Origin and Charism
The Augustinian Recollects are a religious order formed by about 1,000 religious who, living fraternal life in community, want to follow Christ, chaste, poor and obedient; they seek the truth and are at the service of the Church; they strive to grow in charity according to the charism of Saint Augustine and the intensity of the Recollection, movement of interiority and evangelical radicalism.
First of all, dear brothers, let us love God; then, our neighbor, because these are the principal commandments given to us (Mt 22, 36-40). Rule of our Father Saint Augustine
In the sixteenth century, some religious of the Augustinians province of Castile, driven by a special collective charism, wanted to live with renewed fervor and new standards the way of consecrated life that St. Augustine founded in the Church, as articulated in his doctrine and example and ordered in his holy Rule. Something similar happened, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, in the Augustinian province of Colombia. The Augustinian Recollects are heirs of the way of life inspired by St. Augustine (354-430) and assumed in the thirteenth century with a mendicant spirit by the Order of St. Augustine (Great Union of 1256). After more than three centuries of history, in 1912, they were recognized by the Church as an autonomous religious order.
Their plan of life is that of a religious order, aroused under the impulse of the Holy Spirit and approved by the Church: living in communion with brothers, they wish to follow Christ, chaste, poor and obedient; they seek the truth and are at the service of the Church; they strive to achieve the perfection of charity according to the charism of Saint Augustine and the spirit of the recollection.
Way of Life written by Fray Luis de León, was approved by the provincial council in September of 1589 and, eight years later, it obtained the pontifical confirmation. Its fourteen chapters express the desire for greater perfection through a more intense contemplative and community life, and with emphasis on the ascetical practices of the religious life. It was first practiced in the convent of Talavera in October 1589.
The charism is an experience of the Holy Spirit that implies a specific way of being, a specific mission and spirituality, fraternal lifestyle and structure at the service of the ecclesial mission. The Augustinian charism is summarized in the unconditional love of God, which unites souls and hearts in community of life among brothers, and which spreads to all men to unite them in Christ within the Church. The experience of their own charism transmits to them the vitality that comes from the Holy Spirit, constantly renews them and impels them to undergo ongoing formation to be available for service in the Church.
The spiritual patrimony of the Order is the life, the doctrine and the Rule of St. Augustine, the “Forma de Vivir” of the beginnings of the Recollection and the witness of holiness of so many brothers who, faithful to the Spirit, have put in life to its history.
The Constitutions are the expression of the charism of the Order and propose the peculiar way of following Jesus responding to the vocation of Augustinian Recollects. They integrate the three constitutive aspects of the charism: contemplative love, community oriented love and apostolic diffusive love. The Order is made up of religious priests and religious brothers; all of them live their vocation by living a fraternal life in community and sharing a mission to fulfill.