St.Augustine Bishop and Doctor
Founder of the Augustinian Order
The Augustinian Order was founded by St. Augustine in northern Africa, in what is now known as Algeria. St. Augustine is known for his vast knowledge and sharp mind. He was professor of eloquence (rhetoric), and was an imperial orator, prolific writer, profound philosopher and theologian. Among his 400 books, his most famous ones are the Confessions and City of God. Being a pagan, he converted to the Christian faith at the age of 33 years of age in response to the prayers and tears of his mother, St. Monica. After his conversion, he returned from Rome and Milan, where he had been teaching in his own academy, to Tagaste, his native town. There, with a group of friends who had followed him into the Catholic Church, he started the Augustinians in 388 and wrote the Rule of Life, which has been adopted also by many other religious congregations. Many of the Augustinian houses lived isolated lives after the invasion of the Barbarians and later the Moslems. In 1256, the Pope Alexander IV formed one Augustinian order out of the many isolated groups. Later, in the 16th century, the Council of Trent asked for a reform of all the existing Orders. Out of this call a movement of renewal known as "recollection" started to spread within the religious groups of that time.
This "recollection" movement started also within the Augustinian Order, and in 1588 it was officially approved, giving birth to the Augustinian Recollects.
The Alhambra of Granada
David Arias as a young priest
Today, the Augustinian Recollects are present in Italy, Spain, England, Philippines, China, Taiwan, Sierra Leone, United States, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil and Argentina. Their main fields of work are: education, pastoral work in parishes, and missions. David Arias arrived in Monachil (Granada) in 1947 with ten other classmates and began his novitiate, which is a year of reflection, prayer and training in the way of life of the Augustinian Recollects under the guidance of an experienced man called Master of Novices. At the end of the year, he made his religious profession of the three vows of obedience, chastity and poverty, common to all religious congregations. Immediately after, he became immersed again in his studies, beginning his theological career that ended four years later. During his theological studies, David’s hobbies included soccer and handball, in addition to his directorship of the museum of natural sciences, bookbinding, taxidermy and pluviometry.
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