The Order of St. Augustine (the Augustinians) is an international apostolic fraternity of the Catholic Church.
Established as a religious order in 1254, the Order continues the tradition of St. Augustine (354-430) in his inspiration for Christian community life modeled after the first Christian communities described in the Acts of Apostles (Acts: 2,42-47; 4,32-37; 5,12-16).
St. Augustine encouraged and led these communities as a layman, priest, and bishop. In the thirteenth century this tradition of life took on the structural form of other mendicant orders founded at the time.
The signature set of core values of the Augustinians reflects those of Augustine’s personal spiritual experience, his challenges and expressions in ministry both in deed and word, and the tradition of his followers over the centuries. They express Augustine’s window on the Gospel, good news for all, expressed in community living, ministry and interior life.
These guiding and formative Gospel values are:
Unity (Unitas): The understanding that the dignity of the human condition brings us together and that this profound unity calls us to deep community, friendship, and response to the needs of the individual and support of the common good.
Love (Caritas): As we are loved so we are called to expressions of love. To serve the common good, to care for those in need (cf. Mt. 25) and to announce the Good News in practical deeds, the search for justice, and affirmation of human rights in the public square are all expressions of the truth of things and the imperatives of that understanding.
Truth (Veritas): The large truths of the meaning of life, human destiny, and a loving God. Truth writ large concerning creation and re-creation in Christ, the Truth that sets us free. It speaks to truths, as well - the truths of learning, beauty, and the sciences. We are guided by what has been expressed as two great wings, reason and faith, with which we ascend to Truth – knowledge that leads to wisdom.
Undergirding and source of the “energy” needed for the faithful expression of our values is the attitude and practices described by Augustine as Interiority.
Augustinians first came to the United States in 1796. Beginning with pastoral ministries on the Eastern seaboard, we enlarged our ministries into education and spread through the country and came to California in 1922. Augustinians in the Western U.S. serve in high schools, parishes, hospitals, and social ministries. They have served in Peru, Central America, and on special assignment throughout the United States.
New members of the province study and prepare for ministry in communities and schools in San Francisco, Chicago, and Rome.
The St. Augustine Foundation is another expression of the Order’s desire to serve the people of God, advance the Kingdom, and be leaven in our society.