians from Ecuador went to Bolivia in 1575. The Augustinian Province of Holland later also founded houses in Bolivia from 1930. The Order (from Mexico) arrived in Cuba in 1608. It was suppressed by force in 1842. In 1892 American Augustinians went back to Cuba from the Province of Villanova in the USA and remained there until 1961 when they were expelled by the government of Fidel Castro.

File:Interior convento 3.jpg
Interior view of Monastery of San Agustin at Yuriria, Guanajuato, Mexico, founded 1550

The Augustinian Recollects are also present in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela. The Canons Regular are present in Uruguay and Brazil.

Latest statistics for Central and South America

In Central and South America<ref>N.B.<cite> South American Augustinian friars numbers not available online</ref>, the Augustinians remain established in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela as well three Peruvian Vicariates of Iquitos, Apurimac and Chulucanas, and the Province of Peru. There are currently 814 friars in Latin America, but the order's growth or decline in Central and South America is not able to be assessed for this article.

History in Africa

The Augustinians followed the Portuguese flag in Africa and the Gulf behind the explorer and seafarer Vasco da Gama<ref>c.f. Augustinians in Africa Augnet historical information</ref>. He had sailed from Lisbon in 1497, and arrived at Mozambique in March 1498. Portuguese Augustinians also worked on the island of Sao Tome, in Warri (Nigeria) and in what is now known as Angola, the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon up until 1738. The Portuguese also took control of the port of Goa in India - giving the Augustinians a foothold there also. Besides the early Portuguese Augustinians, other Augustinian missionaries have since followed to Africa from America, Ireland, Belgium and Australia. The Augustinian Sisters of Mercy of Jesus established themselves in South Africa in 1891, and at their invitation they were joined in their work by American friars in 1997.

Latest statistics for Africa

As of 2006, there were more than 30 other Augustinian priories in Nigeria, Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and Algeria, with over 85 friars<ref>N.B. Augustinian friars numbers cited from information on the website International Order of St. Augustine</ref> in solemn vows, and more than 60 in simple vows. There are also Augustinians working in the Republic of Benin, Togo, Madagascar, Guinea and Burkina.

The order of friars and affiliated orders are growing in Africa..

History in Asia

The Philippines

The Augustinians were the first Christian missionaries to arrive in Asia's (now) only Christian nation, and the leader of these first missionaries was the navigator Andrés de Urdaneta (b. 1498 - d. June 3, Mexico, 1568), an Augustinian friar. He was navigator on the journey that established the first permanent Spanish settlement in the Philippines. The historic Filipino Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus of the Order of St. Augustine was officially formed on December 31, 1575 as an offshoot of the establishment of the first permanent Spanish settlements. San Agustín Church and Monastery in Manila became the centre of Augustinian efforts to evangelise the Philippines. The order still has responsibility for the oldest church in the Philippines, the Basilica del Santo Niño de Cebu in Cebu. Before the Philippine Revolution of 1898 which accelerated the separation of church and state in the Philippines, the Augustinians conducted more than 400 hundred schools and churches there and had pastoral care for some 2,237,000 Filipinos, including 328 village missions. The Philippine Revolution of 1896 cost the order very dearly; its heaviest losses in the entire 19th century, breaking the historic connection with, or destroying the majority of its established works there. This included the removal of friars from 194 parishes, the capture of 122 friars by Filipino revolutionaries and the deprivation of income from 240 friars. Many Spanish Augustinians were forced to leave the country for Spain or Latin America, repopulating the Augustinian houses in Spain and reinforcing Augustinian missionary work in South America.

In 1904 the Filipino members of the order established the University of San Agustin in Iloilo City, Philippines. In 1968 Filipino friars re-established the Augustinian presence on the Indian subcontinent. They have also since established schools such as the Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod in Negros Occidental (1962), the Colegio San Agustin, Makati (1969) and the Colegio San Agustin, Biñan in Biñan, Laguna (1985).

In 2004 the all-Filipino Augustinian Province of Cebu celebrated its twentieth year of existence. Not counting Spanish Augustinians, there are 85 members in final vows with 19 in simple profession. There are 12 priories including a mission on Socorro Island <ref> c.f. Augustinians in the Philippines Augnet historical information</ref>.

The order of friars is once again growing in the Philippines. The Augustinian Recollects are also present in the Philippines.


Despite a vigorous early Christian foundation in Nagasaki by Jesuits, Franciscans and Philippino Augustinians <ref>c.f. Augustinians in Japan</ref> and the many 17th century Japanese Augustinian martyrs, the earlier Augustinian mission attempts eventually failed after the repression of Tokugawa Hidetada (ruled 1605–1623; second Tokugawa shogun of Japan) and the expulsion of Christians under Tokugawa Iemitsu (ruled 1623 to 1651; third Tokugawa shogun of Japan).

However, American Augustinian friars returned to Japan in 1954, symbolically establishing their first priory in 1959 at Nagasaki (also site of the second atomic bomb dropped on August 13th, 1945). They then established priories in Fukuoka (1959), Nagoya (1964), and Tokyo (1968). As of 2006, there are seven United States Augustinian friars and five Japanese Augustinian friars.

Early Japanese Augustinian leaders, including St Magdalen of Nagasaki and St Thomas Jihyoe are venerated as saints.


Two Dutch Augustinian friars re-established the order in Papua (now Indonesia) in 1953 while it was still a Dutch colony. In 1956 the order took responsibility for the area that was to become the Diocese of Manokwari. As of 2006, the Augustinian Vicariate of Indonesia has 15 friars in solemn profession, and 7 in simple vows. It is now predominantly Papuan. The Augustinian Sisters of God's Mercy are also present in Indonesia (including West Borneo). The first Dutch sisters had arrived in 1946, and the order is now entirely Indonesian with fourteen communities and 105 professed <ref>c.f. Augustinian news Augustinians</ref>.

The order of friars and affiliated orders are growing in Indonesia.


The Augustinian Recollects are also present in Korea, but for the Augustinian friars, the Region of Korea was founded in 1985 by Australian, English and Scottish friars. Philippinos later replaced the UK friars. As of 2006 there are 5 Koreans professed in the order and 12 in formation.<ref>c.f. Augustinians in Korea Augnet historical information</ref>.

The order of friars is growing numerically in Korea.


After an extensive period of expansion in India from the 15th century <ref>c.f. Augustinians in India Augnet historical information</ref> the Portuguese Augustinians had not only established the order but also provided sixteen Indian bishops between 1579 and 1840. The order subsequently disappeared in India, cut off from its usual governance after the suppression of Portuguese monasteries in 1838, and the friars were forced to become secular priests. The order had failed successfully to establish itself as an autonomous indigenous Indian foundation.

However, the Augustinians were re-established by Filipino friars in 1968 at Cochin, and the Indian Augustinians took on further responsibilities in Kerala in 2005 <ref>c.f. Augustinian news Indian Augustinians</ref>. The Indian order currently has 16 ordained friars and 8 in simple vows. The order is growing numerically in India.


The first Western major work on the history of China was by Augustinian friar Juan González de Mendoza. It was a description of a visit to China by three others (including another Augustinian friar), and included the first known depiction of Chinese characters in Western publishing. In 1585 he published it at Rome in Spanish.

In about 1681, the Philippino Augustinian Alvaro de Benevente arrived in China and established the first of the Augustinian houses in China at Kan-chou. Benevente was made bishop and became head of the newly-created Vicariate of Kiang-si in 1699. The Augustinian missionaries had success in propagating Catholicism, but in 1708, during the Chinese Rites controversy they were forced to withdraw from China. Portuguese Augustinians also served in the colonial port of Macau from 1586 until 1712.

In 1879 Spanish Augustinians<ref>c.f. Augustinians in China Augnet historical information</ref> from Manila (Elias Suarez O.S.A. and Agostino Villanueva O.S.A) entered China to re-establish an Augustinian mission. By 1910 the Augustinian mission had 24 members of the Order, two were indigenous Chinese. By 1947 the Augustinian mission counted 24,332 baptised Catholics as well as 3,250 preparing for baptism. They had established 20 major churches and 90 satellite churches. By that time there were 25 Chinese-born priests. Augustinian Recollects also established the (then) successful mission at Kweiteh in Henan Province in 1923.

All foreign missionaries were expelled or imprisoned from 1953 by the Communist government. Chinese-born Augustinians were dispersed by government order and directed not to live the monastic life. Church officials were arrested, schools and other church institutions closed or confiscated by the State. Many priests, religious brothers and sisters, as well as leaders among the Christian laity were sent to labour camps. One of the last of the pre-Revolution Chinese Augustinians was Father Dai O.S.A.. He died in 2003.

Latest information on China

Since the re-unification of the former colonies of Macau and Hong-Kong with the central Chinese government and further developments in government religious policy, Roman Catholicism in China - including clergy, Roman Catholic bishops, and a Cardinal - once again exists openly alongside the members of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association and their co-religionists in the continuing underground Church.

The Augustinian have recently re-established friendly relations with Chinese educational organisations through school-placement programmes<ref>c.f. Australian Augustinian School Principal from St. Augustine's College, Brookvale visits China Augnet News in 2003</ref> as well as through the University of the Incarnate Word Chinese campus founded by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word.

While there are Chinese Augustinian friars, there is not yet a priory in mainland China re-established.

Other Augustinians in Taiwan

The Augustinian Recollects are established in Taiwan, at Kaohsiung. They are supported by Filipino Recollects from the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno. Likewise the Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation are established there in Hsinchu city. The Canons Regular of Saint Augustine are also present in Taiwan.

Latest statistics for Asia

As of 2006 (and not counting Spanish Augustinian priories) there were more than 21 other Augustinian houses across the Philippines, India, Korea, Japan, and Indonesia, with more than 140 friars<ref>N.B. Augustinian friars numbers cited from information on the website International Order of St. Augustine</ref> in solemn vows and more than 40 in simple vows.

The order of friars is growing in Asia.

History in Australia

Irishman James Alipius Goold O.S.A, was the first Augustinian to arrive in the Australian colonies in 1838. He had been convinced to go to Australia by William Bernard Ullathorne (then the Benedictine Vicar-General of New Holland) after a chance meeting on the steps of the Roman Augustinian church at the monastery of Santa Maria del Popolo<ref name="Arneil">Arneil, Stan pp. 34 "Out Where the Dead Men Lie" (The Augustinians in Australia 1838–1992) Augustinian Press Brookvale (1992). pp37.ISBN 0-949826-03-0</ref>.

Goold began his missionary work in Sydney under Archbishop John Bede Polding, becoming parish priest at Campbelltown. Goold went on in 1848 to become the founding bishop and first Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Melbourne. He also commenced the design and construction of its Neo-Gothic Cathedral. Despite's Goold's initial desire to establish immediately an Australian branch of the order, the first Australian Augustinian was not ordained until 1940, and the Australian Province was not formally established as separate from its Irish founding province until 1952.

The Irish Augustinians formally accepted responsibility in 1884 for the part of Queensland that became the Diocese of Cairns, and the first Australian priory was founded at Echuca, Victoria in 1886. Priories were established at Rochester in 1889 and Kyabram in 1903. The order worked at different times in the colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, taking part in some critical moments of the settlement and establishment of modern Australia. Charles O'Hea O.S.A. baptized Ned Kelly. Father Matthew Downing O.S.A. tried to calm the miners who were part of the Eureka Stockade in 1854. The order also supplied a number of the other early Australian bishops including Martin Crane O.S.A. and Stephen Reville O.S.A both in Sandhurst (Bendigo) John Heavey O.S.A. (Cairns), John Hutchinson O.S.A (Cooktown), and James Murray O.S.A (Cooktown).

The order presently conducts parishes, two schools (one established 1948 in Brisbane, the other established 1956 in Sydney), St John Stone House (a centre for Augustinian Spirituality), a formation centre, and special ministries such as palliative care, HIV/AIDS ministry, and Aboriginal ministry.

Associated orders such as the St John of God Brothers (arrived Australia 1947 and established mental health services) and the Philippino Augustinian Sisters of our Lady of Consolation also established an Australian house in the 1990s.

Latest statistics for Australia

As of 2006 there were 11 other Augustinian priories in Australia <ref>c.f. Augustinians in Australia Augnet historical information</ref> with 36 friars in solemn vows, and one in simple vows. The order of friars is in numerical decline in Australia while affiliated orders are growing.


<references />


  • Bibliography for the Augustinian official website
  • Augustine of Hippo, The Rule of St Augustine Constitutiones Ordinis Fratrum S. Augustini (Rome 1968)
  • Orbis Augustinianus sive conventuum O. Erem. S. A. chorographica et topographica descriptio Augustino Lubin, Paris, 1659, 1671, 1672.
  • Regle de S. Augustin pour lei religieuses de son .ordre; et Constitutions de la Congregation des Religieuses du Verbe-Incarne et du Saint-Sacrament (Lyon: Chez Pierre Guillimin, 1662), pp. 28–29. Cf. later edition published at Lyon (Chez Briday, Libraire,1962), pp. 22–24. English edition, The Rule of Saint Augustine and the Constitutions of the Order of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament (New York: Schwartz, Kirwin, and Fauss, 1893), pp. 33–35.

See also

External links


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