Priory ruins

Friends of Launceston Priory

At Newport, Launceston, Cornwall















                                          Augustinian Spirituality.
(With permission of Father Jainni, St Augustine’s, London).

  • Augustinian SpiritualityThe spirituality that is richly expressed in St. Augustine's writings is one of warmth and of love. The heart, which artists have often portrayed Augustine holding, is a key to this spirituality. For Augustine the heart is a metaphor for all that is deepest, truest and personal in one's self. He makes frequent use of the heart to signify the affective aspect of faith in God.
    Augustinian spirituality reflects the actual life story of Augustine and his experience of conversion. As a young man Augustine was restless and without direction. He pursued a long and painful search for truth that he hoped would provide him with rest. In the drama of his conversion at the age of 33 he felt his innermost heart lovingly spoken to by the Word of God. (This is represented above by the open book supporting the heart.) He wrote: "the words of your Scripture knocked at the door of my heart."
    Augustine's anguish suddenly left him and he now found direction in humility, as though an arrow from God had transfixed his heart. "You have pierced our hearts with the arrow of your love, and our minds were pierced with the arrows of your words." Conf 9,2. Indeed his heart seemed to burst into flame with love for God. "Your gift sets us afire and we are borne upward; we catch this flame and up we go. In our hearts we climb those upward paths, singing the songs of ascent. By your fire, your beneficent fire, we are inflamed." Conf 13,9.
    That the great spiritual events of Augustine's life took place in the company of others is of significance to his spirituality. Augustine greatly valued relationships with others. He reached out to people and touched them; he was in turn beloved and appreciated by them. Fittingly the spirituality reflected in his writings is based on love of neighbour and on community.
    For Augustine only a shared, communal vision is worth having. Thus he placed before people the ideal of love: "Be of one mind and one heart towards God." They are to build up community with one another, community in which listening to others and even authority are acts of love.
    In Augustinian spirituality love for God is experienced as love for one another. Where love for another person is present God is present too. "Honour God in each other". We come to God through love of one another, since love for a human being is much more concrete than love for God. In the teaching of Augustine human love has divine love running within it.

    The warmth of friendship is likewise essential for Augustine. "Without a human being who is our friend, nothing in the world appears friendly to us." Life shared with others culminates in friendship - the gift of loving and being loved. In his spirituality it is as important to relate to one another as it is to pray with them. Thus as we strive for union with others we do so in a shared love for God.
    Augustine models for us prayer of the heart, longing to know and to see God. In prayer we progress to God who is human happiness itself. "You have made us and directed us toward yourself and our heart is restless until we rest in you." Conf 1.1
    In Augustinian spirituality all good things come back to the one thing: love, the very centre of Christian existence.
  • Rule of St Augustine ( 0 )

The Rule of St Augustine
Saint Augustine based his rule on the ideal of the earliest Christian communities. Love and community are at the heart of the rule. Within his rule is something for everyone.
1. Before all else, dear brothers, love God and then your neighbour, because these are the chief commandments given to us.
2. The following are the precepts we order you living in the monastery to observe.
One in mind and heart
3. The main purpose for your having come together is to live harmoniously in your house, intent upon God in oneness of mind and heart.
4. Call nothing your own, but let everything be yours in common.
5. Those who owned something in the world should be cheerful in wanting to share it in common once they have entered the monastery.
6. But they who owned nothing should not look for those things in the monastery that they were unable to have in the world.
Humility the basis of common life
7. Let them not hold their heads high because they associate with people whom they did not dare to approach in the world, but let them rather lift up their hearts and not seek after what is vain and earthly.
8. The rich, for their part, who seemed important in the world, must not look down on their brothers who have come into this holy brotherhood from a condition of poverty. They should seek glory in the fellowship of poor brothers rather than in the reputation of rich relatives.
Exhortation to harmony
9. Let all of you live together in oneness of mind and heart, mutually honouring God in yourselves, whose temples you have become.
10. Be assiduous in prayer, at the hours and times appointed.
11. In the oratory no one should do anything other than for which it was intended and from which it also takes its name. Consequently, if there are some who might wish to pray there during their free time, even outside the hours appointed, they should not be hindered by those who think something else must be done there.
12. When you pray to God in psalms and hymns think over in your hearts the words that come from your lips.
13. Chant only what is prescribed for chant; moreover, let nothing be chanted unless it is so prescribed.
Fasting and abstinence
14. Subdue the flesh, so far as your health permits, by fasting and abstinence from food and drink.
Reading at meals
15. When you come to the table, listen until you leave to what is the custom to read, without disturbance or strife.
Consideration for the weak
16. If those in more delicate health are treated differently in the matter of food, this should not be aa source of annoyance for others.
Austerity and understanding
17. The rest should not want the extra they see given to the few; it is not a special privilege, but a help to support them in their weakness.
Concern for the sick
18. Just as the sick must take less food to avoid discomfort, so too, after their illness, they are to receive the kind of treatment that will quickly restore their strength.
19. There should be nothing about your clothing to attract attention. You should not seek to please by your apparel, but by a good life.
Behaviour outside the monastery
20. Whenever you go out, walk together, and when you reach your destination, stay together.

21. In your walk, comportment, and in all your actions let nothing happen to give offence to anyone who sees you, but only what becomes your holy state of life.

22. When you see a woman, do not keep provocatively looking at her. You cannot say that your inner attitude is good if with your eyes you desire to possess a woman, for the eye is the herald of the heart.

23. Indeed, if a person cannot keep his eyes off a woman and enjoys attracting her attention, he should not imagine that others do not see this, least of all by God.

24. When you are together, in church or anywhere else, exercise a mutual care over purity of life. By mutual vigilance over one another God, who dwells in you, will grant you his protection.
Fraternal correction
25. If you notice in a brother this spiritual ailment then warn him immediately, so that the evil that has taken root may not worsen and so that he may promptly improve his behaviour.

26. It is your duty to make known a brother's spiritual ailment lest he should become more corrupt at heart.
Severity in love
27. If your brother does not acknowledge his fault and accept correction the community must be informed. But let the matter first be made known to the superior alone. Thus, corrected in private, the fault can perhaps be kept from others.
Hate the sin, love the sinner
28. Let what I have said be carefully observed with regard to all other offences: to find them out, to ward them off, to make them known, to prove and punish them.
29. If anyone should go so far in wrongdoing as to receive secret letters or gifts of any kind, you ought to show mercy and pray for him if he confesses this of his own accord.
Common Wardrobe
30. Keep your clothing in one place in charge of one or two, or of as many as are needed to care for them and prevent damage from moths. Just as you have your food from the one pantry, so too you are to receive your clothing from a single wardrobe.
Put the community first
31. No one should perform any task for his own benefit but all your work shall be done for the common good, with greater zeal and more dispatch than if each one of you were to work for himself alone.

32. Every gift must be placed at the disposal of the superior so that, as common property, it can be given to whoever needs it.

33. Your clothing should be cleaned either by yourselves or by those who perform this service, as the superior shall determine, so that too great a desire for clean clothing may not be the source of interior stains on the soul.
In sickness
34. A brother must never deny himself use of the (public or thermal) bath when his health requires it. But this should be done on medical advice, without complaining, so that even though unwilling, he shall do what has to be done for his health when the superior orders it.

35. If the cause of a brother's pain is not apparent, you must take the word of God's servant when he indicates what is giving him pain.
Going out together
36. When there is need to frequent the public baths or any other place, no fewer than two or three should go together, and whoever has to go somewhere must not go with those of his own choice but with those designated by the superior.
The charity of fraternal service
37. The care of the sick, whether those in convalescence or others suffering from some indisposition, even though free from fever, shall be assigned to a brother who can personally obtain from the pantry whatever he sees is necessary for each one,

38. Those in charge of the pantry, or of clothing and books, should render cheerful service to their brothers.

39. Books are to be requested at a fixed hour each day, and anyone coming outside that hour is not to receive them.

40. As for clothing and shoes, those in charge shall not delay the giving of them whenever they are required by those in need of them.
The charity of mutual forgiveness
41. You should either avoid quarrels altogether or else put an end to them as quickly as possible; otherwise, anger may grow into hatred, making a plank out of a splinter, and turn the soul into a murderer.

42. A brother who is never willing to ask pardon, or does not do so from his heart, has no reason to be in the monastery, even if he is not expelled.
The charity of authority
43. Whenever the good of discipline compels you to speak harshly in correcting your subjects, then, even if you think you have been unduly harsh in your language, you are not required to ask for forgiveness lest, by practising too great humility towards those who should be your subjects, the authority to rule is undermined.
44. The superior should be obeyed as a father with the respect due to him so as not to offend God in his person.
45. It shall pertain chiefly to the superior to see that these precepts are all observed and, if any point has been neglected, to take care that the transgression is not carelessly overlooked but is punished and corrected.
46. The superior must not think himself fortunate in his exercise of authority but in his role as one serving you in love. Let him be raised above you in honour, in the sight of men; but, in the sight of God, let him humbly consider himself beneath you.
47. It is by being more obedient that you show mercy not only to yourselves but also towards the superior whose higher rank among you exposes him all the more to greater peril.
Final exhortation
48. The Lord grant that you may observe all these precepts in a spirit of charity as lovers of spiritual beauty, giving forth the good aroma of Christ in the holiness of your lives; not as slaves living under the law but as men living in freedom under grace.
The rule as a mirror
49. This little book is to be read to you once a week. As in a mirror, you will be able to see in it whether there is anything you are neglecting or forgetting.

Text from:
The Rule of Saint Augustine: Masculine and feminine versions with Introduction and commentary by T. van Bavel OSA
The Illustrated rule of St Augustine with illustrations by Sr Maria Rosa

  • The Life of Saint Augustine

The Order of St. Augustine (Augustinians) is an order of brothers - many of splat are priests - within the Catholic Church.
The Order was founded in two successive stages (1244 and 1256) When groups of religious living in Tuscany were united to form the Order under the rule and spiritual inspiration of St. Augustine.
Today there are over 2,700 Augustinians serving in around 40 countries in the various continents.
We are from the Province of England and Scotland.

The Province of England & Scotland

We are the Province of England and Scotland of the Order of Saint Augustine. The Order, named after Saint Augustine of Hippo (died AD 430),
are several Catholic monastic orders and Congregations of Both men and women living according to a guide to religious life known as the Rule of Saint Augustine .
Our Monastic Order is subject to the jurisdiction of the Prior General (of the Order).
This web site thus Represents lay fraternities and societies established under the name and teaching of Saint Augustine in the Province.

  • The origins of the Augustinians as an order stretch back to the 13th century. At that time in northern Italy there were groups of hermits mostly living according to the Rule of St. Augustine.
    These hermits formed the core of a new order of friars called into being by the Holy See in 1244 and 1256, in the wake of the other great orders of friars founded by St Francis and St. Dominic.
    Up to recently the official title of the Augustinians was 'Order of Friars Hermits of St. Augustine'. Now they are known simply as 'Order of St. Augustine' (O.S.A).
    St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), while not the actual founder of the order as he lived eight hundred years before its establishment, is regarded as its spiritual founder. The rule of life he wrote for those who lived with him in community in North Africa, the Rule of St. Augustine, is the basis of the way of life of every Augustinian community.
    It lays great stress on the common life and the search for God together. It is the oldest monastic rule in the Western Church, older even that that of St. Benedict.
    In the Middle Ages the Augustinians produced many saints, theologians and men of learning, one of the most notable of whom achieved fame after leaving the order - Martin Luther. After the Reformation, the order played a significant role in the great missionary thrust of the Church. They were the first to bring Christianity to the Philippines; many were martyred in Japan in the 17th century; and the first missionary to circumnavigate the world was a Spanish Augustinian.
    At the time of the Reformation there were over thirty communities of Augustinians, or Austin Friars as they were known then, in England and Scotland. None of these survived and the order became extinct. But the order did survive in Ireland, and it was from there that the Augustinians returned to England in the second half of the nineteenth century.
    In 1977 an independent province for England and Scotland was formed. A significant step in this movement towards the reestablishment of the Augustinians in this country was the return to Clare Priory in 1953, when it became the first house in England to receive novices since the Reformation.
    Today, Augustinians of many nationalities are to be found as parish priests, teachers, missionaries and servants of the Church in over forty countries.

  • St Augustine for Today

Augustine for Today Augustinian Spirituality for Today.
Few people have Influenced the life of the Church and the development of western Christianity more than Augustine. This man of towering intellect remains today a deeply significant figure in the history of the Christian community and the development of its theological understanding. In addition to his great theological work, Augustine so what a pastor, deeply Concerned for his friends and for the people of his diocese in North Africa, and offering much to them in discovering and deepening Their relationship with God and each other in the midst of everyday life. Above all what Augustine man of prayer who drew deeply on the Scriptures as his guide and inspiration.
As to aid in the search and the journey synthesis reflection / discussion articles are Offered in the spirit of St. Augustine. They are Principally designed for use by Those Who, in a truly Augustinian way, want to share the search and the journey with others, though They can, of course, so be used for personal prayer and reflection.
When using the leaflets in a group it is suggested that: the meeting begins with the invocation of the Holy Spirit; the Word of God and the thoughts of Augustine be read slowly. Each passage Should Be Followed by a short time of silence to allow the words to rest in the heart and mind; the reflection shoulderstand be read aloud and then be given Name time for silence, falling on Which Participants can re-read the reflection and have some time to absorb the ideas; Participants be asked to share Their initial reactions; When the discussion Has Concluded, there Should be a time of silence.
We search for God in order to find him with Greater joy, and we find him in order to keep on searching with greater love. De Trinitate 15.2

The Life of Saint Augustine

The Order of St. Augustine (Augustinians) is an order of brothers - many of splat are priests - within the Catholic Church.
The Order was founded in two successive stages (1244 and 1256) When groups of religious living in Tuscany were united to form the Order under the rule and spiritual inspiration of St. Augustine.
Today there are over 2,700 Augustinians serving in around 40 countries in the various continents.
We are from the Province of England and Scotland.