The Order's Beginnings
The Order of St. Augustine was not founded by St. Agugustine. It was formed in the 13th Centruy and is part of the Mendicant tradition. Mendicants have a lifestyle of poverty, traveling, and living in urban areas for purpose of preaching, evangelization, and ministry. The name is derived from the Latin meaning "to beg".
The Little Union
In 1243 some Tuscan hermits groups petitioned Pope Innocent IV to unite them all as one group. Pope Innocent IV issued a pastoral letter also known as a bull which urged these hermits to adopt the Rule and way of life of the St. Augustine, to profess the Augustinian manner of life in a way that they themselves would decide with regards to specific charism and apostolate. The union of these groups is known as the Little Union of 1244.
The Grand Union
Pope Alexander IV issued many bulls which commanded a number of religious groups to gather for the purpose of being amalgamated into the Order of Saint Augustine. The delegates from these small religious communities met in Rome. As there were more groups who joined the smaller group formed in 1244 this union is known as the Grand Union of 1256.
The Augustinian identity may be summed up as the search for God through a community i which we share our faith and life, and frm which a wholehearted service of the Church and the worl receives its emphasis and encouragement.
The flaming heart symbolizes Augustine's love of God and his brothers and sisters. The
Augustinian heart is passionately alive, with the desire to know God and experience divine love.
The open book symbolizes the Word of God, source of light and truth, and the quest for wisdom.
The arrow which pierces the heart represents the Spirit of God piercing our hearts, calling us to ongoing conversion and continued growth in faith, hope and love.