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Augustinian Order !FULL!


The Order of Saint Augustine, (Latin: Ordo Fratrum Sancti Augustini) abbreviated OSA, is a religious mendicant order of the Catholic Church. It was founded in 1244 by bringing together several eremitical groups in the Tuscany region who were following the Rule of Saint Augustine, written by Saint Augustine of Hippo in the fifth century.




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At the time of the Grand Union of 1256, some of the constituent congregations already had houses established north of the Alps. The Williamites had already expanded into Hungary. The Hermits of St. Augustine spread rapidly, partly because they did not radiate from a single parent monastery, and partly because, after conflicts in the previously existing congregations, the active life was finally adopted by the greater number of communities, following the example of the Friars Minor and the Dominicans. A few years after the reorganization of the Augustinian Order, Hermit monasteries sprang up in Germany, and Spain. Foundations were made in Mainz (1260), Zurich (1270), and Munich (1294). The first Augustinian houses in France were in the area of Provence. In 1274 the Fratres Saccati were dissolved and the Augustinians were given a number of their houses. By 1275 there were about a half dozen friaries stretching in a line along the southern coast. Eventually, France had four Augustinian provinces.[6] The presence of the Augustinian Order can be dated securely in Venetian Candia to the early fourteenth century when they rebuilt the convent of San Salvatore in Heraklion.[7] At the period of its greatest prosperity the order comprised 42 ecclesiastical provinces and 2 vicariates numbering 2000 monasteries and about 30,000 members.[3]


Alexander IV freed the order from the jurisdiction of the bishops; Pope Pius V placed the Augustinians among the mendicant orders and ranked them fourth after the Carmelites. Since the end of the 13th century the sacristan of the Papal Palace was always to be an Augustinian friar. This privilege was ratified by Pope Alexander VI and granted to the Order forever by a bull issued in 1497. The holder of the office was Rector of the Vatican parish (of which the chapel of St. Paul is the parish church). To his office also belonged the duty of preserving in his oratory a consecrated Host, which had to be renewed weekly and kept in readiness in case of the pope's illness, when it was the privilege of the papal sacristan to administer the last sacraments to the pope. The sacristan had always to accompany the pope when he traveled, and during a conclave it was he who celebrated Mass and administered the sacraments. As of 2009[update], Augustinian friars, still perform the duties of papal sacristans, but the appointment of an Augustinian as bishop-sacristan lapsed under Pope John Paul II with the retirement of Petrus Canisius Van Lierde in 1991. In papal Rome the Augustinian friars always filled one of the Chairs of the Sapienza University, and one of the consultorships in the Congregation of Rites.


The value set upon learning and science by the Augustinian friars is demonstrated by the care given to their missionary work, their libraries, and by the historic establishment of their own printing-press in their convent at Nuremberg (1479), as well as by the numerous learned individuals produced by the order.


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. Political events in these countries prevented the order from prospering and hindered the success of its undertakings. 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. In the Prefecture Apostolic of San León de Amazonas, in June, 1904, Bernardo Calle, the lay brother Miguel Vilajoli, and more than 70 Christians were murdered at a then recently erected mission station, Huabico, in Upper Maranon and the station itself was destroyed. The Augustinian Province of the Netherlands later also founded houses in Bolivia from 1930.


The order (from Mexico) arrived in Cuba in 1608. It was suppressed by force in 1842. From 1892 the province of the United States had care of St. Augustine's College at Havana, Cuba, where there were 5 priests and 3 lay brothers in 1900 before they were expelled in 1961 by the government of Fidel Castro.


In 1879 Spanish Augustinians[14] from Manila (Elias Suarez and Agostino Villanueva) entered China to re-establish an Augustinian mission. In 1900 the order possessed the mission of Northern Hu-nan, China. The mission comprised about 3000 baptized Christians and 3500 catechumens in a population of 11 million.


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. 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 the Dai. He died in 2003.


After an extensive period of expansion in India from the 15th century[16] 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 an autonomous indigenous Indian foundation.


However, the Augustinians were re-established by Andrés G. Niño, Spanish Augustinian, named coordinator of the project by the General Chapter of the Order in 1971 .... (cf., Estudio Agustiniano, 45 (2010) 279-303) ....... and the Indian Augustinians took on further responsibilities in Kerala in 2005.[17] The Indian delegation currently has 16 ordained friars and 8 in simple vows. The order is growing numerically in India.


Towards the close of the sixteenth century, Aleixo de Menezes, Count of Cantanheda (d. 1617), a member of the order, appointed Archbishop of Goa in 1595, and of Braga in 1612, Primate of the East Indies, and several times Viceroy of India, sent several Augustinians as missionaries to Iran (Persia) while he himself laboured for the reunion of the Thomas Christians, especially at the Synod of Diamper, in 1599, and for the conversion of the Muslims and the non-Christians of Malabar.


The Augustinian missions in the Philippines provided missionaries for the East since their first establishment. In 1602 some of them penetrated into Japan, where several were martyred during a period of Christian persecution. Among those martyred, Augustinians include: Ferdinand of Saint Joseph, Andrew Yoshida, and Peter Zuñiga.[18] Augustinian Ferdinand of Saint Joseph, along with Andrew Yoshida, a catechist who worked with him, were beheaded in 1617.[19] In 1653 others entered China, where, in 1701, the order had six missionary stations before their expulsion.


The Augustinian Delegation of Papua has operated since 1953. It presently contains five Dutch-born Augustinians and thirty-three Indonesian-born Augustinians. The order of friars and affiliated orders are growing in the Indonesian territories.


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 order of friars and affiliated orders are growing in Indonesia.


At the head is the prior general. Currently, the prior general is Alejandro Moral, who was elected in September 2013 and re-elected in 2019. The prior general is elected every six years by the general chapter. The prior general is aided by six assistants and a secretary, also elected by the general chapter. These form the Curia Generalitia. Each province is governed by a provincial, each commissariate by a commissary general, each of the two congregations by a vicar-general, and every monastery by a prior (only the Czech monastery of Alt-Brunn, in Moravia, is under an abbot) and every college by a rector. The members of the order are divided into priests and brothers. The Augustinians, like most religious orders, have a cardinal protector.


The chief house of the order remains the International College of St. Monica at Rome, Via S. Uffizio No. 1. It is also the residence of the general of the order (prior generalis) and of the curia generalis.


The order presently serves in parishes, at St Augustine's College (New South Wales) and Villanova College, Brisbane. They have a special ministry to the Aboriginal community, and work with migrants and refugees in Thailand. They are also training a few Vietnamese Augustinians to serve in their own country. They also sponsor Augustine Volunteers Australia (AVA). As of 2021 there were 7 Augustinian priories in Australia.[21]


The order established the first of their Canadian houses at Tracadie, Nova Scotia, in Canada in 1938. It was founded by German Augustinians who had previously emigrated to the US. Among other Canadian foundations, the order also established Marylake Shrine of Our Lady of Grace and St. Thomas of Villanova College in King City, Ontario, near Toronto.[26] The college was founded in 1999 in cooperation with the Order of Saint Augustine's friars of Toronto and Marylake Augustinian Monastery. Augustinians continue to serve at Sacred Heart Parish, Delta, British Columbia.[27] 041b061a72


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