Saint Augustine Giving his Rules to his Brothers and Sisters

Santa Maria delPopolo is where the Grand Union of the Order in 1256 took place under the Papal Bull Licet Ecclesiae Catholicae of Pope Alexander IV

The Friars at Prayer in the caves of Lecceto outside Siena

The Papal Bull "IncumbitNobis" issued by Pope Innocent IV to gather various Tuscan Hermits in 2144 into the one regular observance of the Rule of Saint Augustine

The Foundation in 1244

On December 16 of the year 1243, Pope Innocent IV issued the bull Incumbitnobis calling on several eremitical communities in Tuscany to unite themselves into a single religious order with the Rule and way of life of St. Augustine. The following March, 1244, the hermits held a founding chapter in Rome under the guidance of Cardinal Richard Annibaldi and put the union into effect. Thus began the history of the Order of St. Augustine.

The pope directed the Tuscan hermits to elect for themselves a prior general and to draw up a set of constitutions. From then on they became known as the Order Hermits of St. Augustine.

St. Augustine's Monasticism

The monastic tradition embraced by the Hermits in 1244 has its earliest traces soon after St. Augustine's conversion in Milan, when he and some friends returned to his native Tagaste, gave away their possessions, and began a life of prayer and study as "servants of God":

You, Lord, make men of one mind to dwell in one house... We kept together with the intention of dwelling together in our holy resolution. We made our investigations as to what place would be best suited for your service and together we were returning to Africa (Conf. IX, 8).

Ordained a priest in 391, Augustine obtained the use of a garden at Hippo to build a monastery for his lay community. He later wrote a Rule for his brothers, inspired by the Christian community in Jerusalem: Before all else, live together in harmony, being of one soul and one heart seeking God (I, 2).

When he became bishop of Hippo he chose to reside in his episcopal house but continued to live a community life with his clergy. Later a monastery of women was established within the city, bringing to light three forms of Augustinian religious life: masculine, both lay and clerical, and feminine.

Augustine's ideal spread to other parts of Africa. Several of the brothers were ordained bishops and brought their previous monasticism to other local churches. In fifth century Africa Augustinian inspired monasteries numbered approximately thirty-five. Between the years 430 and 570 this life-style was carried to Europe by monks and clergy fleeing the persecution of the Vandals. Around 440 Quodvultdeus of Carthage brought it to Italy near Naples. In 502 St. Fulgentius of Ruspe arrived in Sardinia. Donatus and seventy monks brought it to southern Spain about 570, and some monks may have even reached France.

The abundance of ancient manuscripts of the Rule of St. Augustine shows a constant interest in it during the middle ages. Nevertheless, it was overshadowed by other Rules for more than three centuries, particularly the Rule of St. Benedict. Augustine's Rule appears again in practice in eleventh century Europe as a basis for the reform of monasteries and cathedral chapters. It was adopted by the Canons Regular of the Abbey of St. Victor in Paris, the Premonstratensians and the Lateran Canons.

The Grand Union Of 1256

Further development took place on 9 April 1256 with the bull Licet Ecclesiae catholicae of Pope Alexander IV. The pope confirmed the integration of the Hermits of John the Good (Rule of St. Augustine, 1225), the Hermits of St. William (Rule of St. Benedict), the Hermits of Brettino (Rule of St. Augustine, 1228), the Hermits of Monte Favale (Rule of St. Benedict), and other smaller congregations with the Tuscan Hermits into "the one profession and regular observance of the Order of Hermits of St. Augustine".

The Grand Union was made at the Tuscan hermits' foundation of Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome, again under the direction of Cardinal Annibaldi, with delegates coming from each hermitage. Lanfranc Septala of Milan, previous superior of the Hermits of John the Good, became the Prior General of the Order comprising 180 religious houses in Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Low Countries, France, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Bohemia and England.

The Union of 1256 was an important step in the Church's reform of the religious life. By it the pope intended to end the confusion arising from the excessive number of small religious groups and to channel their spiritual forces into an apostolate of preaching and pastoral care in the rising cities of Europe. The Augustinians thus took their place as mendicant friars alongside the Dominicans, the Franciscans, and, were followed soon after by the Carmelites.

The Mendicant Movement of the thirteenth century was a revolutionary response to a revolutionary situation. The Church's unity was being threatened anew by heresy. Fresh challenges were evolving out of economic and intellectual changes in society. The friars were sent directly into the developing commercial centers to preach to the growing educated classes and to bring the spirituality of the Gospel to the people.

Thus the spiritual identity of the Order had two foundations. The first was the person of St. Augustine from whom it received its concept of religious life, in particular the importance of the interior search for God and community life. The second was the Mendicant Movement by which the Order of St. Augustine became an apostolic fraternity.

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COMMUNITY LIFE: The Augustinian community with the Holy Men under the Rule of Saint Augustine

INTERIORITY: The ecstatic Saint Augustine meditating on the heavenly realities

SERVICE TO THE CHURCH: The saintly Fray Sebastian Elorza serving the Poor in the convent of the Monastery of La Vid

The spirituality of the Order, whose principal features are presented here, proceeds from the following of Christ according to the teachings of the Gospel and the action of the Holy Spirit. Its principal point of reference is the teaching and example of Saint Augustine, complemented by the tradition of the Order. The principal document of our spirituality is the Rule, which must direct our lives and action. Augustinian spirituality, developed over time, and enriched by the example and teachings of our forebears, ought to be lived according to the circumstances of time, place, and culture and in harmony with our charism.

Evangelical and ecclesial aspects

The fundamental norm of religious life is the following of Christ, set out in the Gospel, that motivates us to live in love according to our particular consecration. So above all, we must have love for God and for our neighbor (Mt 22,40), as the supreme norm of the Gospel and the mandate of Jesus to his disciples, after the model of the early community of the Church in Jerusalem, established under the holy apostles (see Acts 2:42-47).

To love Christ means to love the Church which is his Body, mother of Christians and depository of the revealed truth. In the Church, “we have been made into Christ. If he is the Head, we are his members,” for “the whole Christ is the Head and the Body.” Let us be, therefore, witnesses of intimate union with God and a leaven of unity for the whole human race.

The Christian life will be renewed daily in us and will flourish in the Order if each of us will “assiduously read, devoutly listen to, and earnestly learn” the Sacred Scriptures, especially the New Testament, because “almost every page resounds of nothing but Christ and the Church.” Moreover, the friars should remember that prayer should accompany the reading of Scripture so that there may be a dialogue between God and man.

The Eucharist is the daily sacrifice of the Church, the Body of Christ, which offers itself to God in him. Therefore, all of us who have consecrated ourselves to Christ, who is loved above all things, should experience the same love for that great mystery that set the heart of Saint Augustine on fire. For the Eucharist is the sign and cause of the Church’s unity in the bond of love, and inspires apostolic activity and involvement in the world and in history.

We are all members of the Whole Christ together with Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary is the sign of the Church: “she gave corporal birth to the Head of this Body. The Church gave spiritual birth to the members of this Head. Because of her authentic faith, firm hope and sincere love Mary accompanies us while we journey in this life and sustains our apostolic activity.

The Search for God and Interiority

We tend towards God continually and insatiably, consciously and unconsciously, in order to enjoy the infinite good that fulfils our desire for happiness, because God has made us for himself and our hearts are restless until they rest in him.” For that reason, our common dedication is to seek without limits Him who should be loved without limits. But we cannot seek God together, except in Christ Jesus, the Word made flesh for us. He is for us the way, the truth and the life, such that starting from the visible flesh we arrive at the invisible God. For this reason, personal and community prayer, study and the cultivation of knowledge, reflection on the realities of our time and apostolic activity, are indispensable factors in our search, which lead us to the things which are the concerns of society. For nothing human is foreign to us, but rather involves us more in the world, the ambit of God's love (see Jn 3:16) and of encounter with him.

Communion of life

Love comes from God and unites us with God, and through this unifying process it transforms us, so that overcoming all divisions, we are made one, until finally God is all in all (see 1Cor 15,28). This communion of life which Augustine proposes to us in imitation of the primitive apostolic community (see Acts 2:42-47), is an anticipation of complete and definitive union in God and the way to achieve it. While it is true that this “holy sharing of life” among the brothers is a gift of God, still each one of us must make an intense effort at perfecting it until unity in love is achieved. This unity in love, composed of many souls, will continue to exist in the heavenly city, which "will be the perfection of our unity after life’s pilgrimage.” Our communities ought to strive on earth to be signs of this unity, keeping the example of the perfect community of the undivided Trinity before our eyes.

Service to the Church and Evangelization

Following the example of Saint Augustine, love for the Church brings us to a total availability for its needs, by accepting the tasks which the Church asks of us, according to the charism of the Order. Friars should remember that this availability for service to the Church constitutes one of the essential characteristics of Augustinian spirituality. In addition, when we are open to the world we feel ourselves in solidarity with the human family and involved in its concerns, especially through openness to the needs of the poor and the suffering, in the knowledge that the more we are united to Christ the more fruitful will our apostolate be.

Finally, in order that our Order may always go forward in keeping with its true spirituality, the friars should strive to offer "free service to God," not forced by necessity, but moved by love. Without seeking their own righteousness (see Rom 3:10-20; Gal 2:16) let them do all things for the glory of God, who works all things in all (see 1 Cor 12, 6). Let them live in the assurance that: "It is a grace of God that the brothers live in community; it is not the result of their own doing or their own merits; rather it is his gift." This is to fulfil the saying of the Rule that we should observe all our obligations in a spirit of charity "as lovers of spiritual beauty ... not as slaves living under the law but as men living in freedom under grace." We, who have been freely created and redeemed, freely called and justified, should render thanks to God and carry out our mission in peace and humility, rejoicing in hope and in the expectation of the crown of life (Rev 2:10), by which God, in rewarding our good deeds, will in fact be doing nothing more than crowning his own gifts.

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Augustinian Missionaries in the Philippines

Basilica delSto. Nino became the symbol not only for the devotion to the Sto Niño but it

Fray Andres de Urdaneta Friar and Navigator one of the first Augustinian Friars who arrived in the country for the evangelization in 1565

Fray Tadeo de PerusaThe Prior General of the Order during the Foundation of the First Province of the Order in the Philippines

Sto. Nino de Cebu The oldest Christian icon in the Philippines brought in 1521 and discovered in 1565 since then it has been under Augustinian custody

The First Augustinian Missionaries in the Philippines

The first group of Augustinians, originating from Spain and Mexico under the leadership ofthe Venerable Andres Urdaneta, arrived in the Philippines in 1565 as pioneers in the Church's task of evangelization in this part of the globe. Originally establishing themselves in Cebu, the "City of Sto. Nino" which is located in the heart of the country, these missionaries soon expanded their apostolic activities to the neighboring towns and islands and, a little later, to almost all the other principal regions of the archipelago.

To further nourish and kindle their missionary zeal and fervor, the Prior General then of the Order, Tadeo da Perusa, decreed on March 7, 1575, the creation of a new Augustinian Province in the Philippines under the title: Most Holy Name of Jesus of the Philippines (SantisimoNombre de Jesus de Filipinas).

Words will never suffice to describe the missionary endeavors undertaken, trials and difficulties encountered, joys and glory experienced by those great apostles of the gospel and our revered predecessors. To all these, no better testimony could be found than the almost three hundred towns and churches they founded, the conversions of many, the publications and other cultural enrichments they made from 1565 to 1898.

At the turn of the 20th century, however, for several reasons the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus of the Philippines decided to shift its missionary activities to newer territories, like China and South America. As a logical consequence of this move the seat of the Province was transferred from Manila to Madrid. The Augustinian presence then in the country was reduced to the minimum.

To fill this “Augustinian vacuum”, the remaining Augustinians intensified the recruitment and formation of Filipino candidates. And as the number of the latter increased and their preparedness adequately established, the idea of creating a new Province came to be seriously considered.

Towards the Creation of a New Province

The coming into existence of such a new Province dawned in 1974 when the Regional Assembly of the Philippine Augustinian Vicariate asked for the creation of a Vice-Province in the country. Though the plan fizzled out, it was again revived by a group of Filipino Augustinians at a meeting in the Basilica of Sto Nino on April 29, 1981. The plan this time was for the creation of the new Province. It was then believed that a new Province would not only inject additional life to the spirit of Filipino Augustinians because of the challenge and the great responsibility which such a move offers, but also a new Province would become a sign of the solid growth of the Augustinian spirit and ideals in the Philippine native soil and in the Filipino heart. The move to create a new Province, which would be called the Province of Sto. Nino de Cebu - Philippines, was officially endorsed by the Regional Assembly of the Augustinian Vicariate of the Philippines at the closing of its sessions on August 19, 1981, in the Monastery of San Agustin, lntramuros, Manila, and by the Provincial Chapter of the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus of the Philippines, held in Valladolid, Spain, on July 17, 1982. Such proposal was overwhelmingly approved by the members of the 174th General Chapter held in Rome on September 13, 1983, and the new Province was canonically erected on December 25, 1983. On January 15, 1984, the Feast of Sto. Nino de Cebu, the new Province was solemnly inaugurated with a solemn high mass presided by the Very Rev. Fr. Martin Nolan, OSA, Prior General of the Order, in the Basilica del Sto. Nino de Cebu. Others present were: Fr. Julian Centeno, OSA, Asst. General; Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, D.D., Archbishop of Cebu; friars of the old and new Provinces headed by their Prior Provincials, Fr. Pedro Rubio, OSA and Fr. Eusebio Berdon, OSA, respectively; the Asia Pacific Augustinian Conference (APAC) representatives; some Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation, headed by their Superior General, Mo. Leontina Castillo, OSA; other religious from different Religious institutes; civil authorities; and members of different Augustinian organizations.

Presence and Pastoral Involvement of Cebu Province

As agreed upon in a Memorandum of Agreement, the new Province took possession of the following houses: Basilica del Sto. Nino (Cebu), University of San Agustin (lloilo), Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod (Negros Occidental), San Jose Parish (lloilo), Guadalupe Monastery (Makati) and San Agustin Center of Studies (Quezon City, established in 1984); while Convento de San Agustin (Manila) and Colegio San Agustin (Makati) remained with the Mother Province.

The upsurge of enthusiasm among the members of the new Province very soon led to the establishing in 1985 of additional communities: the Sto. Niño Parish in Mohon, Talisay, Cebu and the Colegio San Agustin and Sto.Nino Parish in Biñan, Laguna. In 1987, the Province accepted the offer of the Bishop of San Pablo diocese to administer the Mother of Good Counsel (formerly St. Jerome Emiliani) Parish in Chrysanthemum Village, San Pedro, Laguna.

The new Province kept on growing. The Augustinian Novitiate and Prayer House Community was established in 1989 in Mohon, Talisay City, Cebu and the Pilgrim Center in 1992 in Cebu City, which houses the Provincialate Community.

Meanwhile, the Province accepted the joint mission which later became a collaboration with the Australian Province in South Korea (1993), a collaboration with the Dutch Province in Indonesia (1998) with the Villanova Province in South Africa (2002) and with the Vicariate of Japan (2003), and extended assistance in terms of personnel to the General Curia. A local mission was also accepted (ad experimentum in 2001 and definitively in 2004) in the island of Socorro, Surigao del Norte. A new quasi-parish of St. Lawrence the Deacon has been entrusted to the care of the Province in 2005 in Gubat, Sorsogon. And to further expand the Province’s presence in Mindanao, the University of San Agustin initiated its extension campus in Mati, Davao Oriental (2007).

Other events worthy to be noted are: the transfer of the seat of the Province from San Agustin Center of Studies (SACS) in Quezon City to Basilica del Sto. Nino ln Cebu City in 1990; the construction in 1990 of the Sto.Nino Pilgrim Center in Cebu City, and its approval by the General Curia in February 1992 as a religious residence for the Provincialate Community; the eventual transfer of the seat of the Province from the Basilica del Sto. Nino to the Pilgrim Center in August 1993; and the construction in 1995 of the College Seminary in the SACS compound in Quezon City. The latter, aside from being a residence of our college philosophy students, also houses the St. Thomas Villanova Institute (affiliated to the University of San Agustin), which offers a government-recognized philosophy course.

Additional buildings constructed worthy to be noted are the chapel of the University of San Agustin high school campus in Sambag, Jaro, lloilo (2000), to mark the celebration ofthe Jubilee Year, the Sto. Nino Friary in Mohon, Talisay City (2004), the new parish church under the patronage of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Socorro, Surigao del Norte (2004), and the Sto. Nino Spirituality Center in Consolacion, Cebu (2008), Eventually, new houses were canonically created, namely: Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish Community in Socorro, Surigao del Norte (September 11, 2006), Gubat Augustinian Community in Sorsogon (February 17, 2007), Sto. Nino Spirituality Center in Consolacion, Cebu (February 5, 2010) and San Agustin-Mati Community in Davao Oriental (December 13, 2010).

The Province continued expanding its pastoral involvement with the acceptance ad experimentum for two years of the Sub-Parish of Sta. Ana in Burgos, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte and the acquisition of the Retreat House in Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental which was renamed into Centro Sant’Agostino-Benedicto. Likewise, the Archdiocese of Cebu had authorized the presence of the Province in Kinatarcan Island. Sta. Fe, Cebu and for our friars to officiate sacraments at the Immaculate Conception Chapel, which is located in the Province’s property. Likewise, the Province opened its presence far north of Luzon in Saguday, Quirino through its administration of Saint Augustine of Hippo Quasi-Parish in 2012.

Very recent events areequally significant to notelike the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between the Province and the Diocese of Surigao on the administration of the Sta. Ana Sub-Parish by the Augustinian friars for 25 years in July 26, 2012. A year after, on July 26, 2013, Sta. Ana Sub-Parish was canonically elevated into a full parish status.On June 5, 2013, the community in Gubat, Sorsogon started the construction of St. Augustine Parish Church. While on June 17, 2013, Colegio San Agustin-Mati, in Mati City, Davao Oriental also opened its portals to nursery and kindergarten levels.On the one hand, the Colegio del Sto. Niño started to construct for an extension campus in San Fernando, Cebu in November 21, 2013.

Quelle:“Brief Historical Introduction” from Provincial Statutes and Approved Proposals (2012-2016) of the Province of Sto. Niño de Cebu, Order of Saint Augustine

Pioneer Augustinians to the Philippines Fray Andres de Urdaneta Fray Martin de Rada Fray Diego de Herrera Fray Andres de Aguirre Fray Pedro de Gamboa

San Agustin Church and Monastery in Intramuros Manila has been the headquarters of the Augustinian missionaries since its foundation in 1571

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The Augustinian Province of Sto. Niño de Cebu-Philippines, trusting in the divine guidance, hereby promulgates these Statutes, in accordance with the norms of the Constitutions (270, a), to help the brothers live their Augustinian and religious calling more fully and carry out their apostolic responsibility more effectively.

VISION. The Province, faithful to the charism handed down by the Spiritual Father and Founder of the Augustinian Order, Saint Augustine, and to its mendicant tradition, strives to live its VISION, which is “a community of brothers and friends, living harmoniously with one mind and one heart intent upon God and sharing goods in common for the service of the people of God.”

MISSION: In union with the whole Order of St. Augustine, it envisions to realize the aspiration and dream of the AUGUSTINIANS guided by the Province's MISSION, which is:

A) To incarnate the Augustinian way of life, characterized by interiority, fraternal communion, sharing of goods, simplicity of life, hard work and diligence, in established communities of the Province and other organizations entrusted to the care of its members;

B) To ensure the continuity of the Augustinian way of life through a well-coordinated vocation-promotion, recruitment and holistic formation and development program for every member in the various fields of human endeavor;

C) To cultivate the Augustinian Patrimony (e.g. life and works of St. Augustine, history and tradition of the Order, etc.) through its study and to promote the same among the members of the Province and the people we work with; and

D) To serve the people of God in the various apostolate of the Province (parishes, schools, formation houses and mission) in response to the needs of the Church and the Order from the standpoint of "preferential option for the poor" and towards the building of God's kingdom.

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