Augustinian Tradition

The Augustinian Order has always been aware of the enormous influence that Saint Augustine’s legacy has exercised on its apostolate of higher education. This legacy is not so much a philosophical or theological system of thought as it is a dynamic vision of people living in community united in "mind and heart" in the ardent search of Wisdom. For Augustine this Wisdom is the Divine Truth itself, revealed in Jesus Christ, for which every heart is restless. As universal Wisdom, it is pursued in common with all humanity and is achieved by open, intelligent, responsible, and mutually respectful interaction of points of view. From its inception, the Order contributed to this search through its educational apostolate, motivated by Augustine’s own vision that "God would like to sow in every soul the seeds of intelligence and wisdom."

In view of the Augustinian Order’s share in the rich cultural and theological legacy of Saint Augustine, its long history of involvement in education which spans over seven centuries, and the continuing contributions it makes to the Catholic character of the institutions it sponsors, the Order realizes that when it continues to identify itself with its institutions of higher education to the public, it thereby gives to those institutions the benefit of its still considerable name and reputation.

Despite its current limited resources and personnel, the Order will continue to encourage its members to engage in the apostolate of higher education. In doing so, it will be acting in the spirit and tradition of its early founders, whose own commitments to that apostolate called them to act on the courage of their own uncertainty. While it is true that any formal withdrawal of the Order’s corporate relationship to a college or university need not entail denial of that institution’s right to claim Augustinian founding and heritage, the continued influential corporate presence of the religious community whose members are visibly dedicated to the Augustinian vision is the surest guarantee for the preservation of those ideals. To insure its capability in the future effectively to impact higher education with its heritage, the Order must insist upon—both from itself and from the schools it sponsors—the minimal conditions specified above for the continuation of the formal partnership.

St. Thomas of Villanova