The Augustinians In Rome
Though many religious orders have their headquarters near the Vatican, the relationship of the Augustinians with the Holy See has always been of great importance, as we are one of the few orders that does not have a specific historical founder. While Saint Augustine is our spiritual founder, our historical foundation came through the initiative of the Roman Curia. As the Augustinian Order has grown in membership and expanded the reach of its missions, Rome continues to serve as the center for leadership and an expression of the abiding Unity of our spiritual family.
The Parish of Sant'Anna
Located along the eastern walls, the Parish of Sant'Anna was formally entrusted to the care of the Augustinian Order by Pope Pius XI in 1929.
The Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo
A little over a mile east from St. Peter’s Basilica lies the true birthplace of the Augustinians - the Basilica of Santa Maria del popolo. In 1244, the hermits of Tuscany convoked here at the invitation of Pope Innocent IV to unify under the Rule of St. Augustine. Twelve years later, they returned to the Basilica and, under the decree of Pope Alexander IV, extended the reach of the Order beyond Tuscany in what is called “The Grand Union.”
The Basilica & Convent of St. Augustine
Across the Tiber, near the bustling Piazza Navona, you will find tucked away the Basilica and Convent of St. Augustine, which served for many centuries as the home of the Augustinian General Curia. In the 16th century, the Basilica was greatly expanded and restored, while a large section of the convent was given over to the creation of the Biblioteca Angelica (the first public library in Europe). In the late 19th century, however, the Basilica, Convent, and library were confiscated by the state and the community of friars was expelled. Though the Augustinians were later invited to return, the Basilica and Convent remain property of the government. Many pilgrims also visit the Basilica to pray before the mortal remains of St. Monica.
The Augustinian General Curia
Exit from the southern colonnade of St. Peter’s onto the Via Paolo VI and you will see the entrance to the current Augustnian General Curia - home to the Prior General and General Counsel, the Collegio Santa Monica, and the Augustinian Patristic Institute. Following the government seizure of the Convent of St. Augustine, the Augustine General Commissary purchased this small villa in 1882 to serve as the new center of the Order. Also transferred was an international community of professors and friars in initial formation, which a few years later expanded into what is now the Collegio Santa Monica. In the southeast corner of the campus is the Augustinian Patristic Institute, inaugurated by Pope Paul VI on the Feast of St. Monica, 1970.
The Papal Sacristy
Dating back almost to the founding of the Order, an Augustinian has always been appointed to the position of Papal Sacristan. Pope Alexander VI formally granted the Order with the care of the sacristy in 1497.