By Fr. Jeremy Hiers, OSA
What is Augustinian Community Life?
Community is the “axis around which Augustinian religious life turns.”
The Augustinians are a community of brothers who seek to live harmoniously together, united in their search for God and service to the Church. Our community life is modeled after the teachings and example of Saint Augustine, who sought to imitate the example of the early apostolic community found in Acts 2:42-47.
Around the year 400, Saint Augustine wrote a Rule to govern the way of life of those who chose to follow his idea of community. This Rule continues to be the primary source of governance of the Augustinian way of life today.
Our communities are located in houses, monasteries, parish rectories, schools, and other residential locations through the world. The day to day life of our communities varies based on the ministries, schedules, and other factors unique to each community.
However, at the root of all Augustinian community life is a life shared in common; a life in which all the brothers, by sharing of themselves, construct a path to discover God in themselves and in one another. All have been created in the image and likeness of God, therefore Augustine calls those who follow the Augustinian way of life to mutually honor God in one another (Rule, I, 9).
This requires our day-to-day communal life to be centered around common prayer, sharing everything in common so that the needs of all brothers in community are met, a friendship that not only respects differences but also embraces them, and mutual care for one another among other key principles.
The daily schedules for our communities therefore include time for common prayer, common meals, reflection on the Scriptures and other spiritual reading (including reflection on the Rule), care for the common goods (e.g., house and car maintenance), and recreation.
All this allows us to not only live together physically, but to also live together spiritually, achieving not only “unity of peace and harmony” but also “unity of purpose, understanding, and heartfelt affection, such that all the religious should seem to be only one.”
At the heart of this shared common life and discovery of God in ourselves and one another is a recognition of the inherent dignity and equality of all people. Full communion can only be achieved when any sense of pride, power, and possessiveness are overcome by a spirit of love and unity among the members of the community.
 The Rule and Constitutions of the Order of Saint Augustine, no. 26.
 Ibid., no. 28.