Order of Saint Augustine

"Anima una et cor unum in Deum!" (Regula)

Thought of Saint Augustine
Do not despair, you who are blind. Come close to him, and you will be healed. You who are blind, come close to him and you will be illuminated.
Your prayer is a conversation with God. When you read, it is God who is speaking, when you pray, it is with God that you are speaking.
The absence of the Lord is not an absence. Just believe, and the one who you do not see is with you.

September 14, 2013

Following morning prayer and breakfast, the first order of business of the Chapter was the announcement of the results of the voting on the proposals. Each proposal number was read with the number of placet, non placet, and placet iuxta modum votes which correspond to that number. Two highlights of the results was the approval of a new Province in Brazil and also of the new Vicariate of Papua. There was a great feeling of joy and pride among the Friars at this sign of growth in our Order. There as a lot of hard work that went into reaching this stage and we congratulate all of the brothers who initiated these projects and continued to work at reaching this point.

The final message of the Chapter to the Friars of the Order was then presented by Michael DiGregorio, osa in the name of the redaction committee. After a period of questions and clarifications, there was a break in the session so that the redaction committee could review and edit the message considering all that was offered in plenary session.

At noon, we celebrated Mass in honor of the Feast of the Holy Cross in the community chapel of St. Monica College. Because of the anticipated close of the Chapter by the end of the afternoon session, we also celebrate this Mass as the Mass of Conclusion of the Chapter. Fr. Alejandro Morál presided at the Mass recalling the role of the Cross of Christ in response to our Christian calling. He called to mind the human suffering that is so present and real in our world and the need not merely to look a the crosses that people endure, but to gaze at them with the intent of entering into their suffering so as to lighten the crosses that afflict our sisters and brothers throughout the world. Following the Mass, was a delicious meal celebrating our Augustinian Fraternity, the birthday of the former Prior General, Bob Prevost, OSA and the conclusion of the Chapter. Words of gratitude were expressed to all who worked so hard at providing a smooth running of the Chapter. A special word of gratitude was expressed to all of the Friars and staff of St. Monica College and the Curia who served in so many various ways and helped us to enjoy and celebrate our fraternal life together. The chapter reconvened in the afternoon to give final approval to the Message of the Chapter to the Brother of the Order. This was followed by a final word of thanks by the Prior General to all who worked so hard to insure the smooth running of the Chapter. The secretariat, the liturgy committee, the translators, the coordinators of hospitality and transportation, the Augustinian Institute, the community at Collegio Santa Monica, etc.. were all thanked in a very special way for their willingness to share their gifts and for their generous sharing of their time and talents. The official reading of the Acts of the Chapter were read by the Secretary of the Chapter and then each Chapter member was called up one by one to sign the document. The final act of the Chapter was a blessing and prayer from the Augustinian Ritual. Thus the 2013 General Chapter of the Order of St. Augustine concluded. May God continue to bless the work and ministry that will occur as a result of these fraternal deliberations.

September 13, 2013

The work of the Chapter continued this morning with the formal blessing and acceptance of the Friars who were elected to serve as members of the General Council and General offices. This was followed by the final review and clarification of the remaining proposals. All of the proposals were then redacted, once more, and translated into Spanish, English and Italian. At noon, we were honored to have Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Institutes of Religious Life, to address us regarding his work and the relationship that our Order has with the Congregation he supervises. He encouraged us to remain faithful to our call as Augustinians and to treasure the gift we have in St. Augustine. His message was rooted in the Theology of St. Augustine and the Trinity and fundamental role which Love plays throughout his theology. His eminence challenged us to see ourselves as incarnate love. As men dedicated to God and to the service of our sisters and brothers we are called to be love to the world around us. After his address, we spent time discussing with him in question and answer dialogue some practical matters such as, vocational awareness and promotion, consecrated life, and the challenges of the world today. Cardinal Braz de Aviz then joined us for a lunch at St. Monica College. We reconvened in the afternoon for the distribution of the final draft of the proposals and then we were provided time to individually review each proposal and vote whether to accept, not accept or accept with modification. After ample time for individual reflection, each member of the Chapter was called forth to place his votes in the provided receptacle. The tellers then went to work counting the results for each of the 33 proposals.

September 12, 2013

Alejandro Morál, OSA addressed the assembled Chapter members and thanked Bob Prevost, OSA and all of the Assistant Generals and members of the Curia with whom he worked over the past years. He expressed his gratitude for their friendship and fraternal love they lived as they served the Order. As Prior General, he would like to have the scripture passage, “Be compassionate as your Father in heaven is compassionate” (Luke 6: 36) as the theme of these next six years. He stressed to need to recognize our place in the world as men who follow the Gospel of Christ and the rule and specifically mentioned the need for humility in our leadership roles remembering that that “greatest must become the least” (Luke 22:26) and that “those who have positions of authority should not deem themselves fortunate to have dominance over someone”(Rule of St. Augustine, 7). He then presented a 10 point plan of the province 1. Prayer and Spirituality as a priority in the religious dimension of our life; 2. Encourage common life in all of its dimensions; 3) Strengthen our vocational and pastoral approach to ministry; 4) Initial and Ongoing Formation; 5)Respond from the Gospel to the needs and challenges of the world today; 6) Revise some of the structures of the order by creating more opportunities for transparency; 7) Promote studies in the Order; 8) Continue to be attentive to the Contemplative sisters of our Augustinian Family; 9) Continue to support the Augustinian Lay movement especially the youth; 10) Reinforce our ways and structures of communication.

After presenting these points of emphasis, the Prior General presented his nominations for those Friars who will assist him over the next six years as his Council and to work in the Curia. A list of three names was presented for each of the roles of Assistant General. The following Friars were elected to serve the Order for the next six years: Vicar General and Assistant General for North America: Joseph Farrell, OSA (Villanova); Assistant General for Africa Edward Daleng (Nigeria); Assistant General for Latin America: Eduardo Patricio Villaba Suárez [Quito, Ecuador]; Assistant General for Asia/Pacific: Michael Anthony Banks [Australia]; Assistant General for Northern Europe: Franz Klein [Germany]; Assistant General for Southern Europe: Luis Marín de San Martin [Spain]. The following Friars were elected to serve in particular offices of the General Curia: Miguel Angel Juarez [Spain] Procurator General; Matthias Hecht [Germany] Treasurer General; John R. Flynn [Villanova] Secretary General.

After the elections, which took place in the morning and the beginning of the afternoon sessions, the chapter membership immediately continued the work in plenary session of reviewing and discussing each Chapter Proposal for clarification and consistency among the three language translations of the Proposals. The day ended with an enjoyable meal in the beautiful Gardens up the hill behind the Augustinianum. It was a clear night allowing for a beautiful view of the dome of St. Peter Basilica. The sounds of laughter and conversations filled the garden for the hours we spent up there sharing our fraternal life as an Augustinian community.

September 11, 2013

We continue to pray for peace in our world and for peaceful resolutions to all of those situations where there is conflict and war. On this anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, we also pray for the many victims of war, conflict, and terror. The work of the Chapter members today was dedicated to the delicate and difficult task of redacting the many reactions, recommendations and proposals which have surfaced these past weeks. The morning sessions were spent reviewing all of the proposals in plenary session. Those proposals already introduced into the Instrumentem Laboris and also the new proposals which have come from our discussions and reviews of the various documents were carefully reviewed. A smaller committee of four Friars then spent the afternoon compiling all of the information into succinct proposals, synthesizing the recommendations and proposals which treated similar or the same topic. At the end of the day, the plenary session gathered again to receive the proposals for review. After individual review there will be time to ask clarifying questions before bringing the proposals to a vote. As the smaller committee was working in the afternoon, Fr. Luis Marín, OSA, the Archivist for the Order, offered a tour of the Archives in the Curia.

September 10, 2013

Today’s feast began, as all of our days during chapter have begun, with Mass. The presider of the Mass was John Flynn, OSA from the St. Thomas of Villanova Province, who was celebrating his 50th anniversary of first Profession of vows. After Mass and Morning Prayer we met in the large auditorium of the Augustinianum to have a discussion about the proposal from three of the Vicariates in Brazil. There seems to be general support coming from the chapter members. Following their report, there was a second report from the fourth vicariate of Brazil with Bolivia.

Their request was that the chapter give them permission to move forward on joining together in six years. A long discussion followed regarding the reasons behind why this fourth vicariate was joining with Bolivia instead of joining the other three vicariates in Brazil. Because of a long history of common projects and ideological similarities between this vicariate and Bolivia the request was made to leave it as proposed. The Chapter members will have time to vote on this proposal in the next days. The second half of the morning was spent listening to the proposal from West Papua Indonesia and then the proposal from the three vicariates in Peru. The West Papua Indonesian region is requesting to be given the status of Vicariate. It has had a strong relationship with the Holland Province and that relationship will continue, but the status of Vicariate will recognize all of the hard work that has gone on in the past to promote growth among the native vocations. The projects and ministries that are going on in West Papua are truly amazing. The Peruvian Vicariates of Apurimac, Iquitos, and Chulucanas have requested that they be permitted to join together to become an independent province. The work that they have done to create common projects were presented to support their request. They will still work with the already established Peruvian Province but will be a separate Province in Peru. All of these proposals will be given more recognition as the Chapter moves forward.

Following a nice lunch in celebration of the Feast of St. Nicholas and all of the circumscriptions under his patronage and also celebrating all those celebrating anniversaries of profession, the afternoon sessions were dedicated to the formulation of new proposals based on the reading of the instrumentum laboris and flowing out from our discussions throughout these past two weeks. Each language group met to construct proposals that were concrete and executable. In the second half of the afternoon, work continued in language groups but this time reviewing the proposals already submitted and having a group discussion and evaluation of these proposals so as to present suggestions to the secretary of the Chapter. The Proposals were then all sent to the various Chapter members and steering committee who are taking responsibility for redaction and recording.

September 9, 2013

The chapter reconvened in the large auditorium this morning to continue the work of discussing and reviewing the chapter documents. We began by reporting to the plenary session the results of our discussions in language groups from Saturday morning. The topic of discussion was the supplement to the Ratio Institutionis. After discussing in language groups we gathered as a full assembly to offer suggestions, corrections, and support. There were differences about what exactly should be put in the new Ratio but there was general support that the new Formation Commission should work on this document as a priority. The supplement will be helpful for the moment but more work needs to be done on the entire document. The afternoon was dedicated to the Peace and Justice Document and also on the Directory Index of activity and various aspects of the Curia. The Peace and Justice Document was an abbreviated version of a much larger document into which much work and energy was placed. The abbreviated document highlighted the various aspects of the Secretariat for Peace and Justice and the work of the representative from each circumscription given the responsibility to promote the issues of Peace and Justice in our respective circumscriptions and as an Order. The Directory is more a useful guide to assist the Curia in executing congresses, meetings and forming commissions and committees. Each language group was able to meet and discuss these documents and then report back to the larger assembly. The last point of business for the day was a report by three of the vicariates in Brazil on the activity of these vicariates and the history behind their proposal to the General Chapter that they be granted the status as a new Province in Brazil. This proposal will be further discussed as the chapter proceeds.

September 7, 2013

The first point of business on Saturday morning was a proposal that was brought to the floor of the chapter to modify the procedure of the work done at this chapter. The proposal received enough written signatures to receive a vote in plenary session and there were enough supporting votes to approve that the procedure of the chapter be modified. The steering committee then met to discuss the proposal of removing the Instrumentum Laboris as a separate document and look at the proposals separately.

The steering committee then created a new procedure that was agreed upon to divide up into language groups to discuss the various sections of the Instrumentum Laboris (i.e. community life, vocations, etc…) and have one group look deeply at the content of the document and also come up with creative and concrete proposals to be introduced to the floor and to see how the proposals already submitted are part of the work of the chapter. The rest of the morning was spent in language groups working on each particular section. Saturday afternoon and Sunday were free days from the work of the chapter. In response to Pope Francis’s request at the Angelus last Sunday, there was a beautiful prayer vigil for peace which took place in Piazza San Pietro. The Chapter membership agreed on a statement that was prepared regarding our support for working on a more peaceful solution to the crisis building in Syria and this was distributed throughout the entire Order. The vigil began at 7:00PM with the recitation of the joyful mysteries of the Rosary and a procession of a painting of Mary that is dear to the Roman people. The vigil then continued with an address by Pope Francis, Eucharistic Adoration with song, prayer, scripture reading, silence, petitions and placement of incense in front of the altar. The Office of Readings and final benediction concluded the vigil at 11:00PM. There were close to 100,000 people gathered in and around St. Peter’s square and at times one could not but notice the silence of such a large gathering during the moments of silent reflection in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

September 6, 2013

The work of the Chapter today began with the declaration that all of the Constitutions were approved by a large number of votes. Each of the Constitutions passed as presented. The remainder of the morning and work of the afternoon was done in language groups beginning our review of the Instrumentum Laboris which is entitled “The Unity of the Order in Service to the Gospel.” The first session in our language groups was with regard to our Common Life, “Communion and Community”. During the reporting session of each language group to the plenary session, there were common themes that were arising regarding the importance of the relationship of the Friars within our local communities and within the circumscriptions and Order. There was also recognition of the need for the Priors of the local communities to be assisted with resources and guidance in how to effectively be the “first among equals” in the community. The afternoon session was dedicated to working on the second section of the Instrumentum entitled “Our Heritage”. It became clear that the treasure of our history and tradition is something which we need to preserve by strategically planning for how that treasure is passed on to our men in formation or continuing formation. The work of the Historical Commission and the institutes we have in our Order are the logical places where this can take place, there are other ways which can be explored and examined as ways of keeping our heritage meaningful. During the afternoon there was a suggestion from one of the language groups that the process of reviewing the Instrumentum Laboris be changed. They felt that reviewing both the Instrumentum Laboris and the Proposals at the same time was distracting and taking away from focusing on the Proposals submitted and the possibility of creating new proposals. There seemed to be agreement from the floor that a new proposal should be presented to the Chapter regarding a change in the procedure. This was then worked on in the evening to be presented to the plenary chapter at the beginning of the day on Saturday.

September 5, 2013

With the election of Alejandro Moral Antón, OSA as the new Prior General, he also took his place as the new president of the General Chapter on Thursday morning September 5. His first point of business was to thank Michael DiGregorio, OSA for his leadership as the president of the Chapter. Michael did an outstanding job leading us to this point in the chapter and we are grateful for the gifts that he brought to this special gathering. The chapter members then met in regional groups to discuss the reports that were submitted by each circumscription with the opportunity to then report on the discussion in the larger plenary session. There was then a question and answer period which followed the regional reports regarding any of the specific questions or concerns that were seen in the reports and an opportunity to clarify what was there. As the afternoon session began we were asked to review as individuals our Constitutions (#s 1 – 218, 312) for our vote. These were the constitutions articles that were worked on for the previous General Chapter and need to have the agreement of two General Chapters for final approval. The Constitutions were presented in Latin and we had some time to review them to make sure that they are what we want our Constitutions to say. The way of approving the Constitutions was to check one of three boxes after each article Placet, Non Placet, Placet Iuxta modum. If the number of Placet votes did not meet the required number to pass. The Placet Iuxta modum votes would then be counted and reviewed in order to see what would need to be modified so that it would pass. After reviewing them individually, we met in the large auditorium to present any concern or to ask clarifying questions. Then each Friar with active voice at the chapter was called up individually to submit his votes for the Constitutions. The day concluded with a group picture, dinner, and then the six tellers worked for a few hours on the tallying of the 83 Constitutions submitted.

September 4, 2013

The chapter continued today with the celebration of Mass in honor of Our Mother of Consolation. After breakfast, we gathered in the large auditorium of the Patristic Institute to prepare to cast our votes for Prior General. Michael DiGregorio, OSA, as president of the chapter reminded us of our opportunities for prayer since beginning this chapter last week and invited us into a period of reflection and prayer as he read to us some articles from our Constitutions regarding the role of the Prior General.

Immediately before the first ballots were cast, the secretary of the Chapter, Miguel Angel Martin Juárez, OSA reminded us of the need for a Friar to receive 3/5 of the total votes. Since we are 83 voting members of the chapter, if all 83 votes were valid, then the Friar who received 50 votes would have enough votes to be elected as the new Prior General. After the first ballot was counted, the top three candidates were 37 votes cast in favor of Alejandro Moral, 18 for Luciano De Michieli, and 17 for Anthony Banks. Five others received one or two votes and 4 ballots were left blank.

Since no one received the necessary 3/5 votes, we immediately proceeded to a second ballot and the results of that ballot were 45 votes for Alejandro Moral, 23 votes for Luciano De Michieli and 14 votes for Anthony Banks. The number of necessary votes for someone to be elected Prior General was still not reached, so we paused for a break and then reconvened for the third ballot of the morning. The results of that ballot provided us with a new Prior General, Alejandro Moral Antón, OSA who received 58 votes and when called forward and asked if he accepted our election of him as the next Prior General, responded affirmatively with humility.

The chapter members, at 12:00 noon, then convened in the community chapel of Santa Monica for the formal confirmation and installation of Alejandro Moral, OSA as the 97th Prior General of the Order of St. Augustine. We sang a Te Deum in response to the installation ceremony and then Alejandro addressed those who gathered in the Chapel and offered his words of thanks to God, to his brothers, and to Robert Prevost, OSA for asking him to be a part of the team of counselors who worked together these past years. Alejandro then reminded us of Augustine’s work as bishop as one who worked with his fellow Christians. Alejandro will serve the Order as one brother serving along with others. He will serve in his role as Prior, one among equals. After his reflection, the Augustinians present offered Alejandro a sign of support and congratulations with individual words of encouragement and fraternal embrace. The official work of the chapter for the day concluded with a celebratory lunch (Pranzone) and the rest of the day was free in order to prepare for the work of the chapter which will reconvene on Thursday morning.

September 3, 2013

This day was a dedicated to the delivery of reports from the various regions. Informative presentations were given regarding our Order’s presence at the United Nations. We also received information from the commissions such as our Spirituality Commission’s work in developing the institute of Spirituality and the many projects and conferences they were able to have over these years. The report from our brothers in Africa was impressive considering the rapid and continued growth of the numbers of our African men in formation. The expansion of the dream of our men who traveled to Africa as missionaries is a reality that continues to grow and animate the many countries in Africa where we serve. Continuing with the theme of expansion and mission, the report from the Asian Pacific region of our Order was just as impressive. Our ability to reach so many people in countries which over 50% of our world’s population call home is encouraging and provides our Order with an enthusiastic approach to mission and evangelization. The final report of the morning was from the Augustinian Patristic Institute and explained the cooperation which so many of our Friars are exhibiting with regard to the teaching, study, research and conferences which take place each year at the Patristicum.

The day continued with reports from the general curia regarding those houses, vicariates, friars and ministries which come directly under its leadership. There are over 40 men who serve in the Curia, the Order and the Church in various ways. Robert Prevost explained the joys and the challenges of having men serve in these various capacities and finding men who are willing and able to serve in such places. This report was followed by a special report regarding our presence in Cuba. The invitation we received to return to serve the Church in Cuba provides us with exciting possibilities. The rest of the afternoon was dedicated to reports from the general government. The General Postulator reminded us of the necessity to promote the saints and blessed of our rich tradition and also to continue to recognize and celebrate the holy lives which our men continue to live. God continues to call us to holiness and the men and women of the Augustinian family who live and serve in our own times are our living treasure of holiness and worthy of recognition as our new saints and blessed. The day concluded with a report regarding the financial status of our order and the many and varied elements that go in keeping our Order in a financially stable position. At the conclusion of the day the full assembly gathered for solemn evening prayer in the community chapel of St. Monica. There we began our celebration of the Solemnity of Our Mother of Consolation.

September 2, 2013

The chapter reconvened on Monday morning, September 2 and the first point of business was Robert Prevost, OSA addressing the chapter membership for a final time as Prior General. He thanked all of the Friars who assisted him during his 12 years as General and thanked the assembly for all that they did to recognize the work of the council who worked as a team. Robert shared with us that the work he did as Prior General he viewed as a service he provided for the Order. He hoped that he was able to render his service in a brotherly way and was grateful for the opportunity. He asked forgiveness of the membership and of God for those times he may have inadvertently hurt someone during his role of service. After Robert handed over the official Seal of the Order, the assembly gave him a sustained and enthusiastic standing ovation to thank him for his service.

The next point of business was an initial exploratio mentis of the voting members of the chapter to surface names of Friars who we believe should be considered as capable as serving as Prior General for the next six years. There were a total of 41 names of Friars representing all of the regions of the Order that were submitted during the exploration. There will be time now for the chapter members do discuss and discern the results of this exercise.

The rest of the day included a presentation and discussion by the Augustinians in Europe. The presentation included the demographic and age statistics of the Order in Europe and also some of the innovative projects of the Austin Forum in London and the house of hospitality which the Friars in Spain have established on the Camino di Santiago.

The last point of business for the day was a discussion in regional groups concerning the results of the exploratio mentis and then a plenary discussion reporting on the regional group meetings. We continue to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Our Mother of Good Counsel.

August 29, 2013

On Thursday morning, August 29, Fr. Michael DiGregorio, OSA, as president of the chapter and on behalf of the chapter members, thanked Robert Prevost, OSA for the preparations and coordination that resulted in having the Holy Father, Pope Francis preside at our opening Mass. Fr. Michael then offered for our reflection three themes and associated those themes with three people. The first theme was that of Gratitude, Reverence and Enthusiasm to which he associated the leadership of Theodore Tack, OSA as he served as Prior General. The day after Ted’s death in February 2013, the world was shocked to receive the news of Pope Benedict XVI and his decision to resign from his position as Bishop of Rome. This led Michael to the second theme, that of Courage. The third theme was described with the events surrounding the election of Cardinal Gorge Borgolio as the new Bishop of Rome, who took the name Francis. The world was introduced to a new Church leader who emphasized Simplicity and Humility as incomparable values by which to live. These three themes of Gratitude, Reverence, Enthusiasm/ Courage / Simplicity, Humility are links between the ideal and the real of religious life today.

On Thursday afternoon, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, sj the Superior General of the Society of Jesus spent time sharing with us his thoughts on the Challenges of Religious Life Today. He offered for our reflection, eight particular thoughts while reminding us that there are certainly others. Of those challenges, Fr. Adolfo emphasized the importance of recreating our way of life for contemporary society, recovering the Wisdom of our times and our tradition, and discovering a new theology of mission in our lives. After discussing his talk in language groups, the plenary session which followed consisted of a dialogue with Fr. Adolfo regarding those challenges which face us and various ways to meet those challenges.

Friday , August 30, was spent getting to know each other by randomly dividing up into small groups to listen to each other’s stories and also to share our hopes for this particular Chapter. Each group was then asked to present one hope that represented the time spent in discussion. The second half of the morning session was dedicated to reviewing and approving the process and calendar for the days ahead. In the afternoon we listened to presentations from the Latin American Region and the North American Region. After each informative presentation, we had time for questions and dialogue which assisted the assembly in coming to a clearer understanding of the real successes and challenges of these regions. The last session of the afternoon was spent in regional groups discussing the topic of the election of the next Prior General. This process was a helpful way to initiate the process of surfacing names and issues which will be important to discuss as we pray and prepare for the election of our next Prior General.

August 28, 2013

The 184th General Chapter of the Order of Saint Augustine appropriately began on the Solemnity of our Holy Father Augustine with Morning Prayer in the Community Chapel of St. Monica College. The first business meeting of the morning, held in the large auditorium of the Patristic Institute, oriented the chapter members to the details which help to make any large gathering run smoothly. The Prior General, Robert Prevost, OSA addressed the membership with reflections on the experiences which the German author Goethe had in Rome and also Augustine’s restless interior search which compelled him to go outside of himself in responding to the demands of the Church of the 5th Century. The Prior General then encouraged the chapter membership to view these days and weeks as an important part of our history as an Order and to feel “at home” in our house and during these important meetings. The morning session ended with an invitation to Mid-Day prayer and then a community lunch (pranzo) celebrating the feast day. We celebrated solemn evening prayer at the basilica of Saint Augustine which is the church where St. Monica’s mortal remains are venerated. We then were blessed with the opportunity to have his Holiness, Pope Francis join us in the celebration of the official opening of the chapter with Mass . Robert Prevost, OSA warmly greeted his holiness and thanked him for agreeing to honor us with his presence at this important time in our Church and for the Order. As he shared his reflections he recalled the enthusiasm of World Youth Day in Brazil and compared the enthusiasm of that encounter with our celebration today. The Mass was in honor of St. Augustine and during the homily Pope Francis drew the congregation into his reflections by asking many thought provoking questions regarding the restlessness of the human spirit. Pope Francis punctuated his remarks with three moments of restlessness as they related to the life of St. Augustine and as they, in turn, relate to all of us.

The first restlessness referred to Augustine’s restless search for spirituality. One of the questions the Holy Father asked of the chapter members was whether we had hearts that continue to search for something great or have we allowed our hearts to fall asleep or be anesthetized by the things of this world?

The second restlessness was related to that which accompanied Augustine’s encounter with God. This encounter compelled Augustine to be a pastor or shepherd who knew the scent of his sheep and went outside of himself to care for them in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is how he continued to meet God: it was in caring for the sheep of his flock. One of the questions posed to the congregation was to ask ourselves if we have become too “comfortable” with our lives or do we allow the word of God to carry us to go outside of ourselves and minister for the good of the other.

The third restlessness which the Holy Father shared with us, is the restlessness of Love. He used St. Monica as a prime example of a mother’s restless love and then encouraged everyone present to reflect on how love makes us restless. He shared the pain he feels in meeting those dedicated to the Church who have lost the restlessness of love and have become dry and no longer life giving. He asked each one of us to reflect on how our spiritual and pastoral lives are life giving and encouraged us as Augustinians who begin this General Chapter to be aware of our own restless spirituality, our restless encounter to announce the word of God, and our restless love for our brothers and sisters. After the Mass, we ended a wonderful evening with a delicious dinner (cena) in the refectory of the former Augustinian Curia attached to Saint Augustine Basilica. The masterpiece of the refectory is a huge fresco of the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000. Although the Chapter membership is just over 100, all of the meals we have shared so far have been miraculous in their own way. The miracle is not only in the outstanding food we have eaten, but also in the sharing of our lives that these days and weeks in our history will provide.


When Augustinians from throughout the world gather on Thursday, August 28th, the Solemnity of Saint Augustine, to celebrate the opening Eucharist of the Order's 184th General Chapter, they will do so in the presence of Pope Francis who will lead the celebration and preach. The Mass will be celebrated at the historic Basilica of Saint Augustine in Rome and will be televised live. The Mass, which can be viewed by accessing http://www.vatican.va/video/index.html, will air at 6:00 PM Rome time.

On Wednesday, August 28, 2013, the Solemnity of Saint Augustine, the Augustinian Order celebrates the opening of its 184th General Chapter in Rome, with Vespers and Mass in the Basilica of Saint Augustine in Campo Marzio. Ninety friars from various countries, who constitute the membership of the Chapter, will gather in the succeeding days and weeks to discuss the state of the Order, decide questions of special importance, formulate a program for the next six years, and elect a new Prior General and the members of his Council. We invite you to return to this page frequently during the next several weeks to follow the proceedings of the Chapter. Click here to view the Chapter membership.

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