The webpage of the Youth Ministry of the Irish Province of Augustinians

Saints and Blesseds




Saint Fulgentius


3rd of January

Fulgentius (462-527) was a follower of St. Augustine's ideal of community life, a student of St. Augustine's theological teachings and a Bishop in the African Church.

Born in Thelpte (now called Medinet-el-Kedima), Tunisia, in 462, Fulgentius served as a young man in the government of the Vandals in northern Africa. He was named Procurator, which gave him the duty of collecting taxes.

After reading Augustine's Exposition of Psalm 36, and feeling a call to enter religious life, he initially planned in 499 to join a group of hermits in Egypt. He changed his mind, though, when he learned that Egyptian monasticism had fallen under the influence of theological errors.

Fulgentius was elected Bishop of Ruspe in 502. As a Bishop, he followed Augustine's example in living in community with the clergy of his Diocese. He founded several other monasteries in Africa. When he was exiled to Sardinia, not wanting to be away from the monastic community life, he even founded monasteries there.

Because of his devotion to the Augustinian ideal of community life and his knowledge of Augustine's writings, especially on the topic of Grace, Fulgentius was known as the Pocket Augustine.

Fulgentius died in Ruspe January 1, 527.



Blessed Christine of the Holy Cross


4th of January

Christine of the Holy Cross (1237?-1310) is esteemed as one of the founders of the female monastic branch of the Augustinian family. She was notable for her humility, charity, purity of life and spirit of contemplation.

Oringa Menabuoi was born around the year 1237 in Santa Croce (Holy Cross) sull'Arno, Lucca, Italy. Raised in a farming family, she was as a child frequently alone in the fields watching over the herd of cows and oxen. At these times, she would give herself over to prayer.

Her family wanted her to marry, but she wanted to consecrate herself to God as a nun. So she left her family home, going to Lucca, where she did domestic work.

She made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Michael the Archangel in 1265 and then went to live in Rome. There she started using the name Christine. While making a pilgrimage to Assisi, she was inspired to start a religious house in her home town of Santa Croce.

In 1279 Christine did establish a hermitage there. Initially this hermitage was affiliated with the Franciscans, but in 1294 it became a monastery following the Rule of Saint Augustine.

She died January 4, 1310.



Blessed Hugh of Gualdo Cattaneo


8th of January

Hugh of Gualdo Cattaneo (died 1260) was a hermit known for his life of prayer and penance.

For a long time he lived in the Hermitage of Saint John near Bevagna.

Shortly after the Augustinian Grand Union of 1256, in which several diverse religious communities became part of the Order of Saint Augustine, people of the town of Gualdo wanted to have this holy man living in their midst.

The Benedictines owned a long-abandoned monastery there. The townspeople of Gualdo persuaded the Benedictines to donate this abandoned monastery to the town. The town, in turn, placed the monastery under the auspices of the Augustinians and in 1258 brought Hugh and his community of hermits to live there.

Hugh was selected as the first Prior (local superior) of the new Augustinian community. Hugh died January 1, 1260. He was first buried at the little Church of Saint Augustine, which was attached to the monastery. Later his remains were moved to the larger Church of Saints Anthony and Antoninus, where they could be better protected from a group of people from Bevagna, the site of Hugh's earlier hermitage, who wanted to dig up his body and carry it back to their town.



Blessed Veronica of Binasco


13th of January

Veronica of Binasco (1445-1497) was known as a great contemplative who also gave loving care to sick sisters in her community and ministered to the people of Milan. She had the gifts of prophecy and discernment.

Although she never learned to read and write, she was known and respected by the secular and ecclesiastical leaders of her day. Several times Christ gave to her in prayer important messages which she carried to influential persons such as the Duke of Milan and Pope Alexander VI.

Born Giovanna Negroni in Binasco, Milan, Italy in 1445, she was raised in a peasant family. When she was 22 years old, she joined the monastery of Saint Martha in Milan. She took the religious name Veronica, reflecting her devotion to the Passion of Christ.Her spiritual life was intense. She was particularly devoted to the Eucharist and to the Suffering and Death of Jesus. She experienced physical mistreatment from the devil, but found strength in prayer, remaining at peace and overcoming difficulties through the power of Christ. She cheerfully helped others when help was needed. In spite of her growing reputation for holiness and wisdom, Veronica remained humble.

Veronica died January 13, 1497. So numerous were her admirers who came to pay their respects, her burial was delayed for nearly a week. It is said that many sick persons who touched her body were restored to health. Her remains are preserved at the parish church in Binasco.



Blessed Christine of l'Aquila


18th of January

Christine of l'Aquila (1480-1543) was a spiritual reformer who guided the nuns of her Augustinian monastery to a faithful pursuit of the ideals of Christian religious life, contrary to the loose spirit of the times that prevailed in all too many other monasteries.

Born Mattia Ciccarelli at Colle de Lucoli, l'Aquila, Italy in 1480, she learned prayer from her family.

She entered the Augustinian monastery of Saint Lucy in l'Aquila in 1505, taking the religious name Christine. Elected Abbess several times, she led her community by word and example. Under her guidance the monastery of Saint Lucy was faithful to the Augustinian ideals of common life.

Christine had a particular devotion to the Eucharist and to the Passion and Death of Christ.

She died January 18, 1543. She was originally buried at the Saint Lucy monastery. When this monastery was suppressed in 1908, her body was moved to another Augustinian monastery in l'Aquila, that of Sant'Amico.



Blessed Josephine Mary of Beniganim


23rd of January

Joephine Mary of Beniganim (1625-1692) was an Augustinian Sister noted for her deep spirit of prayer and for her service to her community.

She was born January 9, 1625 in Benaganim, Valencia, Spain. She was baptized Josephine Teresa. Her family was poor, and became poorer when her father died while she was still a child.

Josephine entered the local Augustinian convent, where she took the religious name Sister Josephine Mary of Saint Agnes. The other sisters usually called her Mother Agnes.

Because she had little formal educaton, Josephine's ministry was initially limited to providing domestic service for her community. She developed a deep life of contemplative prayer, where she was gifted with theological understanding and the ability to counsel others. This allowed her to expand the scope of her ministry.

She died January 21, 1692. Her remains are preserved at the Augustinian convent in Beniganim. Pope Leo XIII declared her Blessed in 1888.



Blessed Anthony of Amandola


29th of January

Anthony of Amandola (1355-1450) was known for his humility, obedience, apostolic zeal and consistent asceticism.He was born January 17, 1355 in Amandola, Ascoli Piceno, Italy. Because of the reputation of Augustinian Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, Anthony decided to enter the Order of Saint Augustine.

He was assigned to the Church of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine around 1385. Twelve years later he was sent to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in southern Italy.

Anthony returned to Amandola in 1400. He was responsible for a new monastery being built there, along with an adjoining church. Originally named in honor of Saint Augustine, the church is now named in memory of Anthony.

Anthony died January 25, 1450. About ten years after his death, January 25 was declared a City Holiday in Amandola. The body of Anthony remains incorrupt. It is exposed for public veneration in the Church of Saint Augustine, Amandola.



Blessed Stephen Bellesini


3rd of February

Blessed Stephen Bellesini (1774-1840) was an Augustinian friar, teacher, minister and mentor to youth, and parish priest.

Luigi Giuseppe Bellesini was born November 25, 1774, in Trent, Italy. He entered the Augustinian Order, taking the religious name Stephen. He professed vows as an Augustinian in 1794.

During the difficult times in which Stephen lived, the government disbanded many religious houses, forcing the friars out of their communities. The Augustinians were not immune to these governmental actions, and Stephen found himself expelled from his monastery.

He went to live with his brother and became a teacher, hoping to be a Christian influence on the youth of his day. Stephen founded in his own home a free school for the poor children of the city, who otherwise would not have access to education. He gave food and clothing to the poorest of his students, and offered encouragement and friendship to all of them.

Even the materialistic local authorities came to respect his work. Eventually he was named Inspector of Schools in Trent.

When he had the chance to return to community life, though, Stephen resigned his important post in Trent and went to join the Augustinian community in Bologna.

Political leaders in Trent begged Stephen to return to his work in the schools there, offering to increase his pay. But Stephen refused, writing to them, "You would surely not ask me (to return to Trent) if you realized the unbreakable bond between a friar and his God, who is the King of Kings. Before his altar, I have solemnly promised to be faithful to those vows."

Stephen spent several years as Director of Novices, mentoring and teaching young Augustinians the principles of community life in the Order.

In his later years, Stephen served as parish priest in Genazzano. There his ministry included a special emphasis on the needs of the poor and of children. In January, 1840, while answering a call to care for a sick parishioner, he tripped and fell. A cut on his leg became infected, and he developed a high fever.

He tried to remain active for the next two days, but the fever never went away. He died February 2, 1840 in Genazzano. His remains are at the Shrine of Our Mother of Good Counsel in Genazzano.



Blessed Angelo of Furci


6th of February

Angelo (1246-1327) was known for his holiness, charity, zeal for uprightness and gentleness of spirit.

His parents, Adalitto and Albazia, were a well-to-do faith filled couple who lived in Furci, Chieti, Italy. As they advanced in age, they remained childless. They continually prayed for a son. Finally, in 1246, Albazia gave birth to a son. The couple named him Angelo, because they had asked Michael the Archangel to intercede with God on their behalf that they would be able to have a child.

As a child, Angelo was sent to a Benedictine monastery where his uncle was the Abbot. There he received an education. When his uncle died, he returned home.

Adalitto became ill the following year. As he was preparing for death, he revealed to his son the circumstances of his birth, and suggested that Angelo might consider becoming an Augustinian.

Following his father's death, Angelo made the decision to enter the Augustinian Order, but did not immediately seek admission. Instead, he remained with his aging mother to care for her in her sorrow.

In 1266 Angelo finally did ask to join the Order of Saint Augustine. After professing his religious vows, he studied Theology for four years and was ordained a Priest.

He was then sent to Paris for further study. There the renowned Augustinian Giles of Rome was his teacher. After earning his Lector's Degree, Angelo taught Theology in Abruzzi. After eight years there, he was chosen to hold the Chair of Theology at Saint Augustine's in Naples.

Unanimously elected Prior Provincial (regional superior), Angelo, considering himself to be unworthy of leading his Province, at first refused to accept the position. The Prior General, Blessed Clement of Osimo, required him to accept. He proved to be a capable Provincial.

At the age of 81, Angelo became seriously ill and had to retire. He died February 6, 1327 at Saint Augustine Monastery in Naples.



Blessed Anselm Polanco


7th of February

Anselm Polanco (1881-1939) was martyred during the Spanish Civil War.

He was born April 16, 1881 in Buenavista de Valdavia, Palencia, Spain. He joined the Augustinian Order as a young man. He studied in Germany, then returned to Spain to teach at Valladolid and La Vid.

He was named Prior Provincial in 1932. He gave particular importance to visitation of all the Augustinians in his Province. This required difficult journies to China, the Philippines, the United States, Peru and Colombia, since many of the Spanish Augustinians were engaged in missionary activity. On his visits, he encouraged his brothers in their work of of evangelization and urged them to live a religious life faithful to the ideals of Saint Augustine.

In 1935 Anselm was named Bishop of Teruel and Albarracin. When Civil War broke out in Spain, in 1936, Anselm voluntarily remained in his Diocese, in spite of the strong anti-Catholic persecutions brought by the war. In deciding to remain with his people, he followed the same advice that Saint Augustine himself had given to Bishop Honoratus centuries earlier:

When all are threatened by the same danger, that is, Bishops, clergy and laity, those who need the others must not be abandoned by those of whom they have need. --Possidius, Life of Augustine 30, 11

In 1938, Anselm was captured by anti-Catholic forces and thrown into prison at Pont de Molins. While in prison, he organized an intense life of prayer along with the other prisoners. He was executed February 7, 1939. The Vicar General of his Diocese, Philip Ripoli, was killed at the same time.

The martyrdom of Anselm and Philip gave strong witness to their faith in Jesus Christ and their faithfulness to his Church.

Anselm was beatified in 1995 by Pope John Paul II.



Blessed Ann Catherine Emmerich


9th of February

Ann Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) was an Augustinian Canoness noted for her visions of Christ and other mystic gifts.

Ann Catherine was born in Flamschen bei Coesfeld, Westphalia, Germany in 1774. Her family was poor but faith-filled.

From a young age, Ann Catherine wanted to be a nun. Her father opposed her entry into the monastery.

While a girl, Ann Catherine began to receive many spiritual gifts from God. When she became an adult, she sought entry into the religious life. Several communites would not accept her, but finally the Augustinian Canonesses at Agnetenberg received her into their convent.

Life in the convent was not easy for Ann Catherine. Some of nuns looked down on her because of the poverty of her family. Her health was poor. An accident in 1806 made it impossible for her to leave her room for the next six years.

During this time God continued to bless her with spiritual gifts. A few of the nuns, perhaps out of jealousy, looked upon Ann Catherine with suspicion and spread unkind gossip about her.

At the end of 1811, the convent where she lived was ordered suppressed. In 1812 Ann Catherine and some of the other sisters were living in Dulmen. There she would frequently become caught up in ecstatic prayer. Towards the end of 1812, she was given the marks of Christ's Passion on her body. She tried to hide these, but only succeeded for a while. Soon the other sisters noticed the stigmata and told their superiors.

An investigation followed, which concluded that the wounds were truly mystic phenomena and that Ann Catherine was indeed the recipient of many supernatural gifts.

She experienced many visions of Christ. It is, however, difficult to know the truth about many of these, since the main source of information in this regard is the writings of the romantic poet Clemens Brentano (1778-1842), whose works were characterized by an excess of fantastic imagery.

Ann Catherine did not herself write any descriptions of her visions. Instead, she recounted her visions to Brentano, who, in turn, wrote them in a sort of diary, which he published in book form several years after Ann Catherine's death. True to his usual style, Brentano frequently exaggerated and embellished the facts.

Scholars today do not consider Brentano's book, entitled The Dolorous Passion, to be a reliable reporting of what Ann Catherine really experienced. The book was totally disregarded during the process of her beatification.

Ann Catherine's health continued to grow worse. From 1813 to the time of her death on November 9, 1824, Ann Catherine was bedridden. She died in Dulman, where her remains are preserved.

In 2001 Ann Catherine Emmerich's practice of virtue was declared "heroic". She was beatified October 3, 2004.



Blessed Christine of Spoleto


13th of February

Blessed Christine of Spoleto (d. 1458), after several years of living contrary to God's ways, gave herself to Jesus, became an Augustinian Tertiary and gained a reputation as a holy woman and miracle-worker.

Born Agostina Camozzi in Osteno, Como, Italy, whe was the daughter of a well-known doctor. While still young, she married a stone cutter, who died a short time later.

Agostina then lived as the mistress of a soldier. She gave birth to an out-of-wedlock son. This child died at an early age.

She married again. This husband was murdered by a jealous rival.

After this, Agostina decided to reform her life. She turned to Christ and became an Augustinian Tertiary. She decided to change her name to Christina, reflecting the primary place that Christ now occupied in her life.

She lived in several Augustinian convents, finally settling in Spoleto, devoting herself to prayer, penance and works of mercy. She developed a reputation for great holiness and as a worker of miracles.

Christine set off in 1457 on a pilgrimage that was to take her to the Holy Sepulchre. However, she was unable to go beyond Spoleto, where she died February 13, 1458. Her remains were originally preserved in Spoleto at the former Augustinian church of St. Nicholas. Later her body was moved to the Church of Saint Gregory the Great.

Pope Gregory XVI declared her Blessed in 1834.



Blessed Julia of Certaldo


15th of February

Julia of Certaldo (1319?-1370) was an Augustinian Secular who devoted herself to prayer and penance.

Born Julia della Rena in Certaldo, Italy, around 1319, she was orphaned while a young child. She went to Florence, where she found employment as a maid.

She became an Augustinian Secular in 1337. Later she was able to return to Certaldo, where she lived a life of solitude, penance and prayer for 30 years. People of the town revered her for her holiness during her life there.

She died in Certaldo in 1370. Her remains are preserved there at the Church of Saints Michael and James.



Blessed Simon Fidati of Cascia


16th of February

Blessed Simon Fidati of Cascia (1295?-1348), an Augustinian Friar who advocated Gospel simplicity and community based on Christian love, was known for his powerful preaching and desire to form Christ in everyone.

Born in Cascia around 1295, Simon entered the Order of St. Augustine as a young man. He initially studied philosophy and science, but soon changed his focus to study spirituality and theology.

Simon loved solitude and contemplation, but in obedience to his superiors in the Order, willingly involved himself in apostolic work. He developed the reputation as a powerful preacher of the Word of God and an outstanding teacher of the spiritual life. Forming Christ in all people became the primary goal of all his ministry.

He was especially devoted to the humanity of Jesus, which he saw as a key to the life of a Christian. This devotion was rooted in the context of the Augustinian traditions of "theology of the heart" and the centrality of God's love.

In spite of some difficulties, Simon remained faithful to his vocation. He valued Christian charity, obedience to the Order and a sense of community of fraternal love as the most important underlying values for living religious community life.

His writings include The Works of Our Savior, a life of Christ written in the form of a commentary on biblical passages; The Order of the Christian Life, which inspires the reader to live in conformity to Christ, and Epistolary, a collection of approximately 50 of his letters.

Simon died in Florence February 2, 1348, during the Great Plague. His remains are preserved in Cascia at the Basilica of St. Rita. Pope Gregory XVI declared him Blesssed in 1833



Blessed Jerome of Recanati


12th of March

Jerome Ghirarducci of Recanati (died 1350) was best known as a peacemaker.

Little is known of the early life of Jerome Ghirarducci. He lived in the Augustinian Monastery in Recanati, Macerata, Italy.

As part of his ministry, he mediated numerous disputes between families and the city. It is said that he brought peace to the cities of Ascoli and Fermo, which had been at war with each other.

Jerome died March 12, 1350 in Recanati. His remains are preserved in the Church of Saint Augustine there.



Blessed Hugh Zefferini


22nd of March

Hugh Zefferini (1320?-1367?) was known for his commitment to ministry and devotion to prayer.

He was born in Cortona, Arezzo, Italy around 1320. Civil strife forced the family to flee to Mantua when Hugh was still a baby.

Hugh became a page at the court of the Gonzagas, but did not find the life of the court to his liking.

An Augustinian Friar from the Monastery of Saint Agnes in Mantua became his mentor and spiritual guide, giving much support.

Hugh left the court and joined the Augustinians in 1336. He returned to Cortona as a Priest in 1354. There he dedicated himself to ministry. In the last years of his life he became a hermit, spending his time in solitude and prayer.

He died around 1367. The people of Cortona, recognizing the holiness of his life, named him their patron and protector in 1508. His remains are preserved in the Church of Saint Augustine in Cortona.



Blessed Mariano de la Mata


5th of April

The Beatification of Mariano de la Mata, O.S.A. took place November 5, 2006 in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal José Saraiva, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, to represent him and to preside at the Beatification.

"We give thanks to God who pours out abundant love on all of us so that we too will give witness to the Kingdom, as Fr. Mariano did in such an outstanding way,"commented Fr. Robert F. Prevost, O.S.A., Prior General (world leader) of the Order of St. Augustine.

Mariano de la Mata (1905-1983) was an Augustinian missionary in Brazil known for his faithful observance of his religious obligations, for the loving way in which he ministered to his people, for his oneness with nature and for his special concern for the needs of the poor.

Born in Barrio de la Puebla, Palencia, Spain in 1905, Mariano was raised in a profoundly Christian family. When he entered the Order of Saint Augustine in 1921, he was the fourth brother in his family to do so.

After completing his studies in Valladolid and Santa Maria de la Vid in Burgos, he was ordained a Priest.

After ministering in Spain for two years, Mariano was sent to Brazil, where he continued to minister for the next 50 years.

He was a companion to young and old, especially those who were sick or in need. He was supportive and caring towards his fellow friars. He thoroughly enjoyed being out in a natural environment. He loved flowers and animals and was an avid stamp collector.

He organized more than 200 Saint Rita Workshops, which employed poor people to make sturdy clothing that the poor could afford.

He was frequently seen walking down the streets of Sao Paulo on his way to pastoral visits, even as he aged and his strength waned and his vision grew dim.

Mariano was diagnosed with cancer in early 1983. He underwent surgery to remove a malignant tumor, but the cancer continued to spread. He died April 5, 1983.

His remains are preserved at the Church of Saint Augustine in Sao Paolo.

The cause for his beatification and canonization was officially opened in 1996. The diocesan investigation in Sao Paolo, with additional inquiries in Palencia, Spain and Cafayate, Argentina, concluded in 1997. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved in 1999 the continuation of Mariano's process. A miracle attributed to the intercession of Mariano de la Mata - the healing of a child who had been run over by a truck - was unanimously approved February 2, 2005 at the Ordinary Theological Meeting of the Congregation for Causes of Saints. Mariano was beatified November 5, 2006 in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Fernando Rojo Martínez, O.S.A., the Augustinian Postulator of Causes, oversees the progress of the cause.



Blessed Andrew of Montereale


18th of April

Andrew of Montereale (1397?-1480) had a reputation as a holy man and worker of miracles.

Born around 1397 in Mascioni, Italy, he is believed to have worked as a shepherd from his childhood.

As a young man he met the Prior (local superior) of the the Augustinian Monastery of Montereale, one Augustine of Terni. Not long after this meeting, Andrew entered the Order of Saint Augustine. He was ordained a Priest when he was 25 years old. He earned Bachelor's, Lector's and Master's Degrees in Theology and became a teacher.

He held various positions of leadership in the Order, including Prior Provincial (regional superior) and Prior (local superior).

For unknown reasons that may have had something to do with the Avignon Schism, he resigned in 1459 his position as Director of Studies. Two years later he was sent away from his monastery by order of the Prior General. In 1461 that same Prior General appointed Andrew his representative for an official visitation of the monastery in Amatrice. In 1471 he was again elected Prior Provincial.

Documents published shortly after his death refer to Andrew as noteworthy for his knowledge of philosophy and theology, for his holiness and his preaching, for helping the poor and for enduring abuse with great patience. Other documents make reference to his having worked countless miracles.

Andrew wrote several books, all of which have been lost.

He died April 17, 1480 in the Augustinian Monastery in Montereale.



Blessed Simon of Todi


20th of April

Simon of Todi (died 1322) was known for his example of humility and patience, even in the face of injustices. He was regarded as a miracle worker.

Simon Rinalducci was born sometime in the middle of the thirteenth century in Todi, Perugia, Italy. He joined the Order of Saint Augustine around the year 1280.

He was a noted theologian and an effective preacher of the Gospel. He served as Prior (local superior) of several monasteries, and was elected Prior Provincial (regional superior).

During the General Chapter of the Order in 1318, some of his fellow Augustinians brought some serious accusations against him. These accusations, the nature of which is not known, were totally false, and were probably made by those who wanted to have his position of authority.

He suffered much from these false charges, but endured this difficult time with patience. Several years later he was appointed preacher in Bologna. There he taught the ways of Christian life not only by preaching the Word, but also by living it. He is credited with bringing about many miracles for those who sought his help.

The Bishop of Terni in 1311 gave to the Augustinians the pastoral care of a church in his Diocese mainly because of his great respect for Simon.

Simon died April 20, 1322 in the Monastery of Saint James the Great in Bologna. His remains are preserved there.



Blessed Helen of Udine


23rd of April

Helen Valentini (1396-1458), an Augustinian Tertiary, was known for her spirit of penance, obedience, humility, devotion to the Passion of Christ and to the Eucharist, and for her love of neighbor.

While still a young girl, she married Antonio Cavalcanti, an official of the city of Udine. The couple raised six children before Antonio died in 1441.

Some time after the death of her husband, Helen became an Augustinian Tertiary. She was the first member of the Augustinian Third Order in Udine.

She dedicated herself completely to God. She devoted long hours to prayer and meditation on the Gospels. She provided personal service and material contributions to works of mercy. Helen developed a reputation as a miracle worker.

At times she suffered physical torment and severe depression. Prayer and confidence in the will of God saw her through these difficult times.

Her last three years were marked by a painful illness. She died April 23, 1458. Her remains were first buried at the Augustinian Church of Saint Lucy, but later her body was moved to the Cathedral of Udine. She was beatified by Pope Pius IX in 1848.



Conversion of St. Augustine


24th of April

Augustine's life as a young man was characterized by loose living and a search for answers to life's basic questions.

He would follow various philosophers, only to become disillusioned with their teachings. For nine years he was associated with the Manichean sect. But he gradually became aware that Manicheism was unable to provide sastisfactory answers to his probing questions.

At this time, Augustine was teaching rhetoric in Milan. He went to hear the preaching of Saint Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan. At first he went only to hear Ambrose's eloquent style of speaking. But the Bishop's preaching led Augustine to a new understanding of the Bible and the Christian Faith.

Some time in the year 386, Augustine, his mother Monica, his son Adeodatus, and several friends, were spending time in Cassiciacum, a small village near Milan. While outdoors, Augustine heard the voice of a child singing a song, the words of which were, "Pick it up and read it. Pick it up and read it." He thought at first that the song was related to some kind of children's game, but could not remember ever having heard such a song before.

Then, realizing that this song might be a command from God to open and read the Scriptures, he located a Bible, picked it up, opened it and read the first passage he saw. It was from the Letter of Paul to the Romans. Augustine read:

Not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual excess and lust, not in quarreling and jealousy. Rather, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh. --Romans 13: 13-14

Reading this scripture, Augustine felt as if his heart were flooded with light. He turned totally from his life of sin. He was Baptized by Ambrose during the Easter Vigil April 24, 387. His friend Alypius and his son Adeodatus were Baptized at the same time.

Later, reflecting on this experience, Augustine wrote his famous prayer: You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you. He went on to become a powerful influence on the spirituality and theology of the Christian Church.



Our Mother of Good Counsel


26th of April

Mary, the Mother of Jesus, under the title Mother of Good Counsel has a special place of honor among the Augustinians.

A fifth-century church in Latium was named Saint Mary of Good Counsel. Pastoral care of its people was entrusted to the Augustinians in 1356.

The original painting entitled Mother of Good Counsel is in the Augustinian Church in Genazzano, Italy. This picture portrays Mary holding the child Jesus. Her veil is around Jesus' shoulders, and Mary, caring mother that she was, is giving some good counsel to her son.

An ancient legend says that this fresco was miraculously transported to Genazzano from its former home in Albania. The fresco came to rest on a narrow ledge inside the then unfinished Genazzano church, according to this legend, and it remains in the same place today.

During a restoration of the church begun in 1957, however, scientific tests gave evidence of the true origins of the small (12 inches by 17 inches) fresco. It was probably painted sometime between 1417 and 1431 by the Italian artist Gentile de Fabriano. It appears to have been part of a larger fresco that covered most of the church wall.

The unfinished church was used, even though more construction remained to be done. The wall with the fresco was later covered with other decorations, and even later was painted over. Years later a widow named Petruccia promised to pay for additional construction in the church. During this construction, the original painting of mother and child was revealed, perhaps by falling plaster or peeling paint.

Its unexpected appearance was considered by some to be a miracle. Thus the legend grew.

The Genazzano church became a popular place of pilgrimage. Numerous cures took place there. The Augustinian Friars were invited to minister to the spiritual needs of the pilgrims. They continue to serve there to this day.

Most Popes, shortly after their election to that office, visit the shrine of Our Mother of Good Counsel to pray for wisdom.



Our Lady of Grace


8th of May

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to the village of Nazareth. He went to the home of a young girl called Mary, and greeted her,

"Hail, full of grace..." --cf. Luke 1: 26-28

This greeting is the basis of the title Lady of Grace. It was at this time that Mary became the mother of Jesus, that is to say, the mother of the author and dispenser of Grace.

The Order of Saint Augustine, since its very early days, has held special honor for Mary under the title Mother of Grace, or Lady of Grace.



Blessed Catherine of Saint Augustine


8th of May

Catherine of Saint Augustine (1632-1668) was an Augustinian Hospitaller Sister of the Mercy of Jesus who ministered to the poor and sick in Quebec.

Catherine de Longpré was born May 3, 1632 at Saint-Saveur, France. As a child she was given a good education.

Following the advice of Saint John Eudes, she entered the Augustinian Hospitaller Sisters of the Mercy of Jesus in 1644.

She volunteered to go to her community's mission in Quebec. Her family was strongly opposed to the idea. Her father even tried to get the French courts to stop her. But Catherine was firmly resolved to serve the sick and the poor of Quebec. She arrived there in 1648. Later on her father came to accept his daughter's mission there.

On her voyage to Quebec, Catherine contracted the plague. She recovered and, once arrived, spent much energy caring for poor people who were suffering from sicknesses and hunger.

In spite of spiritual dryness and a debilitating long-term illness of her own, Catherine was consistently loving, kind, and gracious toward all.

She died May 8, 1668. She was 36 years old. She is considered to be one of the founders of the Catholic Church in Canada.

Pope John Paul II declared Catherine Blessed in 1989.



Blessed Gregory Celli


11th of May

Gregory Celli (1225?-1343?) is an example of the contemplative dimension of Augustinian religious life.

Gregory was born around 1225 in Verucchio, Forli, Italy. As a young man, he joined the hermits of Blessed John Good, one of the groups that was incorporated into the Order of Saint Augustine at the time of the Grand Union in 1256.

He spent the greatest part of his life in contemplation, penance and asceticism at the Monte Carnerio hermitage, located near Fonto Colombo, Rieti.

He is said to have lived until 1343, which would mean that he was 118 years old at the time of his death. His remains are preserved in Verucchio.



Blessed William Tirry


12th of May

William Tirry (1608-1654) was martyred because he chose loyalty to God and Church over obedience to civil authority.

William Tirry was born in Cork, Ireland in 1608. His uncle was Bishop of Cork-Cloyne.

William entered the Augustinian Order in Cork. He must have been a promising student, as he was sent for studies in Valladolid, Spain and Paris, France. Following completion of his courses in Paris, he spend five years (1636-1641) in Brussels, Belgium.

He returned to Ireland in 1641. A few years later, when hostilities broke out in Ireland, Augustinian community life became impossible. William went to serve for a time on the staff of his uncle, the Bishop. He was later named Secretary of his Augustinian province.

He was chosen in 1649 as Prior (local superior) of the Augustinian house in Skreen. However, Oliver Cromwell's troops would not permit him to live there.

A law enacted January 6, 1653 declared that any Roman Catholic priest in Ireland was guilty of treason. William and other priests were forced into hiding. Three men betrayed William in return for money. He was arrested March 25, 1654, Holy Thursday, as he was preparing to celebrate the Eucharist.

While awaiting trial, William was imprisoned at Clonmel. Here, his spirit of prayer and penance helped to inspire the other priests who were also incarcerated there.At his trial, William readily proclaimed his loyalty to the government in civil matters. But, in matters of religion, he declared that he was bound to obey only his conscience, his Augustinian superiors and the Pope. He was found guilty of treason and sentenced to death by hanging.

William was executed May 12, 1654. He was 45. An account told by another friar who had been tried with William gives some details of that day: William, wearing his Augustinian habit, was led to the gallows praying the rosary. He blessed the crowd which had gathered, pardoned his betrayers and affirmed his faith. It was a moving moment for Catholics and Protestants alike.

The body of William was buried on the grounds of the destroyed Augustinian friary at Fethard. His grave was not marked, however, and its exact location is unknown. He, along with 16 other Irish martyrs, was declared Blessed in 1992 by Pope John Paul II.



Our Lady of Help


13th of May

Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title Lady of Help can be traced back to the fourteenth century and to the Church of Saint Augustine in Palermo, Italy. From this Augustinian Church, it spread throughout the Order.

The title is derived from biblical references to the enmity between "the woman" and the serpent. (--cf. Genesis 3 and Revelation 12)

Our Lady of Help is pictured holding a child in her arms, protecting the child from a dragon or serpent which she is casting out.



Saint Alypius and Saint Possidius


16th of May

Contemporaries of Augustine, Alypius and Possidius were his close friends and members of his monastic community in Hippo.

Saint Alypius

Alypius (died 430?) was referred to by Augustine as "brother of my heart". Both shared the same errors as young men and both shared the same conversion to Christ.

Alypius was born sometime in the middle of the fourth century in Tagaste, Africa. His parents were influential citizens of that city.

He studied law in Rome. He first met Augustine while at school in Carthage. Augustine praised him for his honesty, sincerity and sense of justice.

When he was living in Rome, Alypius had a government position involving the distribution of funds. He carried out his duties with integrity, not seeking to fill his own pockets with money that rightly belonged to others. It was said that these qualities were very rare at the time. When a powerful Roman Senator tried to involve Alypius in dishonest dealings, Alypius refused to have anything to do with the Senator's schemes.

Like Augustine, Alypius was at one time a Manichean. The two friends were both converted to Christ and were Baptized together by Saint Ambrose in 387. Alypius helped Augustine start the first monastery in northern Africa in Tagaste. When Augustine was ordained a priest in Hippo, and started a monastery there, Alypius joined that community.

He once traveled to the East, where he met the great biblical scholar Saint Jerome. Alypius was ordained Bishop of Tagaste around the year 394. Augustine had not yet been ordained Bishop at the time.He took part in the African Councils of the Church during his time as Bishop, and was chosen along with Possidius and Augustine to represent the Catholic Bishops at the famous meeting with the Donatists in Carthage in 411. He took part in the Council of Milevi (Numidia) in 416. He composed a written report on this Council for Pope Innocent.

Alypius travelled to Italy several times as part of his opposition to the Pelagian heresy. He often carried Augustine's writings with him in order to present them to Pope Boniface.It is believed that he was present during the death of Augustine in 430. Alypius died shortly after Augustine, probably in the same year 430.



Saint Possidius


16th of May

Possidius (died 437?) wrote the first biography of Augustine, in which he tells of their 40 years of close friendship.

He was born in northern Africa. Little is known of his childhood and youth.

Possidius was a member of Augustine's monastic community in Hippo, along with Saint Alypius.

He was named Bishop of Calama (Numidia). There he faced opposition from the Donatists. On one occasion Donatist extremists set fire to a house where Possidius was visiting. Possidius narrowly escaped death.Twice he went to Italy to defend his Church. He was present at the Councils of the African Church in Carthage in 403 and 407, and was chosen along with Alypius and Augustine to represent the Catholic Bishops at the famous meeting with the Donatists in Carthage in 411, where he took an active role.

Possidius was charged with official missions to Emperor Theodosius in 409 and in 410.

He took part in the Councils of Malevi (416) and Carthage (419). These Councils were in opposition to the Pelagian heresy.

When Calama was conquered by Vandal invaders in 429, Possidius took refuge with Augustine inside the walls of Hippo. Possidius was with Augustine at his death in 430.

Hippo itself was attacked and burned in 431. Possidius did return to Calama, but in 437 was exiled by King Hunmeric, who suppressed Christianity and forced Arianism on the territories that he conquered. During this time of exile, Possidius completed his famous book, The Life of Augustine. Little else is know about the activities of Possidius during this exile.

He died in exile around the year 437.



Blessed William of Toulouse


18th of May

William (1297?-1369) was known as a man of prayer and a gifted preacher.

Born around 1297, he joined the Augustinian Order as a young man of approximately 19 years. He studied in Paris, but spent most of his life in Toulouse.

He lived austerely, and showed a special care for the poor. His preaching drew many to Christ and to the Order. William loved contemplation and prayer, in which he spoke with God.

He died in Toulouse May 18, 1369. Pope Leo XIII declared him Blessed in 1893.



Blessed Clement of Osimo


19th of May

Clement (died 1291) was a leader of the Augustinian Order known for his spirit of fraternal charity and life of poverty. He was considered to be a holy man and a worker of miracles.

He was born around the beginning of the 13th Century in the region of Marcas, Italy, probably in San Elpidio.

As a young man, he entered the Augustinians in Brettino. He was chosen Prior Provincial of the Province of Marche of Ancona in 1269. He was twice selected as Prior General of the Order, serving in that role from 1271 to 1274, when he resigned his office and returned to a more quiet way of life. But he was again elected Prior General in 1284, this time unanimously. He served in that office until his death in 1291.

He, along with Blessed Augustine of Tarano, helped revise the Regensburg Constitutions of the Order (the basic law by which the Order is governed). He encouraged formal studies on the part of the friars, and founded five schools where those studies could be undertaken. He supported the establishment of libraries. He insisted on proper observance of the Augustinian way of life. He promoted the foundation of Augustinian houses for women.

Clement died April 8, 1291. He was first buried at the Augustinian house in Orvieto. Later his remains were divided, with a portion remaining in Orvieto, and other portions sent for burial in Osimo and in San Elpidio. In the early 18th Century, most of his remains were gathered together and reburied at St. Augustine Church, Rome. Since 1970 his remains are preserved at the General Headquarters of the Order in Rome.

Pope Clement XIII proclaimed him Blessed in 1759.



Blessed Augustine of Tarano


19th of May

Augustine (died 1309?) was a leader of the Augustinian Order known for his humility, his zeal for religious observance and his love of contemplation in a setting of community brotherhood.

Born in Tarano, Matthew Novello earned his Doctorate in Civil and Canon (Church) Law at Bologna. He served in the court of King Manfred of Sicily.

After a period of time in the royal court, he entered the Augustinian Order, taking the name Augustine. At first he concealed his experience in the court and his Doctorate in Law. Later, his community became involved in a property dispute. The Order's lawyer was a former colleague. He recognized Augustine. Augustine then admitted his true background.

Blessed Clement brought him to Rome, where he was ordained a Priest. He served as penitentiary in the Roman Curia, and was chosen as Prior General of the Order in 1298. He collaborated with Blessed Clement in the revision of the Regensburg Constitutions of the Order (the basic law by which the Order is governed).

He resigned that office two years later, and retired to the hermitage of Saint Leonard near Siena. He was instrumental in the establishment of Santa Maria della Scala Hospital in Siena. He died in Siena on May 19 of either 1309 or 1310. His remains were for a long time preserved at the Church of Saint Augustine, Siena, but are now at Termini Imerese in Sicily.

Pope Clement XIII declared him Blessed in 1761.



Saint Rita of Cascia


22nd of May

Known as the "Saint of the Impossible", Rita (1380?-1456) overcame many difficulties throughout her life. She had a generous love and a deep sense of penance. She was a peacemaker and a healer of divisions.Born in Roccaporena, Cascia, Italy around the year 1380, Rita Lotti at an early age wanted to become a nun. Her parents, however, insisted that she marry. So, at the age of 14, she married Paolo Mancini, a man who was a bit "rough around the edges".

Rita was a good influence on Paolo. They lived harmoniously for 18 years and had two twin sons. Paolo, who had settled down and become a responsible adult, worked as the town watchman. One day, members of a local political faction ambushed and murdered him.

Their sons, influenced by their local environment and by angry family members, wanted to avenge their father's murder. Rita forgave her husband's killers. She prayed that her sons would die rather than follow the unwritten "law of vendetta" and take revenge upon the murderers. In fact, both sons did die from natural causes shortly afterwards.

Rita, now without a family, sought to fulfill her desires to become a religious sister. At first the nuns of the Augustinian convent of Saint Mary Magdelene did not want to receive her, partly because she had been a married woman and partly because some of the sisters were relatives of Paolo's killers. Rita persisted. She prayed and worked to establish peace between the hostile factions of Cascia. Finally she was accepted into the convent.

She remained in the cloister during the final 40 years of her life. Fifteen years before her death, while at prayer, she received on her forehead the mark of a thorn from Jesus' crown of thorns.During the last four years of her life, Rita was seriously ill. She died May 22, 1457 (although a few writers give the year of her death as 1447). Her remains are preserved in the Church of Saint Rita in Cascia.



Blessed James of Viterbo


4th of June

James (1255?-1307?) wrote several works that reflected the teachings of Saint Augustine and his love for the Christian Church. In his way of life, he followed Augustine's ideals.

Born in Viterbo, Italy, around 1255, James Cappoci entered the Augustinian Order around 1270. He studied philosophy and theology under the famous Augustinian scholar Giles of Rome. Later he taught in Naples and in Paris.

James earned a Doctorate in Theology in 1293. He was considered one of the best Scholastic Theologians. In recognition of his sharpness and intellectual capacity, he was nicknamed "the Speculative Doctor".

His well-known book, Christian Government, published in 1303, describes the role of the Church in society.

While participating in the General Chapter of the Order in 1300, he was involved in a disagreement with Blessed Augustine of Tarano, who was Prior General (world leader) at that time. It seems that a German Friar, whose name is not known, was unjustly accused of some sort of misconduct. James defended the Friar. The Prior General publically denounced any Friar who supported the accused.

James, realizing that this reproach was directed against himself, rose to speak. He declared the sincerity of his belief that the accused Friar was not guilty of the charges, but said that he would humbly accept the judgment of his superiors in the matter. The entire assembly was edified by the humble tone of this reply.

He was named Bishop of Benevento in 1302. Towards the end of that same year, he was transferred to Naples as Archbishop.

James died in Naples either in 1307 or in 1308. Immediately after his death, he was venerated as a holy man. Pope Pius X proclaimed him Blessed in 1911.



Saint John of Sahagún


12th of June

John (1430?-1479) was a peacemaker and worker for justice in society. He defended the rights of workers. A sincere and humble man, he was a noted preacher, whose devotion to the Eucharist marked all aspects of his life.

Born in Sahagún, Leon, Spain around the year 1430, John was raised in a prominent family. While he was still young, John's father obtained for him a position which would guarantee him a substantial income.

John refused to accept this position, because he saw it as contrary to God's way. His family was very disappointed.

Seeing the good qualities of his life, Alphonsus of Carthage, the Bishop of Burgos, ordained John a priest and gave him a position of responsibility in the administration of the Church.John did not find this work fulfilling, however. So he went to live in Salamanca, where he engaged in study and preaching. While John was ministering at the Church of Saint Bartholomew, the Duke of Alba complained when he used the pulpit to denounce not only the sins of common people, but also the sins of the nobility.

"Father, you do not know how to control your tongue," the Duke angrily charged.

John responded, "Sir Duke, tell me why did I walk into that Pulpit: To proclaim the truth to all who would listen, or to shamefully praise you? A preacher must be prepared in his soul to speak the truth, both in denouncing and correcting shortcomings and in praising virtue, to such a point that he is willing in that cause even to face death."

Still not satisfied with his life as a diocesan Priest, he joined the Augustinians in 1463. The Friars recognized his abilities, and chose him twice to serve as Prior (local superior) of the Salamanca Monastery. He was a delegate to every Province Chapter held during his years in the Order.

The people saw him as wise and prudent. He was able to reconcile feuding families. He championed the rights of workers. He was a man of prayer, and was particularly devoted to the Eucharist.

One of his contemporaries gave this testimony to John's character: "If you ask me about the actions of Friar John, with regard to the poor and afflicted, exploited widows and children, the needy and the sick, I would have to say that he was naturally compelled to help them all in word and in deed. He was particularly interested in leading all to peace and harmony, and putting an end to hostility. Living in Salamanca, where the entire city was split into factions, he succeeded in preventing much bloodshed."

Due to John's repeated initiatives for peace, the opposing nobles of Salamanca signed in 1476 a solemn and perpetual peace treaty.

John drew his courage and strength especially from the daily celebration of the Eucharist, to which he was highly devoted.

John died in Salamanca June 11, 1479. His biographer, Friar John of Seville, believed that he was poisoned by somebody who did not like the honesty of his preaching. He was beatified in 1601 and canonized in 1690. His remains are preserved at the Cathedral of Salamanca.



Blessed Philip of Piacenza


20th of June

Philip of Picenza (died 1306) was known as a faith-healer.

Little is know of Philip's early life. We know that he lived and worked in the Augustinian Monastary of Saint Lawrence in Piacenza, Italy.

The book A Brief Life of Some Hermit Friars by the Anonymous Florentine reports that he practiced admirable asceticism and brought about many miraculous cures of the seriously ill.

He died May 24, 1306. His remains are preserved at the Cathedral of Piacenza.



Blessed Peter James of Pesaro


25th of June

Peter James (died 1496) was a scholar, teacher, calligrapher and reformer.

Little is known of his early life. In 1472 he was Director of Students in the Augustinian General House of Studies at Perugia. He earned the Degree of Lector in Theology in 1473 and the Degree of Master in Theology in 1479.

He was known for his prudence and sense of balance. He was Prior Provincial (regional superior) from 1492 to 1495. In this role, he brought about reforms in the Augustinian Order.

Peter James taught in Florence and Bologna. He was appointed Prior (local superior) in the Augustinian monasteries of Aquila, Bologna and Valmanente.

His final years were devoted to prayer and to the copying and illustrating liturgical books. He died in 1496 at Valmanente. His remains are preserved at the Augustinian Church of that city.



Blessed John Becchetti and Blessed Peter Becchetti of Fabriano


2nd of July

John and Peter were cousins. They were born sometime in the fourteenth century. Both professed vows as Augustinians at the Monastery of Saint Augustine in Fabriano, Ancona, Italy.

John, who had taught at Rimini, earned his Bachelor's Degree in Theology in 1385. He then was sent to Oxford, England for further study. There he earned his Master's in Theology.

He returned to Italy and was appointed Director of the Augustinian House of Studies in Perugia.

The date of John's death is not known. We know that he was still living in 1420, as a letter written by him on May 7 of that year is preserved in the Archives of the Order in Rome.

Documents show that Peter was studying for the Degree of Lector in Theology in 1385. He was professor in the Augustinian House of Studies in Rimini in 1388.

While he was in Rimini the Prior General appointed him Visitator to investigate a complaint that had been made about that house. Later Peter was professor in Venice.

Greatly devoted to the Passion of Christ, Peter made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to visit the tomb of Jesus.

The date of Peter's death is not known. We know that he was still living in 1421, as there is record of the Prior General having written a letter to him on February 20 of that year.

Both Peter and John died at Fabriano. Their remains are preserved at the Church of Saint Augustine there.



Blessed Magdalene Albrici


17th of July

Magdalene (1415?-1465) was noted for her love for all and her purity of life. She was a great promoter of the Augustinian way of life.

Born in Como, Italy, around the year 1415, Magdalene was raised in a noble and well-to-do family. She was given a good Christian education as a child.

At the age of 20, she decided to entered a religious community. At first she was going to join the Benedictines. But she changed her mind and chose to join a poorer and more remote community that followed the Rule of Augustine.

As more and more women came to join that community, Magdalene wished that the sisters there would be officially received into the Order of Saint Augustine. In 1455, the Augustinians of Lombardy did accept Magdalene's convent into the Order.

She was responsible for many other women, and even some men, becoming affilited with the Augustinians. She founded a large number of Augustinian convents. She promoted the Secular Augustinians, in which lay people came to know and live according to the ideals of Augustine.

When she was named Superior, her attitude was one of service to her sisters, rather than one of wielding power. By word and by example, she urged her sisters to seek holiness above all. She revived simplicity and austerity in the religious communities of her area. She succeeded because she would never ask others to do anything that she did not do herself.

Magdalene was often sought out for spiritual counsel, and had a great influence on the religious spirit of her time. Her selfless devotion to and care for the sick and needy was an inspiration to all. In her last years, she herself suffered from a serious illness.

Magdalene died either May 13 or 15, 1465. Pope Pius X declared her Blessed in 1907. Her remains are preserved at the Cathedral of Como.



Blessed Anthony della Torre of l'Aquila


24th of July

Anthony della Torre (1427-1494) was a physician and surgeon before becoming an Augustinian. He was known for his care of the sick and his preaching.

Born in Milan, Italy in 1427, Anthony studied medicine at the University of Pavia. He was a surgeon in Milan for several years.

Against the wishes of his family, he joined the Augustinian Order in Lombardy. Later, he transferred to the Augustinians in Perugia, who were stricter than those in Lombardy. He lived in Foligno for several years.

Anthony made a pilgrimage to Saint James of Compostela in Spain. There he used his medical skills to care for poor people who were sick. In 1464 he began a ten-year apostolic journey. He travelled to several parts of Spain, France and Italy, caring for the sick and preaching the Gospel.

At the end of his journey, Anthony was assigned to the monastery of Aquila. For the next 18 years, he was spiritual director of the Augustinian Nuns in the Monastery of Saint Lucy there. He also promoted the Augustinian Seculars, in which lay people came to know and live the ideals of Augustine.

He died July 24, 1494 in Aquila. He was first buried at the Church of Saint Bernard. Later his body was moved to the church at the Augustinian Monastery of Sant'Amico in Aquila.



Blessed Lucy Bufalari of Amelia


27th of July

Lucy Bufalari of Amelia (died 1350) belonged to an Augustinian Third Order community.

Born in Castel Porchiano, Amelia, Italy, Lucy is thought to have been the sister of Blessed John of Rieti.

Little is known of her life. She was Superior of her Third Order Augustinian community in Amelia.

She died young July 27, 1350. Following her death, people of Amelia acclaimed her as a holy woman. Her remains are preserved ath the former Augustinian church of Amelia.



Blessed John Bufalari of Rieti


2nd of August

John Bufalari (1318?-1336?) was born in Castel Porchiano, Amelia, Italy. He is believed to be the brother of Blessed Lucy Bufalari of Amelia.

John entered the Augustinian Order while still in his teens. He was noted for his innocence, simplicity and love for his Augustinian community. He conisdered himself to be the servant of all, and showed great fraternal love in caring for the sick and welcoming guests to the monastery. He spent much time in prayer.

There is a story told about John crying after having spent some time in the monstery garden. Asked what was wrong, he answered that while the plants, trees and birds were obedient to God, men and women, to whom eternal life is promised, are disobedient to their creator.

John died in Rieti around the year 1336. He was only 17 years old.

His remains are preserved at Saint Augustine Church in Rieti. Pope Gregory XVI proclaimed him Blessed in 1832.



Saint Clare of Montefalco


17th of August

Clare (1268?-1308) was an Augustinian nun noted for her devotion to the Passion of Christ. For that reason, she is sometimes called Clare of the Cross.

In her community of sisters, she was a model of religious life according to the ideals of Augustine. As superior of her convent, she constantly urged her sisters to practice self-denial and to seek holiness. She was given the gift of knowledge, which she used to defend the Christian faith.

Clare was born in Montefalco, Italy, around 1268. While still young, she went to live with her sister Joan, who had established a community of cloistered nuns. Together they would spend long hours in prayer.

As a young woman she became a member of that community, professing religious vows under the Rule of Saint Augustine. Soon after, she experienced a great trial. Her heart was filled daily with spiritual turmoil. She lost any sense of pleasure in prayer. Temptations assaulted her. She wondered if God had abandoned her. All this continued for 11 years.

After Joan, who was Abbess of the community, died, Clare was chosen to succeed her. At first she refused the office. But the nuns kept insisting that only Clare was called to serve as Abbess. So she reluctantly accepted. Clare was a wise Abbess who governed with love and holiness. She continued to serve as Abbess until the time of her death August 17, 1308.

Her wisdom and holiness soon became known to people outside the monastery. Troubled persons, including Bishops, Priests, Friars, theologians, judges, educated and illiterate alike, came seeking Clare's counsel. Her advice was scriptural and logical, and almost always right on target.

Because of her great love for the Cross of Jesus, she used to say that she bore that Cross in her heart. After her death, a post-mortem examination revealed that her heart did indeed contain a representation of the Cross and other symbols of Christ's suffering and death.

Her remains are at the Augustinian Convent in Montefalco.



Saint Ezekiel Moreno


19th of August

Ezekiel (1848-1906) was an Augustinian Recollect known for his simple and open spirit. He was deeply devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He ministered for many years in foreign lands. He stongly defended the rights of the Church.

He was born in Alfaro, Logrono, Spain, April 9, 1848. His family was poor in material goods but committed in faith. Ezekiel professed his vows as an Augustinian Recollect in 1865. He was ordained a priest in Manila, Philippines in 1871.

During the next 15 years, he worked at bringing the Gospel of Jesus to the people of the Philippines. He was called back to Spain in 1885. There he served as Rector of the College and Novitiate of Monteagudo.

He then went to Colombia in 1888, where he devoted himself to missionary activity. He also brought renewal to the Augustinian Recollect communities in the region where he was living and working.

Ezekiel was in 1894 named the first Vicar Apostolic of Casanare, and ordained bishop of Pasto, where he remained until 1906. During this time there was war in Colombia. Ezekiel showed himself a voice of strength for his people.

In 1906 a diagnosis of cancer caused him to reluctantly return to Spain for treatment.

There he died August 19, 1906. He was beatified by Pope Paul VI in 1975 and canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1992.



Augustinian Martyrs of Gafsa (Africa)


Saints Liberatus, Boniface, Servus, Rusticus, Rogatus, Septimus, Maximus

26th of August

Augustine had founded several monasteries in northern Africa, where numerous followers of the Augustinian ideals of monastic community life lived.

Only 34 years after the death of Augustine, in 484, King Hunmeric issued a decree that all monasteries were to be abolished, and the monks and nuns were to be handed over to the Moors.

Seven brothers from the monastery of Gafsa, Tunisia, were arrested. They were the Deacon Boniface, the Subdeacons Servus and Rusticus, their Abbot Liberatus and the monks Rogatus, Septimus and Maximus.

They were forcefully taken to Carthage. There they were at first offered worldly rewards if only they would renounce Christ and their Augustinian way of life.

When they steadfastly remained faithful to Jesus, they were thrown into prison. At first, Christians from Carthage bribed the jailers, who permitted them to offer material and spiritual support to the prisoners.

When the King learned of this, he ordered that the seven captives be burned to death. Before imposing this cruel execution, the King's soldiers made particular efforts to persuade the youngest monk, Maximus, to escape death by denying Christ. Maximus refused to do this, proclaiming his allegiance to God and to his brothers in Augustine.

The soldiers tied bundles of dry wood to the seven monks and placed them on an old boat or raft. However, when they tried to set the wood on fire, they were not able to make the wood burn. At this the King became very angry. He then commanded that the monks be beaten to death.

The seven died for the sake of Christ, united in their faith and Augustinian fraternity.



Saint Monica - Mother of Saint Augustine


27th of August

Saint Monica (331?-387) was the mother of Saint Augustine.

Born in Tagaste (now known as Souk Ahras in Algeria) in either 331 or 332, Monica was raised in a Christian family.

She married Patricius, a pagan who served on the City Council of Tagaste. Augustine was the couple's eldest son. In the Confessions, Augustine says that she married young, and was a good and patient wife who was generous to her husband. He further notes that Monica had a cordial relationship with her mother-in-law, and was a peacemaker.

Monica was a good mother, but Augustine, as a young man, did not follow her example of Christian faith. Monica prayed continually for her son, as well as for her husband. Both Patricius and Augustine did eventually become followers of Christ.

Augustine credited Monica with planting the seeds of faith in his heart. He called his conversion a return to the faith which had been instilled in him as a child. When Augustine and his friends would get together for philosophical discussions, Augustine would invite his mother to join them. Her wise comments helped nurture the faith that had begun to grow in Augustine's heart.

The conversion of Augustine, whose earlier ways had caused many tears, brought particular joy to Monica. She was present at his baptism. On her way back to Africa with Augustine, she died at Ostia, near Rome, probably some time in October, 387. Her remains are at the Church of Saint Augustine, Rome.



Saint Augustine of Hippo


28th of August

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) envisioned a form of religious community life in which the members would "live in harmony, being united in mind and heart on the way God." He wrote, or inspired the writing of, a Rule outlining the basic principles of this sort of life. Today Augustinians and many other religious orders and congregations still use this Rule as their guide.

A Bishop in Hippo (near modern-day Annaba, Algeria), Augustine was an influential leader in the African Church. As Christians were growing in their knowledge of God and Christ, Augustine helped to shape Christian theological teachings, particularly those about the role of Divine Grace and the nature of the Holy Trinity. In the process, he combatted many theological errors.

The son of Monica, a holy Christian, and Patricius, a pagan, Augustine was born in 354 in Tagaste (now known as Souk Ahras, Algeria). He was educated in the best secular schools of his day. As a young man, he led a distinctly non-Christian and immoral life. He lived with a young woman without the benefit of marriage. Together they had a son, Adeodatus.

Augustine became a teacher. He first taught Grammar in Tagaste. He then taught Rhetoric in Carthage, and later in Rome and Milan.

The young Augustine was continually searching with a restless heart for meaning in life. Each time that he would be attracted to a particular philosophy or group, he would become disillusioned the more familiar he became with its thought.

Finally, he found Jesus Christ, and at last was satisfied. "You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you," Augustine would later reflect on his earlier searching.

Shortly after his baptism as a Christian in 387, Augustine returned to Tagaste. There he gathered several of his friends together to share a common life of mutual support on their spiritual journey.

At the insistence of the Christians of Hippo, Augustine was ordained a Priest in 391, and Bishop of Hippo in 395. Unwilling to give up his community life, he called the clergy of Hippo to form a community with him.

As Bishop, Augustine ministered to the spiritual and material needs of his people. He wrote extensively. We have today a vast collection of his writing--113 books, 207 letters and more than 500 sermons. His most famous works are The Confessions, City of God and The Trinity. He contributed magnificently to the development of sound theology and was influential in combatting theological errors.

Although he is rightly famous for his roles in settling the theological controversies of his time, Augustine’s priorities were the pastoral care of the people of his Church and spiritual growth. He developed a deep spirituality in which love is central. He was particularly concerned with the needs of the poor, and saw to it that the Church welcomed and helped them.

Augustine died August 28, 430, just as the Roman Empire in Africa was dying, too, during the Vandal invasions.



Our Mother of Consolation


4th of September

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near the Cross, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold your mother." --John 19: 26-27

With these words Jesus was asking his Church, represented by the disciple, to console and care for his mother. At the same time he was asking his mother to console and care for the Church. From this arose the tradition that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a source of consolation for the whole Church.

Monica, the mother of Augustine, suffered much from her wayward son's early life of sin. According to an ancient story, she confided her distress to Mary, who appeared to Monica wearing a leather cincture (a type of belt). As a pledge of her support, Mary removed the cincture and gave it to Monica to wear. Monica gave it to her son, who, after his conversion to Christ, gave it to the members of his monastic community.

The traditional depiction of Our Mother of Consolation shows Mary holding the child Jesus on her lap. Jesus and Mary both hold the Augustinian cincture in their hands.

Devotion to the mother of Jesus under the title Mother of Consolation has been an Augustinian tradition for centuries, since the cincture that is part of the Augustinian habit reminds them of the compassionate consolation she offers to the Church.



Blessed Angelo of Foligno


6th of September

Angelo of Foligno (1226-1312) was at first a member of the Congregation of Blessed John Good. As the Order of Saint Augustine was formed by uniting various religious communities that were part of the Augustinian tradition, first in the 1244 Little Union, and then in the 1256 Grand Union, Angelo helped to form the new Order.

Angelo Conti was born at Foligno, Italy in 1226. Originally a hermit in the community of Blessed John Good, Angelo transferred to the Augustinians. He founded several monasteries, including the one at Foligno, where he lived from 1248 to 1258.

Records show that he was part of the Augustinian community in Montefalco, also founded by him, from 1275 to 1293. Other documents place him in the monastery at Gubbio in 1293 and in 1297. His last years were spent in the monastery in Foligno, where he died August 27, 1312. His remains are preserved at Saint Augustine Church in Foligno.



Saint Nicholas of Tolentine


10th of September

Nicholas of Tolentine (1245-1305) was a simple priest and Augustinian Friar who touched the lives of many.

His sprit of prayer, penance, austerity of life and devotion to the Holy Souls were notable. His preaching brought many to Christ.

Nicholas Gurutti was born in 1245 in Sant'Angelo, Pontano, Macerata, Italy. His family was rather poor.

He joined the Augustinian Order while a young man, after hearing the inspired preaching of Reginaldo da Monterubbiano, Prior (local superior) of the Augustinian monastery in Sant'Angelo.

As a priest and religious, he was full of charity towards his brother Augustinians as well as towards the people to whom he ministered. He visited the sick and cared for the needy. He was a noted preacher of the Gospel. He gave special attention to those who had fallen away from the Church. People considered him a miracle worker.

He often fasted and performed other works of penance. He spent long hours in prayer.

The story is told that, one day, having fasted for a long time, Nicholas was physically weak. While at prayer, Jesus told him to eat some bread marked with a cross and soaked in water in order to regain his strength. Thus arose the Augustinian custom of blessing and distributing Saint Nicholas Bread in his memory.

Another story relates that Nicholas, while asleep in bed, heard the voice of a deceased Friar he had known. This Friar told Nicholas that he was in Purgatory, and urged him to celebrate the Eucharist for him and other souls there, so that they would be set free by the power of Christ. Nicholas did so for seven days. The Friar again spoke to Nicholas, thanking him and assuring him that a large number of souls were now with God. Because of this Nicholas was proclaimed patron of the souls in Purgatory.

He is also considered the patron saint against epidemic disease and against fires.

During most of his adult life, Nicholas lived in Tolentine, Italy. There he died September 10, 1305. Canonized in 1446 by Pope Eugene IV, Nicholas is the first Augustinian Friar to be canonized after the Grand Union of the Order of St. Augustine in 1256.

The remains of St. Nicholas are preserved at the Shrine of Saint Nicholas in the city of Tolentine.



Saint Alfonso de Orozco


19th of September

Newest Augustinian Saint

Alfonso de Orozco, O.S.A. (also known as Alonso de Orozco) is the newest Augustinian saint.

Pope John Paul II on the Feast of Pentecost, May 19, 2002, canonized this Spanish follower of Saint Augustine.

Alfonso de Orozco was born October 17, 1500 in Oropesa, Province of Toledo, Spain.

His father sent him to study in Salamanca. There, inspired by the preaching of the Augustinian Thomas of Villanova, Alfonso entered the Order of St. Augustine in 1522.

In his Confessions, Alfonso recounts that during his formation, he was tempted to leave the Augustinians. The freedom of the times was very attractive, while he found difficult the solitude, the practice of obedience and other hardships of religious life. But he persevered, professing permanent vows and eventually being ordained a Priest.

He started a journey to Mexico in 1547 as a missionary. But a serious attack of arthritis during the journey made his return to Spain necessary.

Alfonso was a gifted preacher. He preached to Kings and simple people alike. For Alfonso preaching was a necessity inspired by the love of Jesus and done for the love of Jesus.

Alfonso was also a prolific writer. He had a dream in which the Mother of Jesus told him, "Write." So he began to write. He produced numerous books on Christian spirituality. At age 90, he was still writing.

Respect and love for the human person was a strong characteristic. Alfonso wished to remedy the needs and overcome the difficulties of everyone. The fact that he was not able to do this caused him great sorrow.

All this preaching, writing and caring for others flowed from Alfonso's prayer and contemplation. He felt a responsibility to transmit to others what he had received in prayer.

Alfonso's spiritual life was not without trials. For many years he battled scrupulosity and felt tormented by Satan. He overcame these difficulties with the strength that he found in prayer. He continued to seek God in prayer even when prayer brought him no pleasure.

At the age of 91, Alfonso became quite ill. It is said that at this time he became very aware of the presence of Jesus, Mary and St. Augustine helping him prepare for death.

Alfonso entered eternal life September 19, 1591. He was declared "Blessed" in 1882.



Augustinian Martyrs of Japan


Saints Ferdinand of Saint Joseph, Andrew Yoshida, Peter Zuniga, John Shozaburo, Michael Kiuchi Tayemon, Peter Kuhieye,Thomas Terai Kahioye, Mancio Seisayemon, Lawrence Hachizo, Bartholomew Guitierrez, Vincent of Saint Anthony, Francis of Jesus,Martin of Saint Nicholas Lumbreras and Melchior of Saint Augustine Sanchez

28th of September

Augustinians were first sent in 1602 to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of Japan. Many of the Japanese people did become followers of Christ. And many of these Christians were attracted to the Augustinian way of life.

 

However, around 1617 persecutions of Christians broke out. There were many martyrs, whose deaths gave witness to their faith in Jesus.

Among them were several affiliated with the Order of Saint Augustine. They were from four countries: Japan, Spain, Portugal and Mexico. Thus, their deaths also gave witness to the universality of the Order and of the Church, where the power of Christ and fraternal bonds were stronger than ties to a particular nation or culture.

Augustinian Fr. Ferdinand of Saint Joseph, along with Andrew Yoshida, a catechist who worked with him, were beheaded in 1617. Fr. Peter Zúniga was burned to death in 1622. Br. John Shozaburo, Oblates Michael Kiuchi Tayemon, Peter Kuhieye, Thomas Terai Kahioye, and Tertiaries Mancio Scisayemon and Lawrence Hachizo were beheaded in 1630. Fr. Bartholomew Gutierrez, Fr. Vincent of Saint Anthony Simoens, Fr. Francis of Jesus Terrero, Fr. Martin of St. Nicholas Lumbreras and Fr. Melchior of St. Augustine Sánchez were burned to death in 1632.

Other Augustinians had also been executed for their Christian faith during this long persecution.

See also Saint Magdalene of Nagasaki and Thomas Jihyoe of Saint Augustine.

 



Blessed Angelo of San Sepolcro


3rd of October

Angelo of San Sepolcro (died 1306?) was an Augustinian Friar noted for his humility, spirit of poverty, apostolic zeal and childlike innocence.

Angelo Scarpetti was born during the first half of the thirteenth century in Borgo San Sepolcro, Umbria, Italy.

Little is known of his life. He joined the Augustinians around 1254. He was at one time sent to England to help the Augustinians there.

He died around the year 1306. Immediately after his death, he was venerated as a holy man.



Blessed Sante of Cori


5th of October

Sante (died 1392) was an Augustinian Friar known for his powerful preaching of the Gospel. He not only preached the Word, but also lived in accord with what he preached.

Sante was born in Cori, Lazio, Italy sometime in the first half of the fourteenth century. He entered the Order of Saint Augustine while a young man.

So powerful was his preaching that, according to a report written soon after his death, people would listen with total attention for many days. His life was marked by a spirit of penance. He was called "full of God's grace" in an ancient document written by his fellow townsman Augustinian Prior General (world leader) Ambrose Massari.

Sante died in 1392. The exact date of his death is not known.



Blessed Anthony Patrizi and the Blessed of Lecceto


9th of October

Anthony Patrizi (died 1311?) was an Augustinian noted for his sanctity.

He was born sometime in the thirteenth century, although the date is not known. He belonged to a prominent family in Siena.

Anthony lived most of his life in the Augustinian Monastery of Lecceto. This was a contemplative monastery renowned for the holiness of its members.

The book A Brief Life of Some Hermit Friars by the Anonymous Florentine recounts this story of Anthony's death around the year 1311:

Anthony was travelling to Camerata to visit a friend, Friar Peter of Florence. He stopped at the Augustinian house in Monticiano to spend the night. During the night he died.

An elderly couple who lived nearby had been gravely ill for some time. The night of Anthony's death, their caregivers were looking out a window of the sick couple's house which faced the monastery. They saw coming from the monastery a brilliant light that appeared to touch the sky.

They thought at first that the monastery had caught fire. But as they watched they saw that it was not a fire after all. They concluded that there must be in the monastery someone whose holiness touched the heavens.

They called to the sick couple, who came to the window and saw the light. The couple began to pray, asking that the source of that light would heal them of their illness. Immediately they were restored to health.

They went to the monastery, told the Friars what had happened and asked to see the holy man. The Friars went to the room of their guest and discovered that Anthony had died that night.

The October 9 memorial recalls not only Anthony Patrizi, but also the entire Augustinian community at Lecceto, where the Friars were indeed "united in mind and heart intent upon God". --Rule of Saint Augustine



Saint Thomas of Villanova


10th of October

Thomas of Villanova (1486-1555) was known for his promotion of studies and missions in the Order of Saint Augustine, and for his love and care for the poor.

Thomas García Martínez was born in 1486 in Fuenllana, Ciudad Real, Spain. He spent his childhood in the family home in Villanova de los Infantes.

A gifted student, Thomas entered the University of Alcalá at the age of 15. He earned a degree in Theology in a very short time, and was asked to join the faculty of this famous university.

His reputation as an excellent teacher spread, and the prestigious University of Salamanca offered Thomas a professorship in 1516. He refused the position, instead seeking admission into the Order of Saint Augustine.

He professed his vows as an Augustinian in 1517 and was ordained a Priest in 1518. Recognizing his leadership ability, his fellow Augustinians chose him to serve as Prior (local superior) and later as Provincial (regional superior). In this position, Thomas encouraged a more faithful adherance to the principles of Augustinian life. He also promoted missionary activity by Augustinians in the New World.

Thomas grew into a deeply spiritual life. He lived simply, giving away the small fortune that he inherited from his parents.

Asked to become Bishop of Granada, Thomas refused, preferring the simple life to a life of power and prestige. Several years later, Thomas was asked to become Bishop of Valencia. When he refused again, the authorities persuaded Thomas' religious superiors to order him under his vow of obedience to accept.

He reluctantly accepted, and became Archbishop of Valencia in 1545. There he found an archdiocese in spiritual chaos. He began his episcopacy by visiting every parish in the Archdiocese to discover what were the needs of the people. He then set up programs in which funds provided by the wealthy would help to provide for the poor.

In order to have a well-formed clergy, Thomas started Presentation Seminary in 1550. He established schools where the young would have access to a quality education. He turned his own home into a sort of soup kitchen and shelter, giving to the poor and the homeless food to eat and a place to sleep. For that reason he was known as Beggar Bishop and Father of the Poor.

Thomas became ill in 1551. As his illness progressed and he grew weaker, he gave away all of his remaining possessions. He died September 8, 1555 in Valencia. His remains are preserved at the Cathedral there.



Blessed Elias del Socorro Nieves


11th of October

Elías del Socorro Nieves (1882-1928) was martyred during a twentieth century persecution of the Church in Mexico.

 

Mateo Elías Nieves del Castillo was born September 21, 1882 on the Island of San Pedro, Yuriría, Guanajuato, Mexico. His parents, Rita and Ramón, were farmers. Mateo Elías was raised in a deeply religious atmosphere.

He wanted to become a Priest from an early age. When he was 12, he nearly died from tuberculosis. Shortly after he recovered, his father was killed by robbers. Mateo Elí had to drop out of school and work on the farm to support his family.

In 1904, in spite of his minimal early education, he was admitted to the newly opened Augustinian seminary in Yuriría. Studies were not easy for him, and were made even more difficult by poor eyesight.

But he continually felt the help of God. When he professed his vows as an Augustinian, he changed his name to Elías del Socorro (help) in grateful recognition of the help God had given to him.

After being ordained a Priest in 1916, he served in parishes. He was sent to La Cañada de Caracheo in 1921. This was an obscure, poor, primitive town of some 3000 persons. There, in conditions of poverty, he ministered to both the spiritual and material needs of the people.

When a persecution of the Catholic Church began in Mexico in 1926, Elías defied a government order to leave La Cañada. Instead, he went to live in a cave, ministering to the faithful under cover of night.

After 14 months of this clandestine life, he was arrested, along with two ranchers who were with him. Elías readily admitted that he was a Priest, and proclaimed his faith in Jesus Christ.

After their arrest, the prisoners and their soldier captors set out for a nearby town. Along the way, the Captain ordered the two ranchers, José de Jesús Sierra and his brother José Dolores, shot. Refusing to leave Padre Nieves, they died courageously, proclaiming Christ as their King.

They continued on their journey, and a short time later, the Captain said to Padre Nieves, "It is your turn now. Let's see if dying is anything like saying Mass."

Padre Nieves replied, "You are speaking the truth. To die for our religion is a pleasing sacrifice to God."

After giving his watch to the Captain and blessing all the soldiers, Elías began to recite the Creed as the soldiers prepared to kill him. His last words were, "Long live Christ the King!"

His execution took place March 10, 1928.

 



Blessed Maria Teresa Fasce


12th of October

Maria Teresa Fasci (1881-1947) was an Augustinian Nun with high ideals who inspired a renewal of Augustinian life in her community.

Maria Teresa was born December 27, 1881 in Torriglia, Italy, near Genoa. She was Baptized Maria, but her family called her Marietta. When she was eight years old her mother died. Luigia, the oldest girl, took charge of raising the younger children.

Marietta's family lived comfortably. As a girl she was given a good education, absorbing solid religious values as well as knowledge of secular subjects. She actively participated in the life of Mother of Consolation Parish, which was in the pastoral care of Augustinian Friars. She taught singing and religious education, and was active in parish organizations.

Under the guidance of Father Mariano Ferriello, O.S.A., Marietta came to know and love the spirituality of Saint Augustine. The canonization of Augustinian Nun Saint Rita of Cascia in 1900 made a strong impression on the young woman.

Marietta felt a call to join the Augustinian monastery in Cascia, where Rita had lived. Her brothers tried to dissuade her from becoming a nun. Luigia, while accepting Marietta's religious vocation, could not underestand why her sister wanted to live in such an isolated and primitive place as Cascia.

Marietta was insistent, and, with Father Ferriello's help, made application for acceptance into the monastery of Cascia. At first her request was denied. The Abbess believed that a woman who had been raised in a prosperous family enjoying all the conveniences of city life would never be able to adjust to the harsh life in the remote mountain town of Cascia.

She applied a second time and, in 1906 was finally accepted. She professed her vows as an Augustinian in 1907, and was given the name Teresa Eletta.

Although she thought at first that she had found Paradise, Maria Teresa soon discovered that the Cascia monastery had some serious problems. A group of younger nuns from another monastery joined the Cascia community. Soon there arose great tension between the young newcomers and the sisters who had been part of the Cascia monastery for many years. Lax observance of the tenets of religious life had displaced a spirit of prayer.

Disillusioned, Maria Teresa left the community in 1910. However, she returned in 1911, intending to bring about a revival of Augustinian spirit and observance in the monastery. She began by writing letters to her superiors denouncing the lax situation in Cascia.

Her superiors responded by naming her Director of Novices in 1914. In 1920 she was elected Abbess, a position she held for the next 27 years.

As Abbess, she governed with wisdom and prudence, with kindness but firmness. She was authoritative, but not authoritarian. She guided the nuns to a renewal of prayer, meditation and work. Gradually, the community became a model of Augustinian life.

One of Maria Teresa'a goals was to build a new orphanage for girls and a larger church to receive the many pilgrims going to the place where Saint Rita had lived. The first thing she did was start a newsletter called From the Bees to the Roses, which is still published today. This newsletter helped publicize the need for funds to finance the new construction.

Donations started coming in, but construction was slow because of poor economic conditions and World War II. It took 22 years to complete the building project. The campaign began in 1925. The orphanage opened in 1938, but the new basilica was not dedicated until 1947.

After the opening of the orphanage, Maria Teresa delighted in caring for the girls there. She not only instructed them, but also took time to play with them, an activity which she loved. She called the orphan girls her "bees".

The story is told that during World War II, German SS troops violently forced their way into the monastery, seeking members of the opposition whom they thought to be hiding there. Maria Teresa was not intimidated by the soldiers. She resolutely kept them from bothering both the nuns and the orphans. The soldiers calmly departed after the Abbess had spoken with them.

Plagued with health problems, Maria Teresa accepted her aches and pains, which she called "her treasure". She suffered from painful breast cancer, for which she twice underwent surgery. She had asthma, diabetes, heart problems and poor circulation. She was quite heavy and had great difficulty walking.

Maria Teresa did not live to see the completion of the new basilica. She died January 18, 1947. Pope John Paul II declared her Blessed in 1997.



Blessed Gonzalo of Lagos


14th of October

Gonzalo (1360?-1422) was a distinguished theologian and noted preacher who preferred to instruct children and the uneducated.

Born around 1360 in Lagos, Algarve, Portugal, Gonzalo was the son of a fisherman. When he was about 20 years old, he entered the Augustinians. He became an eminent theologian, but would not use the title Master.

Gonzalo loved giving religious instruction to children and to those with little formal education. He was noted as an excellent preacher. He was also a gifted artist, and used this talent to illustrate liturgical books.

He was religious superior in several Augustinian monasteries, where he enjoyed serving his brothers even in the most menial ways. It is said that when he was Prior of the monastery in Torres Vedras, the community was so poor that it could not buy enough food for its members. The local Bishop would often provide food, which Gonzalo would carry home on his back. When the Bishop discovered this, he started to donate money instead of heavy groceries.

Gonzalo died October 15, 1422 at Torres Vedras, located in the Diocese of Faro. His remains are preserved at the Faro Cathedral, where he is revered as the patron of the youth of the Diocese, as well as of fishermen and sailors. Pope Pius VI declared him Blessed in 1778.



Saint Magdalene of Nagasaki


20th of October

Magdalene of Nagasaki (died 1634), an Augustinian Tertiary in Japan, in spite of great danger and difficulty, remained faithful to Jesus Christ until her martyrdom.

Born in the early seventeenth century, Magdalene belonged to a devout Christian family. Her parents were martyred around 1620, when Magdalene was in her teens.

It was around this time that the first Augustinians arrived in Japan. As a committed Christian, Magdalene made herself known to them. She served as a catechist and interpreter for the early Augustinian missionaries.

She found their Augustinian spirituality appealing, with its emphasis on the search for God, interiority, and community. She asked to be accepted into the Order of Saint Augustine, and in 1625 was formally received into the Augustinian Third Order.

Being a Christian in Japan became more and more difficult, as the persecution became stronger. Magdalene fled to the hills, where she worked at bringing the Word of God to those who did not know Jesus, and strengthing the faith of those who did.

In 1632 the Augustinians Francis of Jesus Terrero and Vincent of Saint Anthony Simoens, who had been her first counselors, were burned to death because of their Christian faith. This served to make Magdalene's faith and commitment to Christ even stronger. She located two other Augustinian Friars, Martin of Saint Nicholas Lumbreras and Melchior of Saint Augustine Sánchez. They continued to develop her appreciation and practice of Augustinian spirituality.

Eventually these two Friars were also martyred. Magdalene then took as her spiritual guide Jordan of Saint Stephen, a Dominican. Since Dominicans also follow the Rule of Augustine, the spirit of Augustine continued to grow in her.

She considered becoming a full-fledged Dominican sister, but continued religious persecution kept her from doing so.

Moved by her strong Christian conviction, Magdalene voluntarily declared herself a follower of Jesus. She was threatened, ridiculed and tortured, but her Christian witness was strong.

After 13 days of torture, wearing her Augustinian habit, Magdalene was suspended upside down in a pit of garbage. Then her body was burned and her ashes scattered. Pope John Paul II canonized her in 1987.



Saint William the Hermit


23rd of October

William (died 1157) was a holy hermit and lover of contemplative prayer.

Born in France, William led a life of sin as a young man. Following his conversion to Christ, made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Upon his return, he sought a place of solitude in Tuscany, Italy, where he lived as a hermit. He unsuccessfully attempted to bring about reforms in the hermit life there.

After this failure, he moved to a hermitage at Malavalle, Grossetto, Italy. He remained there, living a life of prayer, silence, fasting and penance until his death February 10, 1157.

He neither founded a Religious Order nor wrote a Rule of life. But two of his followers formed the Order of Saint William, also known as Williamites, shortly after William's death. One of them, named Albert, composed a Rule, which he entitled The Rule of St. William.

At the time of the Augustinian Grand Union in 1256, when many diverse religious groups were incorporated into the Augustinian Order, the Williamites were among those who became Augustinians.

However, this union did not work well, and many former Williamites withdrew from the Augustinians a short time later. Nevertheless, Augustinians have venerated Saint William since the thirteenth century.

William the Hermit is also known as William of Malavalle and William the Great. Pope Innocent III canonized him in 1202.



Blessed John Good


23rd of October

John Good (1168?-1249), sometimes called John the Good, was a hermit who was known for his trust in God, love of the Church and spirit of penance.

He was born in Mantua around 1168. John's father died while John was a boy. At the age of 16, John left his mother and wandered around various regions of Italy. For a time he was a court jester. He contracted a serious illness, which caused him to examine his way of life. He decided to change his ways, and, upon recovering his health, he became a hermit, leading a life of penitence.

For a short time, he lived a solitary life near Bertinoro. Then he moved to Butriolo.

He attracted many followers, as his reputation as a holy man spread. This group of hermits began to be known as the Order of Butriolo, after the Church of Saint Mary of Butriolo, which was next to their hermitage.

Witnesses in his process of beatification testified that John took part in the daily celebration of Eucharist in the church, and that he received Holy Communion with great devotion. He was humble, kind and loving. He urged everybody to be respectful of the priests, even if they did not deserve respect.

As a hermit John practiced prayer and penance. Although he probably did not know how to read or write, he preached to those who came to him, and guided many souls to a more intimate relationshhip with God. He established an association for lay people called the Brothers and Sisters of Penance.

The Butriolites did not have an approved Rule of their own, so Rome gave them the Rule of Augustine as their guide.

The Order of Butriolo joined the Augustinian Order during the Grand Union of 1256, when many diverse religious groups following the Rule of Augustine were incorporated into the Order.

John died October 16, 1249 at Mantua. His remains are preserved at the former Augustinian Church of Saint Agnes in Mantua. Pope Sixtus declared him Blessed in 1483.



Saint John Stone


25th of October

John Stone (died 1539) was martyred for refusing to accept King Henry VIII's claim to be supreme head of the Church in England.

Almost nothing is known of John's early years or of his life and activities as an Augustinian.

The Parliament of England in 1534 approved a law known as the Act of Supremacy. This Act proclaimed King Henry VIII the supreme head of the Church in England.

Four years later, an official of the King arrived in Canterbury to close all the monasteries and to obtain the written assent of every single Friar to the provisions of the Act of Supremacy. The official first went to the monasteries of several other Orders. Then they went to Austin Friars, the Augustinian house where John was a member. All the other Augustinian Friars signed the document, but John refused.

John was arrested and thrown into prison in the Tower of London. He remained firm in his refusal to accept the King as head of the Church. While in jail, he spent many hours in prayer. One day, God spoke to him, encouraging him to be of good heart and to remain steadfast in his belief, even if it meant death. From this point on, John felt great strength.

John was tried and convicted of treason in 1539. Right after Christmas of that year, a slow procession passed through the streets of Cangerbury. The prisoner John was being taken through the city to a hill outside the city walls. There he was hanged, drawn and quartered. Because he was considered a traitor, his head and body were put on display at the entrance to the city.

In the account books of Canterbury, there appears an expense of two shillings and six pence “Paid for a half-ton of wood to build the gallows on which Friar Stone was brought to justice.”

Pope Leo XIII beatified John Stone in 1886. Pope Paul VI canonized him in 1970, along with 39 other English martyrs of the same period.



Blessed Peter of Gubbio


29th of October

Peter of Gubbio was an Augustinian Friar known for his holiness of life, his zeal and patience, and for working miracles.

Peter Ghigenzi was born in the first half of the thirteenth century. His family was part of the nobility. He studied law in Italy and in Paris.

When he was 40 years old, he joind the Augustinian monastery in Gubbio, his home town. He was respected by his fellow Friars. The Augustinian Prior General (world leader) sent him to France to conduct an official visitation of the monasteries there.

A fifteenth century book describes him as having "great patience and prayer, ... (ending) his life in the peace of the Lord, ... renowned for many miracles."

He died between 1306 and 1322. His remains are preserved at Saint Augustine Church in Gubbio.



Blessed James of Cerqueto


31st of October

James of Cerqueto (1284?-1367) was a man who consistently lived the Augustinian ideal.

Few details are known about his life. He was born in Cerqueto, Italy around the year 1284. He joined the Augustinian Order in Perugia. He was a model religious, diligent in prayer and strict in the practice of penance.

He died April 17, 1367 while at prayer. He was first buried at Saint Augustine Church in Perugia. In 1956 his body was moved to Cerqueto.



Blessed Gratia of Kotor


7th of November

Gratia of Kotor (1438-1508) was known for his humility, spirit of penance, love of the Eucharist and hard work.

Born in 1438 in Mulla, near Kotor, on the Dalmatian coast in former Yugoslavia, Gratia was a sailor as a young man.

One day, while his ship was docked in Venice, he heard Augustinian Simon of Camerino preach. He was so deeply moved that he decided to become an Augustinian Brother. He was about 30 years old at the time.

Gratia joined the Augustinian monastery at Monte Ortone, Italy in 1468, at the age of 30. Monte Ortone was noted for its strict observance of the Rule of Augustine and the Constitutions of the Order.

He worked primarily in the monastery garden, and distinguished himself by his virtuous life and love of the Eucharist.

Late in his life Gratia was transferred to St. Christopher Monastery near Venice.

Many details of his Augustinian life are not known. Seventeenth Century Italian biographies of Gratia are not reliable, because they are not based on well-documented research. But they do testify to the esteem that people had for him as a holy man.

He died at St. Christopher Monastery on November 8, 1508. His remains were preserved at St. Christopher until 1810, when his body was moved to the parish church of Mulla.



All Saints of the Augustinian Order


13th of November

On this day, the birthday of Saint Augustine (354), Augustinians celebrate not only those members of the Order who have been formally recognized by the Church as Saint or Blessed, but all those Friars and Sisters who, throughout the ages, have been made holy by the blood of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

In this celebration we give thanks and praise to God for the many gifts of holiness so richly found in the Order of Saint Augustine.

We also renew our commitment to walk in the footsteps of so many brothers and sisters who followed so closely the Way of the Gospel according to the ideals of religious community life taught by Augustine.



Blessed Frederick of Regensburg


29th of November

Frederick of Regensburg (died 1329) was an Augustinian Brother known for his generosity, humility, dedication to prayer and devotion to the Eucharist.

Many legends exist about Frederick, but documented factual information is scarce.

He was born in Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany. He joined the Order of Saint Augustine at Saint Nicholas Monastery in his native city.

Frederick worked in the monastery as a wood cutter and carpenter. His love for prayer, generous charity, devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and humility were evident to all in the community.

He died November 29, 1329 in Regensburg. He is buried at St. Cecelia Church, Regensburg. Following his death, many miracles were credited to his intercession. He is sometimes called Frederick of Ratisbon. Pope Pius X proclaimed him Blessed in 1909.



Blessed Cherubim Testa of Avigliana


16th of December

Cherubim Testa (1451-1479), who died at the age of 28, was an example of obedience, purity of life and devotion to the Passion of Christ.

He was born in 1451 in Avigliana, Torino, Italy. His family was part of the Italian Nobility.

When he was 20 years old, he joined the Augustinian Order. He was ordained a Priest in early 1479.

Eight months later, on December 17, 1479, he died. His remains are preserved at the Church of Saints John and Peter in Avigliana.



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