Holy Father Augustine

August 28, 2014

Since the foundation of the Order of Preachers, Dominicans have followed the Rule of St. Augustine and venerated the saint under the title “Holy Father Augustine.” In addition to St. Augustine’s role as Holy Father to all the members of the Order, some friars have had such a strong devotion to St. Augustine as to take on his name as their own. In anticipation of the Feast of Holy Father Augustine, we asked several Dominican friars who bear the name of Augustine to reflect on his significance in their lives. Fr. Augustine Marie Reisenauer, O.P., who currently serves as adjunct professor of theology at Providence College and as an interim Catholic chaplaincy associate at Brown University, emphasizes the spiritual, pastoral, and theological richness of St. Augustine’s life and example: “What I find rather impressive about Augustine is the deeply incarnational way he approached God, himself, and the people of God. Augustine lived and breathed, searched and handed on his discoveries in the atmosphere of this world, a world fallen in its depths, as he well knew, but raised up and healed and even transfigured in the very flesh of his God, Jesus Christ.” Br. Augustine Marogi, O.P., who recently made simple profession and began his  philosophical and theological studies at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC, describes the importance of St. Augustine’s life in his own journey of faith: “I came across St. Augustine when I was making my way back to the faith. The first book I read was Confessions, which I found straight forward and easy to understand (except maybe Book X, which deals with memory).” Br. Augustine was inspired by the authenticity of St. Augustine’s encounter with God as manifested by the tremendous and lasting transformation that the saint experienced by the grace of God. Br. Isaac Augustine Morales, O.P., a student brother who entered the Dominican Order after earning a Ph.D. in scripture and teaching at the university level for several years, bears the name Augustine as a “devotional name” in addition to his “name in religion” of Isaac: “Among the many beautiful lines penned by St. Augustine, the one that kept coming back to me as I was considering religious names appears in Book X of the Confessions: ‘Late have I loved Thee, O Beauty so ancient and so new; late have I loved Thee!’ Joining a religious order later in life, a part of me regretted that I had waited so long to answer God’s call. But while Augustine expresses remorse over his sinful past, the keynote of the Confessions is his gratitude for God’s providential care for him. God patiently guided Augustine through the events of his life – both the joyful and the painful – to lead him back to the One in Whom his heart finally came to rest. I chose Augustine as a patron to remind me of God’s providential care for me and as a solace and a refuge whenever I am tempted to brood over the time I ‘wasted.’ From the perspective of divine providence, no time is wasted time.” Holy Father Augustine — pray for us! ✠ Image: Saint Augustine by Phillippe de Champaigne, c. 1645

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