PAST AND PRESENT OF THE AUGUSTINIAN ORDER Miguel Angel Orcasitas, OSA Santiago Insunza, OSA Juan Jose

Vallejo Penedo, OSA Retelling history is seldom as simple a task as it may seem. It is not enough to open some manuscripts or books and expect to find there a history which is crystal clear and free of legends. There may indeed be some widely agreed upon dates and valuable information, but even these cannot be honored as if they were incontestably accurate. There is something mysterious and even cryptic about the past; all the more so, when we travel back and recount the history of such a venerable institution as the Augustinian Order. Nonetheless, we will not shy away from the challenge. Our purpose here, is to present a history that looks back through the centuries and embraces not only the internal life of the Order, but also its evangelizing presence in the world. To achieve this, it is simply not enough to cite dates, remember names and highlight particular events. That alone would fail to give our words the fullness of meaning needed to express the truth we hope to convey. Moreover, in our case, we are dealing with a unique history. The movement of God��s Spirit and the energy of countless projects . with all the mitigating conditions of any human effort . are woven together, bringing about a surprising alchemy that turns disappointments and shadows into signs of hope and of light. 1. Institution of the Order European society in the Middle Ages, identified with Christianity, was fundamentally a rural society, bound to the land by work; but focused on bound-less horizons. At the beginning of the 12th century, the situation began to change. Commerce prospered and craftsmanship flourished; old cities expanded and new cities were born. A new social stratum, the middle-class, emerged and with it a call for a new kind of evangelization. The secular clergy was scarce and not adequately educated, while hermits and monastic orders . tucked away in rural areas . lived far away from urban busyness, intent upon faithfulness to their specific charism.

Into this world a new movement, a new kind of evangelization, came to birth in the Church to meet the challenge. These new communities would, in time, come to be known as the Mendicant Orders. Spearheading this movement, Saint Francis and Saint Dominic . embracing a life of extreme poverty . yearned to foster a reform of the Church and to go into to those bustling cities. They evangelized through the witness of community life, dynamic preaching, administration of the sacraments and later by contributing a significant presence in universities, the most important cultural institutions of the time. As the Franciscans and Dominicans were starting their itinerant ministries, several eremitical groups in the Italian region of Tuscany . understanding the needs of the time and wanting to serve the Church in this new social context . went to Pope Innocent IV and asked him to grant them the status of a mendicant order, under the spiritual guidance of Saint Augustine. These Tuscan hermits became the Order of Saint Augustine. The Pope, through his decrees Incumbit nobis and Pr��sentium vobis of December 16, 1243 called the representatives of the numerous hermitages to meet in a formal assembly known as a Chapter. He entrusted to them, as a norm of life, the Rule of Saint Augustine: The first General Chapter of the Order took place in Rome during the month of March, 1244, under the presidency of cardinal Ricardo degli Annibaldi. The Chapter wrote and approved the first Constitutions, and elected Brother Matheus as the first Prior General. The Order of Hermits of Saint Augustine in Tuscia was officially approved from that moment on. A few years later, in March 1256, a General Chapter . known in our history as the Grand Union . took place in our Friary of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome. With the support of Pope Alexander IV and the Cardinal Protector, the Chapter incorporated other groups into the Order of Saint Augustine, especially the John-Bonites and the Williamites. This chapter elected Lanfranco Septala as Prior General, who was later buried in the church of Saint Mark in Milan. The union was approved by Alexander IV with his decree Licet Ecclesi�� Catholic��, dated April 9, 1256. The Augustinians therefore increased numerically; in step now, with the other Mendicant Orders. Augustinians have always felt a very close relationship to Saint Augustine, the holy bishop of Hippo. They consider themselves his spiritual children, since they

follow his rule. But historical factors would strengthen this bond: the Second Council of Lyon, gathered in 1274, interpreted a decision from a previous Council . the Fourth Lateran, held in 1215 . as a prohibition against founding new religious orders. This measure affected the legitimacy of several religious groups founded between both councils, suppressing them or forcing them to merge with previously founded orders. The members of the Order of Saint Augustine found themselves in jeopardy, but did not waver in their conviction regarding this relationship to Saint Augustine as their founder. They considered themselves as heirs and followers of the monastic form of life which he founded in Northern Africa. Consequently, the link with the Saint would now be reinforced. The friars not only consider him their Father and Teacher, but also the authentic founder of the Order. They received from Saint Augustine . father and teacher . a fraternal style of living together and a sense of community life that shares love. This fraternal love is nurtured by the Trinitarian Mystery which is present in the Church. In turn, that love was placed at the service of the world through friendship and solidarity.

The main purpose for you having come together is to live harmoniously in your house, intent upon God in oneness of mind and heart. Call nothing your own, but let everything be yours in common. (Rule of St, Augustine) 2. Saint Augustine, Father and Teacher Saint Augustine��s life story takes us back to the 4th century. He was born in Tagaste, northern Africa . a Roman territory at the time. His personal and professional journey led him to Milan where he achieved a position of professional and social prominence. Subsequently, his conversion in 386 was truly a spiritual hurricane for the young Augustine, dramatically clearing aside his doubts and questions. From that moment on . and until the end of his days . he embraced a form of life entirely consecrated to God. One could say that the baptistery of Milan . where he received the sacrament from the hands of Saint Ambrose . is the source from which Augustinian religious life flows. He abandoned every human project and decided to follow Christ, dedicating himself to a life of celibacy and living in community. First in Tagaste and later in Hippo where he was then priest and bishop, he tried to put into practice . together with a group of friends . the way of life of the first Christian community of Jerusalem which was of one heart and soul, focused entirely on God. This ideal reached other parts of Africa and the number of monasteries inspired by Augustine��s life and monastic rule increased with time. After his death, some of his monks went to Europe . fleeing from the persecution of the Vandals, and of the Muslims soon after . disseminating there Augustine��s Rule and way of life. Islamic incursions and the imposition of the Benedictine Rule by the successors of Charlemagne, hindered this expansion. There is some information about a monastic Augustinian presence in Spain, but Augustinian life would resume with new energy only with a group of Canons Regular, who embraced the Augustinian Rule as their way of life. In the 13th century . as we have already seen . the Augustinian Order adopted that same Rule when it was instituted by the Pope as a mendicant order. For that reason, both its spirituality and its way of life stand on two pillars: Augustine��s legacy and the lifestyle of the mendicant orders. The image of Augustine handing the Rule to his spiritual children found artistic expression along

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3. Development of the Order The Order had a spectacular expansion in its first century of life, reaching all the countries of Europe. Around 150 monasteries in Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, France, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Bohemia, and England, merged in the Grand Union of 1256. At the end of the 13th century, the Order counted 17 Provinces, and approximately 400 friaries in almost all the European countries.

The Order had a large and strong presence in Italy for centuries. Many Italian friaries of great influence in the history of the Order date from the 13th century. The number of Provinces . most of them founded in the Middle Ages . had always been proportionally high, as was the number of Italian friars during some periods of history.

Blessed Clement of Ossimo and blessed Agostino da Tarano, among the first priors generals of the Order, played a decisive role in drafting the first official constitutions, which have been preserved. They are known as the Constitutions of Ratisbon in honor of the German city from which they were promulgated by the general chapter in 1290.

Together with preaching and the administration of the sacraments, study acquired particular importance. Above all, theological reflection provided a bridge between Christian faith and the culture of the time. Each Province established schools of theological studies while General Houses of Study were opened at the most important universities of the time, like Paris, Rome, Bologna, Padua and Naples.

Clement of Ossimo was also the first who promoted . at the end of the 13th century . the Augustinian theological school. Among its first illustrious theologians were Giles of Rome, Blessed James of Viterbo and Augustine of Tarano who contributed greatly to the prominence of Augustinian thought. The Augustinian theological school underline the primate of Jesus Christ��s Grace, and in the ecclesiastical level, the defense of the Pope in the political and religious conflicts . at the beginning of the 14th century . between Boniface VIII and Philip the Handsome of France, and later on, between John XXII and Louis of

Bavaria. The uninterrupted presence of an Augustinian in the papal court in the position of Sacristan . from 1352 until the reformation of the curia by Paul VI in 1967 . is an eloquent symbol of the Order��s fidelity to the Pope. In 1929, on occasion of the Lateran Pacts, the Sacristan was also appointed as Vicar of the Vatican City, until the year 1991.

The feminine branch of Augustinian life also flourished early. Their profession under the Augustinian Rule, in conformity with the form and doctrine of the Order, grants them the designation as Augustinians, and they always enjoyed the eminent position that the Church and the Order gives to contemplative vocations.

During the period of the Grand Union of 1256, there were various convents of contemplative sisters who followed the Rule of St. Augustine in Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Seville, and Toledo in Spain. Convents of Augustinian women religious arose also in other countries, like the one in Oberndorf, Germany (1264), and those in Italy: Santa Croce sull��Arno (1279) and Orvieto (1286). The convent of Obendorf is the first to be documented as part of the Order and was recorded in two documents, one of the German Provincial, and

one of Cardinal Annibaldi. The feminine branches of Augustinian life expanded throughout Europe, both by means of new foundations, as well as through the aggregation of preexistent convents to the Order. Contemplation was the specific goal of these Augustinian communities, according to the concept of religious life for women at the time.

Many lay persons who attended the churches of the Order became interested in following Augustinian spirituality within their own way of life. This brought about several lay associations, confraternities and, above all, the so-called Third Order. By means of a program of Christian life, the members of the Third Order tried to express within the family and within society the same values that friars and contemplative sisters professed in their communities.

Several centuries later, some groups of the Third Order became religious Congregations, remaining associated with the Order as part of the Augustinian Family. In addition, several new Congregations embraced the Augustinian Rule and requested affiliation to the Order. Therefore, the Augustinian Family was constituted by the masculine branch, the contemplative sisters, the lay persons associated in secular fraternities, and the affiliated religious Congregations.

But the witness given by Augustinian saints is even more significant than the expansion of the Order. These are creative and life-giving traces of the Gospel in history. God was for them an invisible thread weaving together the joyful and sorrowful mysteries of their life. Saint Nicholas of Tolentine (1245-1305) was the first canonized Augustinian, and his devotion took root and spread across all the continents where the Order is present. Many others declared ��Blessed�� have been venerated for a long time, such as Frederick of Ratisbon, Clement of Ossimo, Augustine of Tarano, Angelo of Furci, and Andrea of Montereale. In the feminine branch and from the same period, two women stand out, Saint Claire of Montefalco (1268-1308) and Saint Rita of Cascia (1381-1457) . whose devotion would permeate popular religiosity . as well as other contemplative religious women whose holiness has been publicly recognized by the Church. And yet, they are only the first fruits of holiness in an Order that has been blessed by the witness of its saints from its origin and into

our own day.

4. Spiritual and moral decline of the medieval period and reforms

The Order . as the rest of the Church . experienced the spiritual and moral decline that clouded the period from the 14th to the 16th century; a time marked by the Black Plague, the Western Schism, the Hundred Years War and the beginning of Protestantism. These events weakened religious life and brought about a serious spiritual and moral decline which, however, was not always accompanied by a decrease in its membership.

Such difficulties generated contradictory reactions. Among them was the phenomenon of reform movements that gave birth to observant congregations cultivating a rigorous asceticism, especially that of the esteemed friary of Lecceto, among others in Italy. Similar movements appeared in Vienna, Germany and Spain.

Martin Luther belonged to one of these observant congregations in Saxony, Germany. He entered the Order in Erfurt, in 1505 and was ordained priest in 1507. His interior life was tormented by scruples. He was a man both compassionate and arrogant who raised his voice against the scandals in the life of the Church at his time. The Protestant Reformation began this way in 1517, when he made public his 95 theses denouncing the abusive practices of the papacy and moved away from essential points of Church doctrine and from the obedience to the Church. Martin Luther abandoned the Order and the Church in 1521. A tormented spirit, indeed; but also one who possessed a deep religiosity, managed in a very autonomous way

Lord God, You have entrusted me to guide and shepherd the Church. You know that I am unsuitable to fulfill such a difficult mission, and if I attempted it without counting on You, mistakes would follow one after another. For that reason I turn to You�� Use me as an obedient instrument of yours. O my Beloved Lord, do not abandon me in any way, because if I were alone, I would spoil everything for sure. Amen. Martin LUTHER

In spite of his errors, Luther was perceptive. He denounced a number of intolerable situations, recognizing that some preachers were more apt to proclaim their own ideas than to proclaim the Word of God. He translated the Bible into German, and contributed to a better knowledge of the Bible among ordinary people. The Order suffered greatly from the Protestant Reformation, to the point that some Provinces of Germany and the Congregation of Saxony disappeared, while others were notably weakened. Meanwhile, the Province of Hungary was lost as a consequence of the Turkish incursions.

Meanwhile, in England and Ireland, schism unleashed persecutions which took the life of the martyrs Saint John Stone (1539) and Blessed William Tirry (1654), while most of the Augustinian houses were suppressed.

During this time of doctrinal controversy and disciplinary upheaval, an Augustinian who had a particularly critical role in Church leadership was Jerome Seripando .

Prior General of the Order . who became a Cardinal and President of the Council of Trent.

There were attempts at renewal in Germany, Holland, and France; but it was in Spain that such efforts bore the most fruit. The 1500s were truly a Golden Century for the Order in Spain, where reforms later promulgated by the Council of Trent were anticipated. Several Augustinian saints emerged out of the fervor of this renewal movement, such as John of Sahagun, Thomas of Villanova, Alfonso de Orozco, and other venerable religious, some of them missionaries.

The witness of their lives speaks by itself of the spiritual health of the Castilian Province, particularly in the friary of Salamanca, which is probably the most significant house in the history of the Order for excellence in science and for depth in holiness. Another

member of this friary was Luis de Leon, the great writer and spiritual author, unjustly imprisoned by the Inquisition.

The Recollect reform began in Spain in this century, as an initiative of the Province of Castile after the Provincial Chapter permitted a more rigorous life style for some friars who felt called to a more withdrawn life of contemplation. The group that embraced this form of life soon became an observant congregation within the Order, enjoying great autonomy in government. The Augustinian Recollects became an independent Order at the beginning of the 20th century.

In a similar way in Italy, the congregation of the Discalced Augustinians was born. They became an autonomous Order in 1930.

Implementing the reforms of the Council of Trent improved the moral climate of the Order, and brought about strong growth in the number of friars. Around 1575, there were already 40 Provinces, about 1,000 houses and almost 16,000 friars. Communities of contemplative sisters in the Order also flourished considerably during the 14th century and many new convents were founded in Spain and Italy.

5. Missionary movement It was in the context of this spiritual fervor that a missionary movement emerged in the Order, after the explorations and discoveries of the 16th century. The Spanish Provinces and the Province of Portugal sent many friars to the Americas and the Far East. Prior General Jerome Seripando . in harmony with the desires expressed by Emperor Charles V and his son Philip II . told the Spanish Provincials that the friars destined to the missions should be ��holy, wise, and ready to go voluntarily to the Americas.�� In this way, he wished to ensure that the life of the missionaries became the first visible sign of the Gospel message they were to preach.

Gifted with prophetic vision, Saint Thomas of Villanova promoted the sending of missionaries to the new territories, affirming that in the future the Americas might very well become more significant and important for the Church than Europe at that moment. European Christian society risked internal division due to the Protestant reformation and the loss of its identity and faith as one result of the Turkish threat to Vienna.

First group of seven Augustinian missionaries

The encounter with the American continent opened the door to the evangelizing mission of the Augustinian friars who disembarked at Veracruz in present-day Mexico on May 22, 1533. This first group of seven Augustinian missionaries was portrayed with wings in a 16th century painting to symbolize their holiness. The Order was characterized in the Americas as being close to the natives and taking up their defense, learning their languages, respecting some of their secular traditions, writing catechisms, constructing aqueducts and opening hospitals and schools. It was said of our friars that ��in the art of founding towns, civilizing and administering them, they excelled as true leaders of civilization.�� The Augustinians were the first to welcome natives to the Eucharist, while some theologians were still discussing the equality of those native peoples to the rest of human society.

The Order grew very quickly on the American continent. The first friary was founded in Ocuituco, Mexico, in 1533. Only thirty years later, there were 50 houses and 300 missionaries in Mexico. A Province was founded there in 1568, and a second Mexican Province, that of Michoacan, in 1602.

The Order spread out from Mexico to all the territories that had been recently discovered, resulting in the organization of new Provinces. The provinces of Peru and of Quito in present-day Ecuador were founded in the 16th century. The Colombian Province was established in 1601, and the Province of Chile just a few years later. In 1555, the Augustinian Provincial Chapter of Peru stated the following:

��Since we are sent as preachers to these people who do not know God, we are obliged to adopt a more perfect way of living, not only in our obedience before God, our Lord, but also before all people.��

After a century of Augustinian presence, the Order had extended over the entire Latin American continent, leaving its signature on the culture by the magnificence of its friaries, the inspiring witness of holiness and the courageous defense of the native peoples . as in the case of Diego Ortiz, protomartyr of Peru, and bishops Augustin of Coruna and Luis Lopez of Solis, among many others.

Together with the pastoral work of the missions, the promotion of culture would also be reflected in the construction of lasting artistic monuments of extraordinary value. The missionaries of the 14th century . probably inspired by the Renaissance . conceived Christian faith as a process of human perfection also influencing the natural order.

The leadership of the Order in the evangelization of the Philippines is also significant, given that several Augustinians accompanied Legazpi in his voyage of 1565. The Augustinian geographer Andres of Urdaneta was among them. The Province of the Philippines . founded in 1575 . evangelized the archipelago without outside help for fifteen years, under the protection of the Child Jesus as the Santo Nino of Cebu. The routes described by Urdaneta guided sailors for three centuries.

In 1584, the desire to preach the Christian faith took the Order to Japan, bearing wonderful fruits of holiness, as in the case of the Blessed friars Bartholomew Gutierrez, Peter Zuniga, Francis Terrero, Vincent Simoes, and of Saint Magdalene of Nagasaki. A book could be written about the events in the life of another Japanese martyr, Kintsuba. He was an Augustinian who worked underground ministering to the Christians inside the very palace of the Emperor.

On their way to India, the Portuguese Augustinians evangelized numerous places in Africa, from 1572 to 1834, following the colonial roads of his country. In the East Coast of Africa, a Christian community of priests, religious and lay persons was martyred in the city of Mombasa.

Meanwhile, the Augustinians continued growing in Europe, and the Belgians made an effort at evangelizing Holland, laying the groundwork for the future Dutch Province.

The Irish Province, founded shortly before and at this time experiencing persecution, established a college in Rome in 1656, because of the difficulty in Ireland of preparing candidates to the Order.

6. The suppressions of the 18th and 19th Centuries Two strongholds of traditional society came under suspicion with the critique of religious understanding introduced by the Enlightenment at the end of the 18th century: Revelation and the Church as bearer and interpreter of Revelation. The Church was so important in society that . inevitably . such a widespread desire for change had to affect her in a direct way.

Another factor was the French Revolution, that set in motion a period of uncertainty that impinged on the life of the Church and, certainly, on the Augustinian Order. The promoters of the Revolution tried to eliminate deep-rooted structures, traditions, and forms of life, in order to impose a new social and cultural order, in which the life of the individuals would be governed strictly by reason.

By the end of the French Revolution, the Order had lost the provinces of France. Both Napoleon��s invasion and the liberal revolutions carried the secularization policy to other European countries, such as Germany, Italy (Rome included), Poland, Belgium, Portugal and . for different reasons . Ireland. Napoleon took the Pope as hostage, and the Papal Sacristan . the holy Augustinian bishop Bartolomeo Menocchio . remained in charge of the Papal Palace, the Quirinale.

Spain was the only Province that . together with the Latin American colonies . did not experience a decrease in the number of religious. For that reason, in 1804 King Charles IV asked the Pope to grant autonomous administration to the Spanish religious. A few years later, with the independence of the Latin American countries and the secularization of 1837 the Order lost all of its friaries in Spain, except for the one in Valladolid . belonging to the Province of the Philippines . and another in Monteagudo . belonging to the Augustinian Recollects.

The Declaration of Independence of Ecuador was signed in the beautiful Chapter Hall of our principal friary in Quito. But in the process of emancipation of the new Latin American nations, the liberal governments imposed a secularization policy on the Augustinian Provinces, which in turn became very weak.

The Italian Provinces went through a similar experience some years later, under the law that expropriated ecclesiastical properties and goods during the national unification process.

7. Rebirth and new missionary ventures Life in the Order inevitably suffered the effects of all these events. However, a new missionary and vocational effort was set in motion with the Irish mission in the United States, which started in 1796. The beginnings were difficult but in five years time the stately church of Saint Augustine in Philadelphia was consecrated. A humble start eventually gave birth to the Province of Villanova and its famous university.

The establishment of Augustinian life in Australia in 1838 is also due to the missionary spirit of the Irish Province.

In southern Europe, the Province of Sicily, which had a significant and numerous presence on the island, founded the Province of Malta in 1817.

The Province of the Philippines in Spain . with the friary of Valladolid as their mother-house . was able to motivate Augustinian life, keeping its missionary spirit in the Philippines and later on in Latin America, and at the same time . thanks to a stable political situation . it renewed the intellectual tradition of the Order in Spain. In 1865, the province acquired the monastery of Santa Maria de la Vid . an old Norbertine monastery . transforming it into a formation house for theological studies. It also renewed the theological studies program for the formation of its seminarians, and in 1881 it launched a magazine entitled ��The City of God.�� Four years later it also accepted the monastery of El Escorial, establishing a university in its adjacent buildings.

As we begin our departure from Spain, further signs of growth should be recounted. The Province of the Philippines also helped restore the Province of Castile (1881), and created the Province of Madrid (1895). Later, it would also found the Province of the Sacred Name of Jesus in Spain (1926). Meanwhile, Pope Leo XIII re-united the Spanish Augustinians to the rest of the Order on July 4, 1893, with the significant help of Tomas Camara, Augustinian bishop of Salamanca.

The foundation of several congregations under the Augustinian rule . mainly feminine . in the second half of the 19th century once again enlarged the Augustinian family. Many of them are affiliated to the Order and are officially part of the Augustinian Family.

As a flame arises from ashes which seem cold, Augustinian life spread throughout Ireland reaching, in time, the United Kingdom and a new Province of EnglandScotland was established there.

Elsewhere on the continent, the German Province was restored through the ardent dedication of the Venerable Pius Keller, while the General Chapter of 1895 approved the new Provinces of Madrid and Holland.

In 1752, in a historically unique gesture, Benedict XIV conferred the privilege of appointing a Prior-for-life at the Abbey of Brno and, at a later date, granted him the title of

Abbot. Subsequently, the policy of Joseph II who required monasteries to provide activities of a social nature turned this abbey into a cultural reference point. Abbot Franz Napp founded the Agricultural Society of Moravia, and carried out multiple experiments on the breeding and cultivation of certain plants. It was Gregor Mendel . his disciple and successor . who took over this task, and is now considered the Father of Genetics because of his discovery of the laws of heredity.

The Order lost Saint Augustine��s Friary in Rome during the expropriation that accompanied the process of Italian unification. It was here that the General Curia was located. Here, as well, the renowned Angelica Library was housed. Founded by Angelo Rocca, this was the first library in the world to open its doors to the public. In 1882 . thanks to the diligence of the Vicar General Pacifico Neno . the Order acquired Villa Cesi in Rome, located alongside the Bernini colonnade encircling Saint Peter��s Square. This is the present location of the General Curia, Saint Monica��s International College and, since 1970, the Augustinian Patristic Institute. Pacifico Neno also encouraged the secularized friars to resume Augustinian life and return to their communities.

The restored province of Castile established a new apostolic presence in the Antilles, while the province of the Philippines . besides helping the provinces of Peru and Colombia . accepted responsibility for the Apostolic Vicariate of Iquitos Peru, and opened new communities of the Order in Brazil and Argentina.

Mexico and the countries of South American experienced a gradual rebuilding of the Order��s presence; in some cases with the help of friars from different European countries.

The celebration of general chapters resumed in 1889 . after an interruption of 24 years . with the participation of some provinces that had been absent for decades. The Spaniards . who had not participated since 1804 . took part in the Chapter of 1895, having returned to ordinary form of governance.

The canonization of Clare of Montefalco and Rita of Cascia by Leo XIII helped stimulate a spiritual renewal within the Order, as did the beatification of Alfonso de Orozco and several Italian friars.

Some years later, Pius X beatified Stephen Bellesini, an extraordinary Italian educator and parish priest. Expelled from the Papal States by Napoleon��s troops, Stephen Bellesini founded a school in Trent, his native city, formulating educational principles that are still valid today. The model was applied to all public schools in the Trent area, and Bellesini was appointed Education Minister. But as soon as religious life was restored in the Papal States, he abandoned this high political position out of his love for community life. He was master of novices and parish priest in Genazzano for many years, and would eventually die of the plague that took the lives of so many members of his parish.

8. The 20th Century: tribulations and hopes

A beautiful expression of the Order��s rebuilding was the restitution in 1900 of the church and friary in Pavia, where the relics of St. Augustine are preserved. In this symbolic event, we recovered the legacy of our past, which in turn engendered hope and energy for the future. The contours of that future soon became visible.

It was at this time that the Province of Villanova brought Augustinian life to the Caribbean island of Cuba.

The recently founded Dutch Province expanded its presence in Holland, and also founded the first new communities in Paris since Napoleon��s suppression of the Order. Nearby, the revitalization of the Province of Belgium began in 1902.

The German Province expanded, establishing new communities soon after its restoration in 1895. It founded friaries in the United States in the 1920s, and soon after in Canada, setting the basis for the future Canadian Province.

This revitalization and growth, however, would soon come up against formidable resistance. Europe would experience the horror of two World Wars in the first half of the 20th century, as well as devastating civil conflicts. Among these was the civil war in Spain. All of which would inflict profound anguish and hardship upon the Order.

Spain suffered a brutal civil war accompanied by an explosion of violent anticlericalism. More than a hundred Augustinian friars from the four Provinces were martyred, among whom was Anselmo Polanco, bishop of Teruel, who was beatified by John Paul II. The Province of Germany lost 70 brothers in World War II. The Province of Poland mourned the death of eight brothers. Violent unrest was not limited to Europe. Mexico experienced persecution and bore the fruits of martyrdom, as in the case of Blessed Elias del Socorro Nieves.

The Order found new vitality after World War II, in the context of a society that endured pain and loss and struggled to retrieve human and religious values. The number of Provinces in the United States increased with the birth of the Midwest Province (Chicago), in 1941, and the foundation of the Western (California) Province. The European Provinces of Italy, Ireland, Germany and Spain, and the Mexican Province of Michoacan, also founded communities in the United States. The Spanish Provinces founded new circumscriptions in Brazil (vicariates of Castillia, Spain and Matritense in Brsil), ArgentinaUruguay, Venezuela and . more recently . in Panama and Central America, intensifying the presence of the Order in Latin America.

The Province of Holland established a Vicariate in Bolivia. Chicago and the Italian Federation did the same in Peru. The Province of Malta went to Brazil, and the Irish Province to Ecuador.

The exiles from the Province of Bohemia during the communist dictatorship founded the Vicariate of Vienna.

Ireland, after consolidating the Augustinian presence in Australia, established a

new Province there in 1952. After years of missionary work in Africa, the Irish Province also created a Vice-Province in Nigeria, which achieved status as a Province in 2001.

More and more, Augustinian life reached geographical areas where it had never existed or where it had been absent for centuries.

The Provinces of Belgium and Germany opened new mission posts in Congo. Likewise, the Province of Holland set up missions in Papua. Throughout the 20th century, the Holy See entrusted some significant missionary duties to the Order under the form of Apostolic Vicariates in Peru, Argentina, Nigeria, Congo, and Papua.

The Province of the Philippines founded communities in Tanzania and India, and renewed contacts in China, reconnecting with our Chinese brothers. The mission in China, where Fr. Abilio Gallego was martyred, had been established at the end of the 19th century.

The Province Saint Catherine in and of the Abbey of regime . were able to

of Poland regained strength and was able to recover the friary of Krakow, its Mother House. The Czech friars of the Bohemian Province Brno . who remained in their homeland and survived the communist restart Augustinian life after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989.

The Province of Villanova opened missions in Japan and South Africa, while the Provinces of England and Australia founded communities in Korea, with the immediate participation of the young Province of Cebu in the Philippines.

Before the unification of the Italian Provinces, the Province of Umbria opened a mission in Slovakia, which is now part of the Italian Province. The General Curia opened a mission in Kenya with the help of several Circumscriptions.

During the 20th century, the Order took up educational apostolates in many countries, establishing secondary schools and universities. At the same time, there was a significant increase in its collaboration in parochial ministries.

In 1933, the Province of Malta made the courageous decision of opening a community in a particularly symbolic Augustinian location, the ancient city of Hippo, present-day Annaba, in Algeria.

In the 1960��s, the 2nd Vatican Council invited religious communities to return to the origins of their foundations as a way of inspiring a renewal of religious life. This opportunity was whole-heartedly embraced by the Order and it stimulated wide interest in the study of Augustinian spirituality, since Augustine and his way of life are an essential source of our charism. The revision of the Constitutions (1968), and the approval of the Ratio Institutionis (1995) . a document guiding the formation of new candidates . are a fruit of this reflection.

9. Present and future

Today the Order continues to follow its path of service to the Church and strives to live by its ideals. Following the counsel of the last General Chapters, the Order is now reaching out to new geographical, social and cultural frontiers in greater solidarity with the human family and fuller collaboration in the mission of the Church. A number of significant initiatives have been undertaken in this spirit: sharing our mission and spirituality with lay people and promoting Augustinian Secular Fraternities; special attention to youth through the sponsorship and organization of international youth gatherings; a working presence in the UN as a Non-Governmental Organization; collaboration and leadership in making available the complete works of Saint Augustine on the Internet and in various languages; publishing printed materials and producing audiovisual materials to promote a better knowledge of Augustine and his thought.

This attention to the mission of the Augustinian Order today has prompted other important initiatives. In the spirit of our roots as a mendicant order, there has been an effort to increase communication and international collaboration among the Provinces, and between them and the General Curia; a greater number of joint projects and activities are underway,

usually by means of National or International Federations; future planning is more frequently carried out collaboratively to enhance the quality of our ministry in the Church for the world of today. For instance, in Latin America the Order began a process of personal and community renewal in 1992, in order to improve our response to the needs of the continent. In addition, thanks to the planning and work done by a number of commissions, several international events have taken place in the Order, such as congresses, study weeks, meetings of lay people, formators, youth, vocation promoters and specialists in the Augustinian Order.

At the same time, the many branches of the verdant tree which is the Augustinian Family . recognizing Saint Augustine as their common Father, and sharing an intimate spiritual bond . have worked to strengthen their relationship to one another.

The Order continually strives to be attentive to the signs of the times. What is revealed are the most pressing needs arising from the often unique circumstances of the people in the regions we serve. After reading those signs, choices are made to shape and direct our apostolic and cultural presence. Accordingly, some communities promote scholarship, while others direct their energies to liturgy, new social initiatives or traditional activities, such as missions, education or parish ministry. In all cases, the friars work to integrate Gospel values in a particular social and cultural context.

Augustinian and Patristic studies have a special place in our schools and in publications disseminated by a number of Provinces. The prestigious Augustinian Patristic Institute of Rome deserves special mention, since it offers an extraordinary intellectual service to the Church in studies and research on the Fathers of the Church. At a different level, an Institute of Augustinian Spirituality was recently founded offering international and regional workshops. Other centers of higher education, such as Universities and Colleges . plus the presence of Augustinian friars in different universities . are an outstanding contribution of the Order to the Church for the evangelization of culture.

The Provinces of Nigeria and the Philippines (Santo Nino of Cebu) are the youngest in the Order. The Province of Colombia, and most recently Peru have regained ordinary governance as a result of an increase in the number of friars.

There are signs of hope in our work for new vocations in various regions of the Order; for example in almost all of Latin America. The same can be said for some areas in Africa and Asia, particularly India and the Philippines.

By contrast, other Provinces with a considerable historical tradition . located within markedly secularized societies . suffer a shortage of new members and a progressive aging. In a response to this reality, with the purpose of supporting community life and providing quality ministry for the Church��s mission, the Order promotes a reorganization of the current regions through the merging of some Provinces or the modification of their juridical status.

After joining the Church in the celebration of the Jubilee Year in 2000, the Prior General and his Council invited the entire Augustinian Family to celebrate three successive Jubilee Years: the anniversary of Saint Augustine��s birth in 2004; the combined anniversaries of the death of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine (700th anniversary) and the death of Saint Thomas

of Villanova (450th anniversary), both in 2005; and the 750th anniversary of the Grand Union, the Order��s foundation, in 2006. The events and initiatives surrounding these jubilees have provided valuable opportunities of Augustinian and ecclesial renewal for the entire Augustinian family and the wider Church community with whom we minister.

Sensitivity to social and cultural issues has grown in recent decades, increasing the initiatives in favor of those most in need. In that context, the General Chapter of 2001 decided to intensify our attention to Africa, where a number of Provinces have been engaged in effective ministry for years.

When we began this journey, we admitted that retelling history is seldom as simple as it may seem. Nonetheless, the images and commentary we have shared have allowed us to look out upon the vast historical landscape of the Augustinian Order and see how inspiration, dreams, disappointment and victories have been woven together. It is a history that is, indeed, stimulating; but one which also, leaves us with some unanswered questions. It is a certificate of achievement as well as a mirror reflecting our humanity.

Founded to proclaim the salvation that is ours in Jesus Christ, the Augustinian Order recognizes that its most valuable patrimony is people. These are, in the first place, its saintly and blessed members and the missionaries that proclaimed the Gospel in different cultural contexts; men and women in love with God, who were not embarrassed by that Gospel. Alongside them are the theologians, scientists, writers, artists, professors, pastoral ministers, tailors, carpenters. With them, too, are the sisters of contemplative life who may not have passports, but who understand what it means to travel across the landscape of the spirit. They have learned that the only way to reach God is when dressed in robes of silence. They are men and women who lived on the edge of heroism, and preached the Gospel with intelligence and authenticity, authentic evangelizers who shun routine and convention and offer the world a witness of community life and an unmistakable preference for the poor and humble.

We celebrate this history and pledge to carry it forward. We believe that the love of God reaches every woman and man across time, in the present and into the future. We are the bearers, witnesses and teachers of Augustinian spirituality. Augustine��s message has conquered time, penetrating the most intimate recesses of the human heart.

As at Pentecost, Mary . our Mother of Good Counsel, has walked alongside us throughout this many-faceted history. She reminds us that only the Spirit of God can make our life truly fruitful. When the action of the Spirit inspires and shapes our efforts and plans, history is transformed into a journey toward the Reign of God.