Augustine of Hippo is our founder and the father of an extensive Religious Family that follows his Rule, his teachings and his way of life. In these pages we approach his biography, his sensitivity, his way of life and his proposals to men and women of all times.

Thus passed more than a century of expansion and splendor. However, groups and societies also have their life cycles, like nature and man. In history, a stage of growth and greatness is often followed by another of stagnation and decline. This was the case during the fourteenth century throughout the Church, and also in my family, among the Augustinians.

They lacked the momentum, they settled on the laurels they had conquered, they conformed to a routine and relaxed society: little by little, they lost strength, illusion and spirit. They no longer demanded so much of themselves in terms of poverty, they consented to excessive community possession and lost sight of what they had learned so well from me: that material goods are good insofar as they serve to reach God.

The community suffered from this. I had instilled in them that they should be one soul and one heart turned towards God, that they should look above all for the common: that was the indicator and the measure of charity. Now privileges and exemptions are beginning to be normal; and my communities are stratifying into classes. And to think that the only privilege I admit is that which is demanded by necessity!

Those who have later studied this long period between 1350 and 1539 say that it was all due to the Black Death which, in the mid-14th century, killed one in three Europeans. Religious families were no exception. Then they wanted to cover the casualties of the plague and opened the convents to everyone, to people without a vocation, without training, to people who only sought to ensure their livelihood. Another cause -according to scholars- was the division of the Church, the so-called “Western Schism” (1378-1417): there were two or more popes, Christianity was divided into various obediences, and so was my Order, and every nation, and every community. Historians also speak of wars that never ceased, of the pagan spirit of the Renaissance…

So many causes weakened the spirit of my children and made my communities complacent with the relaxed world. What a pity! How beautiful was his original ideal.

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