The government of the order is as follows: At the head is the prior general, 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 (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 lay brothers. The Augustinians, like most religious orders, have a cardinal protector. The choir and outdoor dress of the monks is of black woollen material, with long, wide sleeves, a black leather cincture and a long pointed capuche reaching to the cincture. The indoor dress consists of a black habit with capuche and cincture. 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 (prior to Vatican II) a black hat or biretta completed the habit.
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 comprised 42 ecclesiastical 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.)
This modern Latin Rite branch is active in society (ie. not enclosed) and it is counted comprehensively in the article below. It is headed by the international Prior-General in Rome, and while spiritually and historically connected is now canonically separate from the other Independent Augustinian Communities such as the Canons Regular, Discalced Augustinians, Augustinian nuns, Premontres, Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception, Augustinian Recollects and the Dominicans.
The modern order of friars (Under the Prior General in Rome) is associated with the United Nations as a Non-Governmental Organization and maintains a full-time representative to the United Nations. Worldwide there are nearly 2,800 Augustinian friars working in:
Around 1,500 women live in Augustinian enclosed convents in:
As of 2006 there were 148 active Augustinian priories in Europe, including Germany, Belgium, Poland, Ireland, England, Scotland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Malta, Spain and Spanish houses in the Philippines. This includes 1,031 friars in solemn vows, and 76 in simple vows. The order established the first of their Canadian houses at Tracadie, Nova Scotia in Canada in 1938. Among other Canadian foundations, the order also established a significant priory and St. Thomas of Villanova College in Toronto. The order, by 2006 has since professed many native Canadians.
As of 2006 there were more than 70 Augustinian priories in the United States and Canada with 386 friars in solemn vows and 16 in simple vows. In Central and South America, the Augustinians remain established in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela as well three Peruvian Vicariates of Iquitos, Apurimac and Chulucanas, and the Province of Peru. There are currently 814 friars in Latin America.
As of 2006, there were more than 30 other Augustinian priories in Nigeria, Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and Algeria, with over 85 friars in solemn vows, and more than 60 in simple vows. There are also Augustinians working in the Republic of Benin, Togo, Madagascar, Guinea and Burkina.
The Hermit friars in the Region of Korea was founded in 1985 by Australian, English and Scottish friars. Filipinos later replaced the UK friars. As of 2006 there are 5 Koreans professed in the order and 12 in formation..
As of 2006 there were 11 Augustinian Hermit priories in Australia with 36 friars in solemn vows, and one in simple vows. The order of friars is in numerical decline in Australia while affiliated orders are growing.
As of 2006 (and not counting Spanish Augustinian priories) there were more than 21 other Augustinian houses across the Philippines, India, Korea, Japan, and Indonesia, with more than 140 friars in solemn vows and more than 40 in simple vows.
The North American foundation of the order happened in 1796 when Irish friars founded Olde St. Augustine's Church in Philadelphia. Michael Hurley was the first American to join the Order the following year. Friars established schools, Universities and other works throughout the Americas, including Villanova University (1842) near Philadelphia (USA) and Merrimack College (1947, USA). While Malvern Preparatory School was founded in 1842 alongside the University, by 1909 two Augustinian houses and a school had been established in Chicago, 1922 in San Diego, by 1925 a school in Ojai and Los Angeles; 1926 a school in Oklahoma; in 1947 a college in Massachusetts; in 1953 a school in Pennsylvania; 1959 a school in New Jersey; in 1961 a school in Massachusetts; and in 1962 a school in Illinois . The Augustinian Recollects are also present in the U.S.A. as are the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception.
The Order's 20th century establishment in Canada was one result of both poverty and political trouble being experienced by German Augustinians. From 1925 and later during the Great Depression German Augustinians began arriving in North America to teach. After 1936, with the political situation in Nazi Germany worsening, more German Augustinians departed for North America. By 1939 from there were 46 German priests, 13 German religious brothers and 8 German candidates in North America. The order established the first of their Canadian houses at Tracadie, Nova Scotia in Canada in 1938. Among other Canadian foundations, the order also established a significant priory and school in Toronto. The order, by 2006 has since professed many native Canadians.
Sent by their Provincial St.Thomas of Villanova, the first group of Spanish/Castilian Augustinians arrived in Mexico in 1533 after the subjugation of Aztec Mexico by Hernan Cortez. 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 Matlaltzinkas of Mexico; Father Manuel Perez translated the Roman Catechism into Aztec in 1723. Monasteries sprang up in the principal places and became the centers of Christianity, art, and civilization. The Patio (Cloister) of the former monastery of St. Augustine, now the post office, at Queretaro, is one of the most beautiful examples of stone-carving in America. They soon formed multiple priories, including at Guanajuato (pictured) and were later instrumental in establishing the Pontifical and Royal University of Mexico. By 1562 there were nearly 300 Spanish Augustinians in Mexico, and they had established some 50 priories. Their history in Mexico was not to be an easy one, given the civil strife of events like the Cristero War, periodic anti-clericalism and suppression of the church that was to follow.
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, and their history there was eventful. 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. The Augustinian Province of Holland later also founded houses in Bolivia from 1930.
The Provincia Michoacanensis had about 55 members, while the Provincia Mexicana had 31, most of whom are priests. Augustinian missionaries extended their friaries to South America (Colombia, Venezuela, Peru). Political events in these countries prevented the order from prospering and hindered the success of its undertakings, so that during the 19th century the monasteries became deserted. Later events in the Philippine Islands, however, permitted the Augustinians to return to their former churches and monasteries and even to found new ones.
In the Republic of Colombia, 26 members of the Philippine province were employed in 1900, including 6 at the residence of Santa Fe de Bogota, 8 in the college at Facatativa, and 12 at other stations. In Peru 49 members of the same province were employed: 14 priests and 2 lay brothers belonging to the convent at Lima; 12 priests to the college in the same city; 6 in each of the two seminaries at Cuzco and Ayacucho. In the Prefecture Apostolic of San León de Amazonas, at the mission stations of Peba, Río Tigre, and Leticia in the territory of the Iquito Indians there were 9 priests in 1900. In June, 1904, Father 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 settlements in Brazil of the 19th century then belonged to the Philippine province. In the procuration house at S. Paulo (Rua Apeninos 6) and in the college at Brotas there were 4 Augustinians each; in the diocesan seminary at S. José de Manaos, 6; and in the other settlements, 27 priests--in all, 42 members of the order, including one lay brother. In Argentina, there were 25 priests and two lay brothers in the six colleges and schools of the order in 1900. In Ecuador, which formed a province by itself, there were 21 members of the order in 1900; being 9 priests and 7 lay brothers in the monastery at Quito; 3 priests in the convent at Latagun and 2 in that at Guayaquil. The province of Chile had 56 members in 1900, including 18 lay brothers; 11 at Santiago, 4 at La Serena, 5 at Concepción, 22 at Talca, 8 at San Fernando, 4 at Melipilla, and 2 in the residence at Picazo. The province of the United States of America increased in the end of the 19th century as the Augustinians were driven out of many European countries, and in 1848 sought refuge in the USA. The province numbered 200 members in 1900. The largest convent was then at Villanova, Pa.; it was also the novitiate for North America, and among the 117 religious then occupying the convent 21 were priests. The other convents contained 60 members by 1900, of whom 5 were lay brothers. 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.
Goold began his missionary work in Sydney under Archbishop John Bede Polding, becoming parish priest at Campbelltown. Goold went on in 1848 to become the founding bishop and first Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Melbourne. He also commenced the design and construction of its Neo-Gothic Cathedral. Despite's Goold's initial desire to establish immediately an Australian branch of the order, the first Australian Augustinian was not ordained until 1940, and the Australian Province was not formally established as separate from its Irish founding province until 1952.
The Irish Augustinians formally accepted responsibility in 1884 for the part of Queensland that became the Diocese of Cairns, and the first Australian priory was founded at Echuca, Victoria in 1886. Priories were established at Rochester in 1889 and Kyabram in 1903. The order worked at different times in the colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, taking part in some critical moments of the settlement and establishment of modern Australia. Charles O'Hea O.S.A. baptized Ned Kelly. Father Matthew Downing O.S.A. tried to calm the miners who were part of the Eureka Stockade in 1854. The order also supplied a number of the other early Australian bishops including Martin Crane O.S.A. and Stephen Reville O.S.A both in Sandhurst (Bendigo) John Heavey O.S.A. (Cairns), John Hutchinson O.S.A (Cooktown), and James Murray O.S.A (Cooktown).
The order presently conducts parishes, two schools (one established 1948 in Brisbane, the other established 1956 in Sydney), St John Stone House (a centre for Augustinian Spirituality), a formation centre, and special ministries such as palliative care, HIV/AIDS ministry, and Aboriginal ministry.
Associated orders such as the St John of God Brothers (arrived Australia 1947 and established mental health services) and the Filipino Augustinian Sisters of our Lady of Consolation also established an Australian house in the 1990s.
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, 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 about 1681, the Filipino Augustinian Alvaro de Benevente arrived in China and established the first of the Augustinian houses in China at Kan-chou. Benevente was made bishop and became head of the newly-created Vicariate of Kiang-si in 1699. The Augustinian missionaries had success in propagating Catholicism, but in 1708, during the Chinese Rites controversy they were forced to withdraw from China. Portuguese Augustinians also served in the colonial port of Macau from 1586 until 1712.
In 1879 Spanish Augustinians from Manila (Elias Suarez O.S.A. and Agostino Villanueva O.S.A) entered China to re-establish an Augustinian mission. By 1910 the Augustinian mission had 24 members of the Order, two were indigenous Chinese. 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. By that time there were 25 Chinese-born priests.
In 1891 there were only 219 Christians and 11 catechumens, as well as 29 schools, with 420 children and 750 orphans. In 1900 the order possessed the mission of Northern Hu-nan, China, where there were 24 members, 2 of whom were natives; 6 were in the district of Yo-chou; 6 in the district of Ch'ang-te; 9 in the district of Li-chu; three other religious were also labouring in other districts-all under the vicar Apostolic, then Mgr. Perez. The 1900 mission comprised about 3000 baptized Christians and 3500 catechumens in a population of 11 million. In 1900 there were also two priests at the mission house at Han-kou and two at the procuration house at Shang-hai (Yang-tsze-poo Road, 10).
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 Father Dai O.S.A.. He died in 2003.
The Augustinian have recently re-established friendly relations with Chinese educational organisations through school-placement programmes as well as through the University of the Incarnate Word Chinese campus founded by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word.
While there are Chinese Augustinian friars, there is not yet a priory in mainland China re-established.
In England and Ireland of the 14th century the Augustinian order had had over 800 friars, but these priories had declined (for other reasons) to around 300 friars before the anti-clerical laws of the Reformation Parliament and the Act of Supremacy. The friaries were dispersed from 1538 in the dissolution of monasteries during the English Reformation. The martyr St John Stone was one of the few British Augustinians to publicly defy the will of Henry VIII in this matter. The partial List of monasteries dissolved by Henry VIII of England alone includes 19 Augustinian houses. Clare Priory was one of the houses dissolved by King Henry VIII, but the Order managed to buy it back in 1953, with help from the family who then owned it.
Reforms were also introduced into the extra-German branches of the order, but a long time after Proles's reform and in connection with the Counter-Reformation of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Augustinian credentials of Martin Luther did not prevent anti-clerical attacks on the order during the Reformation, and neither did it enhance the order's political influence within the Catholic church during the Counter-Reformation.
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 Czech monastery of St. Thomas at Alt-Brunn in Moravia (d. 1884) who gave great credit to the Augustinian Order's scholarship in the 19th century. He was the discoverer of the Mendelian laws of heredity and hybridization.
In Ireland after the Reformation Parliament that began in 1529, the Augustinian houses in Leinster, Munster, Dublin, Dungarvan and Drogheda were soon suppressed. The houses in Ardnaree, Ballinrobe, Ballyhaunis, Banada and Murrisk managed to remain functioning until 1610. By decree in 1542 the English parliament had allowed the Augustinian community at Dunmore in County Galway, Ireland to continue. After 1610 the Dunmore community was the only surviving foundation, and in 1620 the Irish Province of the Augustinians was given pastoral charge of both England (where all houses had been forcibly closed) and Ireland. Irish Augustinian students were sent to the Continent to study, and the Irish Augustinians continued their work in Ireland under the harsh English Penal laws designed to protect the establishment of the Church of England. A number were executed - including William Tirry OSA (executed 1654 for saying mass). In 1656, in response to the persecution at home, Pope Alexander VII established the Irish Augustinians in Rome in the church and priory of San Matteo in Merulana. Many Augustinians though remained in Ireland. In 1751 Augustine Cheevers O.S.A, an Irish Augustinian, was made Bishop of Ardagh. Others left to work in America and after the 1830s to Australia. After the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829, the order began to re-organise more openly in Ireland. The Irish friars took the Order back to England, establishing a priory at Hoxton, London in 1864. They further turned their attention to Nigeria, Australia, America and missionary work. The contemporary Irish order conducts parishes, a school in Dungarvan (founded 1874), a school in New Ross and special ministries in Ireland.
Contemporary Ireland is undergoing rapid change, and this presents challenges to the order there. Many Irish emigrants (including Augustinian friars) are now returning. Over 40,000 immigrants each year are admitted to keep the Irish economy working, and many are coming from the new Eastern European members of the European Union. For example, there are now over 100,000 Poles in the country as well as asylum seekers from Africa and the Balkan countries. The formerly unified Celtic culture of Ireland is diversifying, and this means its predominantly Celtic Catholic ethos as well.
However, the Augustinians were re-established by Filipino friars in 1968 at Cochin, and the Indian Augustinians took on further responsibilities in Kerala in 2005. The Indian order currently has 16 ordained friars and 8 in simple vows. The order is growing numerically in India.
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 Indonesia.
The Augustinian missions in the Philippines provided missionaries for the East since their first establishment. In 1603 some of them penetrated into Japan, where several were martyred, and in 1653 others entered China, where, in 1701, the order had six missionary stations before their expulsion.
However, American Augustinian friars returned to Japan in 1954, symbolically establishing their first priory in 1959 at Nagasaki (also site of the second atomic bomb dropped on August 13th, 1945). They then established priories in Fukuoka (1959), Nagoya (1964), and Tokyo (1968). As of 2006, there are seven United States Augustinian friars and five Japanese Augustinian friars.
The order of friars is growing numerically in Korea.
The order of friars is growing in Asia.
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 on the Philippines. 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".
Arguably, the most energetic missionary activity of the Augustinian Order has been displayed in the Philippine Islands. When Magalhaes discovered the Philippines (16 March, 1521) and took possession of them in the name of the King of Spain, he was accompanied by the chaplain of the fleet, who preached the Gospel to the inhabitants, baptizing Kings Colambu and Siagu and 800 natives of Mindanao and Cebú, on Low Sunday, 7 April, 1521. The effect of these conversions however, were soon almost negated. Magalhaes was killed in a fight with natives on the little island of Mactan on 27 April and the Catholic foundation established by the first Spanish missionaries almost disappeared. The missionaries brought from Mexico in 1543 by Ruy López Villalobos were not more successful, for they were forced to return to Europe by way of Goa, having had little influence on the islanders. Under the Adelantado Legaspi who in 1565 established the sovereignty of Spain in the Philippines and selected Manila as the capital in 1571, Father Andrés de Urdaneta and 4 other Augustinians landed at Cebú in 1565, and at once began a very successful apostolate. The first houses of the Augustinians were established at Cebú, in 1565, and at Manila, in 1571.
Augustinians made researches in the languages of the Philippine Islands including Father Diego Bergano, and José Sequi (d. 1844)- a prominent missionary of the order who baptized 30,000 persons. Many wrote grammars and compiled dictionaries.
In 1575, under the leadership of Father Alfonso Gutierez, twenty-four Spanish Augustinians landed in the islands and, with the respective provincials Diego de Herrera and Martin de Rado, worked very successfully, at first as wandering preachers. The Franciscans first appeared in the Philippines in 1577 and were welcomed by the Augustinians. Soon they were joined by Dominicans and Jesuits. Sent by Philip III, the first Barefooted Augustinians landed in 1606. All these orders shared in the work and challenges of the missions. Protected by Spain, they prospered, and their missionary efforts became more and more successful. In 1773 the Jesuits, however, were obliged to give up their missions in consequence of the suppression of the Society.
Religious orders suffered persecution in the Philippines at the end of the 19th century, especially the Augustinians. In 1897 the Calced Augustinians, numbering 319 out of 644 religious then in the Philippine province, had charge of 225 parishes, with 2,377,743 souls; the Discalced (Recollects), numbering about 220, with 233 parishes and 1,175,156 souls; the Augustinians of the Philippine province numbered in all 522, counting those in the convents at Manila, Cavite, San Sebastian, and Cebú, those at the large model farm at Imus, and those in Spain at the colleges of Monteagudo, Marcilla, and San Millan de la Cogulla. Besides the numerous parishes served by the Calced Augustinians, they possessed several educational institutions: a superior and intermediate school at Vigan (Villa Fernandina) with 209 students, an orphanage and trade school at Tambohn near Manila, with 145 orphans, etc. Because of the disturbances, the schools and missions were deserted; six Augustinian priests were killed and about 200 imprisoned and some of them harshly treated. Those who escaped unmolested fled to the principal house at Manila, to Macao, to Han-kou, to South America, or to Mexico. Up to the beginning of 1900, 46 Calced and 120 Discalced Augustinians had been imprisoned. Upon their release, they returned to the few monasteries still left them in the islands or set out for Spain, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Argentina and China. The province of the United States sent some members to supply the vacancies in the Philippines. The monastery of St. Paul, at Manila, had 24 priests and 6 lay brothers back in 1900; that at Cebú, 5 members of the order, that at Iloilo, on the island of Panay, 11 priests and 2 lay brothers, while in the 10 residences there were 20 priests; so that in 1900 there were only 68 Calced Augustinians in the islands. In all, the "Provincia Ss. Nominis Jesu Insularum Philippinarum", including theological students and the comparatively small number of lay brothers, had 600 members in 1900: 359 being in Spain, 185 of whom were priests; 68 in the Philippines; 29 in China (before their latewr expulsion) ; 26 in Colombia; 49 in Peru; 42 in Brazil; 27 in Argentina.
The order in the 21st century still has responsibility for one of the oldest churches in the Philippines, the Basilica del Santo Niño de Cebu in Cebu. Before the Philippine Revolution of 1898 which accelerated the separation of church and state in the Philippines, the Augustinians conducted more than 400 hundred schools and churches there and had pastoral care for some 2,237,000 Filipinos, including 328 village missions. The Philippine Revolution of 1896 cost the order its heaviest losses in the entire nineteenth century, breaking the historic connection with, or destroying the majority of its established works there. This included the removal of friars from 194 parishes, the capture of 122 friars by Filipino revolutionaries and the deprivation of income from 240 friars. Many Spanish Augustinians were forced to leave the country for Spain or Latin America, repopulating the Augustinian houses in Spain and reinforcing Augustinian missionary work in South America.
In 1904 members of the order belonging to the Philippine province established the University of San Agustin in Iloilo City, Philippines. They have also since established schools such as the Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod in Negros Occidental (1962), the Colegio San Agustin, Makati (1969) and the Colegio San Agustin, Biñan in Biñan, Laguna (1985). In 1968 friars of the Philippine province re-established the Augustinian presence on the Indian subcontinent.
In 2004 the all-Filipino Augustinian Province of Cebu celebrated its twentieth year of existence. It has 85 members in final vows with 19 in simple profession. There are 12 priories including a mission on Socorro Island.
The order of friars is once again growing in the Philippines. The Augustinian Recollects are also present in the Philippines.
As of 2006 there were 177 Spanish Augustinian friars, with 23 in simple profession.
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 liturgical and archaeological researches, was the founder of the Angelica Library (Bibliotheca Angelica), called after him, which became 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) and 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.
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 Saints 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 San 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 self-sacrifice into their parishioners.
By the early 20th century, the Augustinians also established missions in Oceanica and Australia. Here the Spanish Discalced Augustinians took over the missions founded by Spanish and German Jesuits in the Ladrones, which now number 7 stations, with about 10,000 souls, on Guam and about 2500 on each of the German islands of Saipan, Rota and Tinian. The mission on the German islands was separated from the Diocese of Cebú on 1 October, 1906, and made a prefecture Apostolic on 18 June, 1907, with Saipan as its seat of administration, and the mission given in charge to the German Capuchins. In Australia the Calced Augustinians were established in the ecclesiastical Province of Melbourne and in the Vicariate Apostolic of Cooktown, Queensland, with twelve priests of the Irish province under Monsignor James D. Murray. Three monasteries, each with two priests, in other parts of Australia also belong to this province. The order has furnished some prominent bishops to Australia, e.g. James Alipius Gould. The Irish Augustinian college of St. Patrick at Rome, built in 1884 by Father Patrick Glynn, O.S.A., under a rector, is the training college for the Augustinian missions.
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. August. 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- 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. However, many Augustinians in Germany by their writings and their sermons opposed the Reformation, e.g. 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 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, was occupied by the Italian Ministry of Marine, and the Augustinian Fathers who serve the church retained 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. 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 were restored their old church of S. Pietro.