Help Now >
Hermits of St. Augustine
FREE Catholic Classes
A religious order which in the thirteenth century combined several monastic societies into one, under this name. The order has done much to extend the influence of the Church, to propagate the Faith, and to advance learning.
As is well known, St. Augustine of Hippo , first with some friends and afterwards, as bishop, with his clergy, led a monastic community life. Vows were not obligatory, but the possession of private property was prohibited. Their manner of life led others to imitate them. Instructions for their guidance were found in several writings of St. Augustine, especially in "De opere monachorum" (P.L., XL, 527), mentioned in the ancient codices regularum of the eighth or ninth century as "The Rule of St. Augustine ". Epistola ccxi, otherwise cix (P.L., XXXIII, 958), contains the early "Augustinian Rule for Nuns "; epistolae ccclv and ccclvi (P.L., XXXIX, 1570) "De moribus clericorum". The instructions herein contained formed the basis of the rule which, in accordance with the decree of the Lateran Synod, in 1059, was adopted by canons desiring to practise a common apostolic life ( Holstenius, "Codex regularum", II, Rome, 1661, 120). Thence the title "Canons Regular of St. Augustine". Later, many monastic societies and brotherhoods, especially in Italy, adopted the Augustinian Rule, either voluntarily or by command of the pope, without, however, giving up certain peculiarities of life and dress introduced by the founder, or handed down by custom. These differences led to their being confounded with other orders (e.g., the Friars Minor ) and gave rise to quarrels. To remedy these evils and to ensure harmony and unity amongst the various religious congregations, Pope Alexander IV sought to unite them into one order. For this purpose he commanded that two delegates be sent to Rome from each of the hermit monasteries, to discuss, under the presidency of Cardinal Richard of Santi Angeli, the question of union. The first meeting of the delegates took place on the first of March, 1256, and resulted in a union. Lanfranc Septala of Milan, Prior of the Bonites, was appointed the first prior-general of the new order. A uniform black habit was adopted, and the staves formerly carried by the Bonites to distinguish them from Friars Minor were dispensed with. The Bull "Licet ecclesiae catholicae", issued on 4 May, 1256 (Bullarium Taurinense, 3rd ed., 635 sq.), ratified these proceedings and may be regaraded as the foundation-charter of the "Ordo Eremitarum S. Augustini"; and furthermore, the pope commanded that all hermit monasteries which had sent no delegates, should conform to the newly drawn up Constitutions.
EXTENSION OF THE ORDER
The Bull "Licet ecclesiae catholicae" mentions the hermit convents which had been invited to take part in the proceedings at Rome, in 1256, which led to the union. "Quaedam [domus] S. Guillelmi, quaedam S. Augustini ordinum, nonnullae autem fratris Joannis Boni, aliquae vero de Fabali, aliae vero de Britinis." - According to this statement, the original branches of the hermits were: (1) The Williamites, founded by St. William of Maleval shortly before his death in 1157. From this congregation sprang two others, the principal houses being at Stabulum Rodis, in the valley of Maleval, and at Fabali on Monte Fabali. The mode of life, originally very severe, was mitigated by Pope Gregory IX, under whom the majority of the Williamite monasteries adopted the Rule of St. Benedict. When these were required by the Bull "Licet ecclesiae catholicae" to join the new order, they raised objections and obtained a prohibition to exchange the Benedictine Rule for the milder one of the Augustinians. (See Guil. De Waha, "Explanatio vitae S. Guillelmi Magni" etc., 1693; "Acta Sanct. Boll.", Feb., II, 450 sqq.; "Kirchenlex.", 2nd ed., XII, 1609 sqq.) (2) Several unspecified houses of the Order of St. Augustine, established chiefly in Italy, and forming separate congregations. To these belong the Hermits of the Holy Trinity in Tuscany, who had already been united into an Augustinian congregation by Pope Innocent IV , in 1243, with Cardinal Richard for a protector, and with indulgences granted to those who visited their churches (in 1244). (3) The Bonites, so called from their founder, Blessed John Buoni, a member of the Buonuomini family, born about 1168 in Mantua. He lived a hermit's life at Cesena, and died in his native city in 1249 (Lodi, "Vita e miracoli del b. Giov. Buoni", Mantua, 1591; "Acta SS. Boll.", Oct., IX, 693 sq.). In the year 1256 the Bonites possessed eleven monasteries and gave the first general to the Augustinian Order (see above). (4) The Brittinians (Brictinians), so called from their oldest foundation, that of St. Blasius de Brittinis, near Fano, in the district of Ancona. Many congregations, such as the Brothers of Penance of Christ ( Saccati , or "Sack-bearers"), the foundations of Durandus of Huesca (Osca), and those of the "Catholic Poor", united with the Bonites.
The Hermits of St. Augustine spread rapidly, partly because they did not radiate from a single parent monastery, and partly because, after violent 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. To the Brittinians alone, in 1260, was granted permission to continue following the contemplative life. A few years after the reorganization of the Augustinian Order, Hermit monasteries sprang up in Germany, France, and Spain. Germany soon possessed forty, many of them large and important, such as those at Mainz, Würzburg, Worms, Nuremberg, Speyer, Strasburg, Ratisbon, all built between 1260 and 1270. As early as the year 1299, the German province was divided into four sub-provinces: the Rhenish-Swabian, the Cologne, the Bavarian, and the Saxon. At the period of its greates prosperity the order possessed 42 provinces and 2 vicariates numbering 2000 monasteries and about 30,000 members. (Cf. Aug. Lubin, "Orbis Augustinianus sive conventuum O. Erem. S. A. chorographica et topographica descriptio", Paris, 1659, 1671, 1672.)
PRESENT CONDITION OF THE ORDER
Since the sixteenth century the order, owing to many causes, particularly to the Reformation, lost numbers of monasteries. During the French Revolution the greater part of the 157 monasteries were destroyed, as well as all the monasteries of the Discalced Augustinian Hermits. The secularization of the religious houses in Germany, Austria, and Italy brought about great losses. In 1835, out of a total of 153 in Spain, 105 were suppressed. The Augustinian monasteries in Mexico were suppressed in 1860; in Russia, in 1864; in the Kingdom of Hanover, in 1875. The Philippine Islands, however, suffered the heaviest losses, during the disturbances of 1896. Hence the Augustinian Order of today has only a tenth of the monasteries which it possessed at the time of its greatest prosperity.
Without counting the Discalced Augustinians, the order comprises 19 provinces, 2 commissariates, 2 congregations, and 60 large monasteries (with 6 or more fathers), in all, including residences and mission stations, 275 foundations, with 2050 members (priests, clerical novices, and lay brothers ). These provinces, according to the "Catalogus Fratrum O. Erem. S. Augustini" (Rome, 1908) are:--
The convents of St. Thomas, at Alt Brünn, Moravia, and of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Philadelphia, U.S.A. are immediately subject to the general of the Augustinian Order.
The chief house of the order is 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 . Another monastery of the Augustinian Hermits in Rome is that of S. Augustinus de Urbe, established in 1483, near the church of St. Augustine, in which the remains of St. Monica , the mother if St. Augustine, were deposited when they were brought from Ostia in the year 1430. This, formerly the chief monastery of the order, is now occupied by the Italian Ministry of Marine, and the Augustinian Fathers who serve the church retain only a small portion of their former property. Another Augustinian convent in Rome is S. Maria de Populo de Urbe.
In 1331 Pope John XXII had appointed the Augustinian Hermits guardians of the tomb of St. Augustine in the Church of S. Pietro in Ciel d'Oro at Pavia. They were driven thence in 1700, and fled to Milan. Their monastery being destroyed in 1799, and the church desecrated, the remains of St. Augustine were taken back to Pavia and placed in its cathedral. In recent times the church of S. Pietro was restored, and on 7 October, 1900, the body of the saint was removed from the cathedral and replaced in San Pietro--an event commemorated in a poem by Pope Leo XIII . The Augustinians are again in possession of their old church of S. Pietro.
In the fourteenth century, owing to various causes, such as the mitigation of the rule, either by permission of the pope, or through a lessening of fervour, but chiefly in consequence of the Plague and the Great Western Schism, discipline became relaxed in the Augustinian monasteries ; hence reformers appeared who were anxious to restore it. These reformers were themselves Augustinians and instituted several reformed congregations, each having its own vicar-general ( vicarius-generalis ), but all under the control of the general of the order. The most important of these congregations of the "Regular Observants" were those of Illiceto, in the district of Siena, established in 1385, having 12, and subsequently 8, convents ; of St. John ad Carbonariam (founded c. 1390), having 14 convents, of which 4 still exist; of Perugia (1491), having 11; the Lombardic Congregation (1430), 56; the Congregation of the Spanish Observance (1430), which since 1505 has comprised all the Castilian monasteries ; of Monte Ortono near Padua (1436), having 6 convents ; of the Blessed Virgin at Genoa, also called Our Lady of Consolation (c. 1470), 25; of Apulia (c. 1490), 11; the German, or Saxon, Congregation (1493) (see next paragraph); the Congregation of Zampani in Calabria (1507), 40; the Dalmatian Congregation (1510), 6; the Congregation of the Colorites, or of Monte Colorito, Calabria (1600), 11; of Centorbio in Sicily (1590), 18 (at present 2, which form the Congregation of S. Maria de Nemore Siciliae); of the "Little Augustinians" of Bourges, France (c. 1593), 20; of the Spanish, Italian, and French congregations of Discalced, or Barefooted, Augustinians (see below), and the Congregation del Bosco in Sicily established in the year 1818 and having 3 convents.
Among these reformed congregations, besides those of the Barefooted Augustinians, the most important was the German (Saxon) Congregation. As in Italy, Spain, and France, reforms were begun as early as the fifteenth century in the four German provinces existing since 1299. Johannes Zachariae, an Augustinian monk of Eschwege, Provincial of the Order from 1419-1427, and professor of theology at the University of Erfurt, began a reform in 1492. Andreas Proles, prior of the Himmelpforten monastery, near Wernigerode, strove to introduce the reforms of Father Heinrich Zolter in as many Augustinian monasteries as possible. Proles, aided by Father Simon Lindner of Nuremberg and other zealous Augustinians, worked indefatigably till his death, in 1503, to reform the Saxon monasteries, even calling in the assistance of the secular ruler of the country. As the result of his efforts, the German, or Saxon, Reformed Congregation, recognized in 1493, comprised nearly all the important convents of the Augustinian Hermits in Germany. Johann von Staupitz his successor, as vicar of the congregation, followed in his footsteps. Staupitz had been prior at Tübingen, then at Munich, and had taken a prominent part in founding the University of Wittenberg in 1502, where he became a professor of theology and the first dean of that faculty. He continued to reform the order with the zeal of Proles, as well as in his spirit and with his methods. He collected the "Constitutiones fratrum eremitarum S. Aug. ad apostolicorum privilegiorum formam pro Reformatione Alemanniae", which were approved in a chapter held at Nuremberg in 1504. A printed copy of these is still to be seen in the university library of Jena. Supported by the general of the order, Aegidius of Viterbo, he obtained a papal brief (15 March, 1506), granting independence under their own vicar-general to the reformed German congregations and furthermore, 15 December, 1507, a papal Bull commanding the union of the Saxon province with the German Congregation of the Regular Observants. All the Augustinian convents of Northern Germany were, in accordance with this decree, to become parts of the regular observance. But when, in 1510, Staupitz commanded all the hermits of the Saxon province to accept the regular observance on pain of being punished as rebels, and to obey him as well as the general of the order, and, on 30 September, published the papal Bull at Wittenberg, seven convents refused to obey, among them that of Erfurt, of which Martin Luther was a member. In fact, Luther seems to have gone to Rome on this occasion as a representative of the rebellious monks.
In consequence of this appeal to Rome, the consolidation did not take place. Staupitz also continued to favour Luther even after this. They had become acquainted at Erfurt, during a visitation, and Staupitz was responsible for Luther's summons to Wittenberg in 1508; nay, even after 1517 he entertained friendly sentiments for Luther, looking upon his proceedings as being directed only against abuses. From 1519 on he gradually turned away from Luther. Staupitz resigned his office of vicar-general of the German congregations in 1520. Father Wenzel Link, preacher at Nuremberg, former professor and dean of the theological faculty at Wittenberg, who was elected his successor, cast his lot with Luther, whose views were endorsed at a chapter of the Saxon province held in January, 1522, at Wittenberg. In 1523 Link resigned his office, became a Lutheran preacher at Altenberg, where he introduced the Reformation and married, and went in 1528 as preacher to Nuremberg, where he died in 1547. The example of Luther and Link was followed by many Augustinians of the Saxon province, so that their convents were more and more deserted, and that of Erfurt ceased to exist in 1525. The German houses that remained faithful united with the Lombardic Congregation. There were, however, many Augustinians in Germany who by their writings and their sermons opposed the Reformation. Among them Bartholomäus Arnoldi of Usingen (d. 1532 at Würzburg ), for thirty years professor at Erfurt and one of Luther's teachers, Johannes Hoffmeister (d. 1547), Wolfgang Cappelmair (d. 1531), and Konrad Treger (d. 1542).
THE DISCALCED AUGUSTINIANS
(Sometimes called the Barefooted Augustinians, or Augustinian Recollects)
More fortunate than that of the German (Saxon) province was the reform of the order begun in Spain in the sixteenth century, which extended thense to Italy and France. The originator of this reform was Father Thomas of Andrada, afterwards called Thomas of Jesus. Born at Lisbon, in 1529, he entered the Augustinian Order in his fifteenth year. Although aided in his efforts at reform by the Cardinal Infante Henry of Portugal, and his teacher, Louis of Montoya, his plans were impeded at first by the hesitation of his brethren, then by his captivity among the Moors (1578), on the occasion of the crusade of the youthful King Sebastian of Portugal, and lastly by his death in prison which took place on 17 April, 1582. The celebrated poet and scholar Fray Luis Ponce de León (d. 1591), of the Augustinian monastery at Salamanca, took up the work of Thomas of Andrada. Appointed professor of theology at the University of Salamanca in 1561, he undertook the revision of the constitutions of his order and in 1588 Father Díaz, with the support of Philip II, established at Talavera the first monastery of the Spanish Regular Observance. In a short time many new monasteries of Discalced Augustinians sprang up in Spain and were followed by others in the Spanish colonies. In 1606 Philip III sent some Discalced Augustinians to the Philippine Islands where, as early as 1565, Fray Andrés de Urdaneta , the well-known navigator and cosmographer (cf. "La Ciudad de Dios", 1902; "Die katholischen Missionen", 1880, pp. 4 sqq.), had founded the first mission station on the island of Cebú. In a few years, many mission stations of the Discalced Augustinians sprang up in the principal places on the islands and developed a very successful missionary activity. In 1622 Pope Gregory XV permitted the erection of a separate congregation for the Discalced, with its own vicar-general. This congregation comprised four provinces: three in Spain and the Philippine province, to which was later added that of Peru. When the Discalced Augustinians in Spain were either put to death or obliged to flee, during the revolution of 1835, they continued to flourish in the Philippines and in South America.School or Church closed? - Here's FREE help!
In Italy, Father Andrés Díaz introduced the reformed congregations in 1592, the first house being that of Our Lady of the Olives, at Naples, which was soon followed by others at Rome and elsewhere. As early as 1624 Pope Urban VIII permitted the division of the Italian congregations of Barefooted Augustinians into four provinces (later, nine). In 1626 a house of this congregation was founded at Prague and another at Vienna, in 1631, of which the celebrated Abraham a Sancta Clara was a member in the eighteenth century. In France, Fathers François Amet and Matthew of St. Frances, of Villar-Benoit, completed the reform of the order in 1596. The French Congregation of Discalced Augustinians comprised three provinces, of which all the houses were destroyed during the French Revolution. As the only convent of Calced Augustinian Hermits, St. Monica, at Nantes, is at present untenanted, there is now not a single Augustinian convent in France. The Italian Congregation of Discalced Augustinians in Italy possess seven houses, six in Italy and one in Austria (Schlusselburg, with a parish in the Diocese of Budweiss ). The chief house of this congregation is that of St. Nicholas of Tolentino in Rome (Via del Corso 45). Including the scattered members of the Spanish congregation in the Philippine Islands and South America, the Discalced Augustinians still number about 600 members. They are independent of the Augustinian general and are divided into two congregations, under two vicars-general.
Organization of the Order
The Augustinian Hermits, while following the rule known as that of St. Augustine, are also subject to the Constitutions drawn up by Bl. Augustinus Novellus (d. 1309), prior general of the order from 1298 to 1300, and by Bl. Clement of Osimo. The Rule and Constitutions were approved at the general chapter held at Florence in 1287 and at Ratisbon in 1290. A revision was made at Rome in 1895. The Constitutions have frequently been printed: at Rome, in 1581, and, with the commentary of Girolamo Seripando, at Venice, in 1549, and at Rome, in 1553. The newly revised Constitutions were published at Rome in 1895, with additions in 1901 and 1907.
The government of the order is as follows: At the head is the prior general (at present, Tomás Rodríguez, a Spaniards ), elected every six years by the general chapter. The prior general is aided by four 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 (though the 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 lay brothers. The Augustinians, like most religious orders, have a cardinal protector (at present, Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro). The choir and outdoor dress of the monks is of black woollen material, with long, wide sleeves, a black leather girdle, and a long pointed cowl reaching to the girdle. The indoor dress consists of a black habit with scapular. In many monasteries white was formerly the colour of the house garment, also worn in public, in places where there were no Dominicans. Shoes and (out of doors) a black hat complete the costume.
The Discalced Augustinians have their own constitutions, differing from those of the other Augustinians. Their fasts are more rigid, and their other ascetic exercises stricter. They wear sandals, not shoes (and are therefore not strictly discalced ). They never sing a high Mass. As an apparent survival of the hermit life, the Discalced Augustinians practise strict silence and have in every province a house of recollection situated in some retired place, to which monks striving after greater perfection can retire in order to practise severe penance, living only on water, bread, fruits, olive oil, and wine.
PRIVILEGES OF THE ORDER
Privileges were granted to the order almost from its beginning. Alexander IV freed the order from the jurisdiction of the bishops ; Innocent VIII, in 1490, granted to the churches of the order indulgences such as can only be gained by making the Stations at Rome ; Pius V placed the Augustinians among the mendicant orders and ranked them next to the Carmelites. Since the end of the thirteenth century the sacristan of the papal palace has always been an Augustinian. This privilege was ratified by Pope Alexander VI and granted to the order forever by a Bull issued in 1497. The present holder of the office is Guglielmo Pifferi, titular Bishop of Porphyra, rector of the Vatican parish (of which the chapel of St. Paul is the parish church). To his office also belongs the duty of preserving in his oratory a consecrated Host which must be renewed weekly and kept in readiness in case of the pope's illness, when it is the privilege of the papal sacristan to administer the last sacraments to His Holiness. The sacristan must always accompany the pope when he travels, and during a conclave it is he who celebrates Mass and administers the sacraments. He lives in the Vatican with a sub-sacristan and three lay brothers of the order (cf. Rocca, "Chronhistoria de Apostolico Sacrario", Rome, 1605). The Augustinian Hermits always fill one of the chairs of the Sapienza University, and one of the consultorships in the Congregation of Rites.
The work of the Augustinians includes teaching, scientific study, the cure of souls, and missions. The history of education makes frequent mention of Augustinians who distinguished themselves particularly as professors of philosophy and theology at the great universities of Salamanca, Coimbra, Alcalá, Padua, Pisa, Naples, Oxford, Paris, Vienna, Prague, Würzburg, Erfurt, Heidelberg, Wittenberg, etc. Others taught successfully in the schools of the order. The order also controlled a number of secondary schools, colleges, etc. In 1685 the Bishop of Würzburg, Johann Gottfried II, of Guttenberg, confided to the care of the Augustinians the parish and the gymnasium of Munnerstadt in Lower Franconia (Bavaria), a charge which they still retain. Connected with the monastery of St. Michael in that place is a monastic school, while the seminary directed by the Augustinians forms another convent, that of St. Joseph. From 1698 to 1805 there existed an Augustinian gymnasium at Bedburg in the district of Cologne. The order also possesses altogether fifteen colleges, academies, and seminaries in Italy, Spain, and America. The chief institutions of this kind in Spain are that at Valladolid and that in the Escorial. As a pedagogical writer, we may mention the general of the order Aegidius of Colonna, also called Aegidius Romanus, who died Archbishop of Bourges in 1316. Aegidius was the preceptor of the French king, Philip IV, the Fair , at whose request he wrote the work "De regimine Principum". (An extract from this book "on the care of parents for the education of their children" will be found in the "Bibliothek der katholischen Padagogik", Freiburg, 1904.) Jacques Barthélemy de Buillon, a French Augustinian exiled by the Revolution, fled to Munich and began the education of deaf and dumb children. Aegidius of Colonna was a disciple of St. Thomas Aquinas, and founded the school of theology known as the Augustinian, which was divided into an earlier and a later. Among the representatives of the earlier Augustinian school (or Aegidians), we may mention besides Aegidius himself ( Doctor fundatissimus ) Thomas of Strasburg (d. 1357), and Gregory of Rimini (d. 1358), both generals of the order, and Augustine Gibbon, professor at Würzburg (d. 1676). The later Augustinian school of theology is represented by Cardinal Henry Noris (d. 1704), Fred. Nicholas Gavardi (d. 1715), Fulgentius Bellelli (d. 1742), Petrus Manso (d. after 1729), Joannes Laurentius Berti (d. 1766), and Michelangelo Marcelli (d. 1804). The following were notable theologians : James of Viterbo (Giacomo di Capoccio), Archbishop of Benevento and Naples (d. 1308), called Doctor speculativus ; Alexander a S. Elpideo (also called Fassitelli or A. de Marchina) (d. 1326), Bioshop of Melfi; Augustinus Triumphus (d. 1328); Bartholomew of Urbino (also called de Carusis) (d. 1350), Bishop of Urbino ; Henry of Friemar (d. 1354); Blessed Herman of Schildesche (Schildis, near Bielefeld) (d. 1357), called Doctor Germanus and Magnus legista ; Giacomo Caraccioli (d. 1357); Simon Baringuedus (d. after 1373); Johann Klenkok (Klenke) (d. 1374), author of the "Decadicon", an attack upon the "Sachsenspiegel"; Johannes Zachariae (d. 1428), known for his controversy with John Hus at the Council of Constance and for his "Oratio de necessitate reformationis"; Paulus (Nicolettus) de Venetiis (d. 1429); Giovanni Dati (d. 1471); Ambrose of Cora (Corianus, Coriolanus) (d. 1485), general of the order after 1476; Thomas Pencket (d. 1487); Aegidius of Viterbo (d. 1532); Cosmas Damian Hortulanus (Hortola) (d. 1568); Caspar Casal (d. 1587), Bishop of Coimbra ; Pedro Aragon (d. 1595); Giovanni Battista Arrighi (d. 1607); Gregorio Nuñez Coronel (d. 1620); Aegidius a Praesentatione Fonseca (d. 1626); Luigi Alberti (d. 1628); Basilius Pontius (d. 1629); Ludovicus Angelicus Aprosius (d. 1681); Nikolaus Gircken (d. 1717). Giovanni Michele Cavalieri (d. 1757) was a rubricist of note. Father Angelo Rocca , papal sacristan and titular Bishop of Tagaste (d. 1620), known for his luturgical and archaeological researches, was the founder of the Angelica Library (Bibliotheca Angelica), which was called after him and is now the public library of the Augustinians in Rome.
Many Augustinians have written ascetic works and sermons. In the department of historical research the following are worthy of mention: Onofrio Panvini (d. 1568); Joachim Brulius (d. after 1652), who wrote a history of the colonization and Christianizing of Peru (Antwerp, 1615), also a history of China ; Enrique Florez (d. 1773), called "the first historian of Spain ", author of "Espana Sagrada"; and, lastly, Manuel Risco (d. 1801), author of a history of printing in Spain.
To the missionaries of the order we owe many valuable contributions in linguistics. Father Melchor de Vargas composed, in 1576, a cathechism in the Mexican Otomi language; Father Diego Basalenque (d. 1651) and Miguel de Guevara compiled works in the languages of the savage Matlaltzinkas of Mexico; Father Manuel Perez translated the Roman Cathechism into Aztec in 1723. Others have made researches in the languages of the Philippine Islands , such as Father Diego Bergano and, in more recent times, José Sequi (d. 1844), a prominent missionary of the order, who baptized 30,000 persons. Many wrote grammars and compiled dictionaries. Father Herrera wrote a poetical life of Jesus in the Tagalog language in 1639. Fathers Martin de Hereda and Hieronymus penetrated into the interior of China in 1577, to study Chinese literature with the intention of bringing it into Europe. Father Antonius Aug. Georgius (d. 1797) composed the "Alphabetum Tibetanum" for the use of missionaries. Father Agostino Ciasca (d. 1902), titular Archbishop of Larissa and cardinal, a prominent member of the order in recent times, established a special faculty for Oriental languages at the Roman Seminary, published an Arabic translation of Tatian's "Diatessaron" and wrote "Bibliorum Fragmenta Copto-Sahidica". Father Dionysius of Borgo San Sepolcro (d. 1342), Bishop of Monopoli in Lower Italy, is the author of a commentary on the "Factorum et dictorum memorabilium libri IX" of Valerius Maximus, and was also much esteemed for his talents as poet, philosopher, and orator. The missionaries of the order have also given us valuable descriptive works on foreign countries and peoples. In this class of writing Cipriano Navarro's important work on "The Inhabitants of the Philippines " and a monumental work in six volumes entitled "La Flora de Filipinas" (Madrid, 1877--), are valuable contributions to literature and learning. Manuel Blanco, Ignacio Mercado, Antonio Llanos, Andrés Naves, and Celestino Fernandez are also worthy of mention. Fathers Angelo Perez and Cecilio Guemes published in 1905 a work in four volumes entitled "La Imprenta de Manila ".
A number of mathematicians, astronomers, and musicians are also found among the members of the order, but it was the great scientist Johann Gregor Mendel, abbot of the monastery of St. Thomas at Alt-Brunn in Moravia (d. 1884) who shed glory on the Augustinian Order in recent times. He was the discoverer of the Mendelian laws of heredity and hybridization ( see under EVOLUTION ; and GREGOR MENDEL ). The value set upon learning and science by the Augustinian monks is proved by the care given to their libraries and by the establishment of their own printing-press in their convent at Nuremberg, in 1479, as well as by the numerous learned men produced by the order and still contributing valuable additions to knowledge. Father Tomás Cámaro y Castro (d. 1904), Bishop of Salamanca, founded a scientific periodical, "La Ciudad de Dios", formerly entitled "Revista Agustiniana", and published by the Augustinians at Madrid since 1881. In Spain the order possesses besides several meteorological stations, the observatory of the Escorial. Among the Augustinian writers of the present time should be mentioned: Zacarías Martínez Nuñez, a celebrated Spanish orator and master of natural science ; Honorato del Val, author of a great work on dogma ; Aurelio Palmieri, one of the best authorities on the Russian language, literature, and church history.
The Augustinian Order has devoted itself from its beginning, with great zeal to the cure of souls. Only those engaged in teaching and inmates of the houses of recollection, among the Discalced, are exempt from the obligation to this duty, to follow which the order, though retaining its name Hermits , exchanged the contemplative life for the active. Seeing the good done by the Friars Minor and the Dominicans, they wished to share in the harvest, undertaking to preach and instruct the people. Augustinians became the confessors and advisers of popes, princes, and rulers. Many became bishops, several cardinals, exercising these offices for the good of the Church and the honour of their order. At present the order has a cardinal, Sebastiano Martinelli (formerly Apostolic delegate for the United States ), several bishops --Guglielmo Pifferi (see above); Stephen Reville, Bishop of Sandhurst in Australia ; Arsenio Campo y Monasterio, Bishop of Nueva Cáceres in the Philippine Islands ; Giovanni Camilleri, Bishop of Gozzo ; José López de Mendoza y Garcia, Bishop of Pampeluna, Spain ; Giuseppe Capecci, Bishop of Alessandria in Italy ; Francisco Xavier Valdés y Noriega, Bishop of Salamanca; William A. Jones, Bishop of Porto Rico ; the Vicars Luis Perez of Northern Hu-nan (China) and Dominic Murray, Cooktown, Australia ; the Prefect Apostolic (Paulino Díaz Alonso) of San León de Amazonas--and, finally, two mitred abbots.
The order has produced many saints, for example, Sts. Nicholas of Tolentino (d. 1305), John of Sahagún (a Sancto Facundo) (d. 1479), and Thomas of Villanova (d. 1555). Stefano Bellesini (d. 1840), the Augustinian parish priest of Genazzano, in the Roman province, was beatified by Pius X, 27 December, 1904. The process for the beatification of seven Augustinians, among them the papal sacristan Bartolommeo Menochio (d. 1827), is under consideration.
As to the devotional practices specially connected with the Augustinian Order, and which it has striven to propagate, we may mention the veneration of the Blessed Virgin under the title of "Mother of Good Counsel", whose miraculous picture is to be seen in the Augustinian church at Genazzano in the Roman province. This devotion has spread to other churches and countries, and confraternities have been formed to cultivate it. Several periodicals dedicated to the honour of Our Lady of Good Counsel are published in Italy, Spain, and Germany by the Augustinians (cf. Meschler on the history of the miraculous picture of Genazzano in "Stimmen aus Maria-Laach", LXVII, 482 sqq.). Besides this devotion the order fosters the Archconfraternity of Our Lady of Consolation, a so-called girdle confraternity, the members of which wear a blessed girdle of black leather in honour of Sts. Augustine, Monica, and Nicholas of Tolentino, recite daily thirteen Our Fathers and Hail Marys and the Salve Regina, fast strictly on the eve of the feast of St. Augustine, and receive Holy Communion on the feasts of the three above-named saints. This confraternity was founded by Pope Eugene IV at S. Giacomo, Bologna, in 1439, made an archconfraternity by Gregory XIII, in 1575, aggregated to the Augustinian Order, and favoured with indulgences. The Augustinians, with the approbation of Pope Leo XIII, also encourage the devotion of the Scapular of Our Lady of Good Counsel and the propagation of the Third Order of St. Augustine for the laity, as well as the veneration of St. Augustine and his mother St. Monica, in order to instil the Augustinian spirit of prayer and
Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.