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  • Meet the Men in Formation

     Bobby Carroll

    Bobby CarrollAge: 21

    Stage of Formation: Pre-Novice

    Hometown: Chicago, IL

    College: St. Joseph College Seminary at Loyola University Chicago/Villanova University

    Favorite Augustinian Quote: “He lies in the manger, but contains the world; He nurses at the breasts, but feeds the angels; He is wrapped in swaddling clothes, but vests us with immortality; He found no place in the inn, but makes for Himself a temple in the hearts of believers. In order that weakness might become strong, strength became weak.” (Sermon 190, 4)

    What drew you to the Augustinians? After meeting friar after friar, I found the order to be a community of peace. From each community, I have witnessed an abundance of rich tradition. I love Holy Mother Church and Her saints, but the Augustinians share a devotion to plenty of their own saints. The order has never ceased to surprise me with wonders of their unity and love.

    Favorite part about being an Augustinian? Within the community prayer time, we voice the names of those friars who have gone before us in faith. There is a steadfast commitment to tradition and humility. The Augustinians realize that they are here today because of their predecessors.

    Favorite Saint: St. Rita of Cascia. In every stage of Rita’s life, from motherhood to sisterhood, she brought peace. Rita brought peace to her husband, her sons, and her religious community. Despite what she felt about her own will, she entrusted her life to Christ and service to Holy Mother Church. Her humility mirrors that of the Blessed Mother. Rita practiced obedience to God’s will. “Lord, let me walk along the path of sublimity with the feet of humility.” (Holy Virginity, 52, 53)

    Favorite Book: The Gift of Peace by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin

    Favorite Pastime: volleyball & watching hockey games

    Bryan Kerns

    Bryan KernsAge: 24

    Stage in Formation: Professed

    Hometown: Drexel Hill, PA

    College: Villanova University

    Favorite Augustinian Quote: “Seek with the desire to find and find with the desire to seek still more”

    What drew you to the Augustinians? Seeing the relationships among the friars during my time in high school and college and how the interacted with each other. The relationships are informed by our community life and unceasing endeavor in moving towards God with unity of mind and heart.

    Favorite Saint: St. Augustine, of course! Augustine’s spirituality speaks to the reality of the human condition in a way that few others can. There is nothing idealized about Augustine, he did not seek to describe a perfect system in doing theology, rather he attempted to articulate the realities of the human life in relationship to God by exploring its joys and challenges.

    Favorite part about being an Augustinian? My favorite part about being an Augustinian is the quality of the relationships we share with one another. There is a genuine, deeply authentic interest on the part of the friars to get to know their confreres. We share in the happy time and the sad times with each other, we look to each other for support and encouragement, for advice and correction when necessary, and for ways in which we can grow together.

    Favorite Book: Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, Robert Caro’s multi-volume work The Years of Lyndon Johnson, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and All the King’s Men by Robert Penn

    Favorite Pastime: golfing or going to a Phillies game

    Carlos J. Medina

    Carlos MedinaAge: 27

    Stage in formation: Professed

    Hometown: Barranquilla, Colombia

    College: UC Berkeley

    Favorite Augustine Quote: “When at last I cling to you with my whole being there will be no more anguish or labor for me, and my life will be alive indeed because it will be filled with you.”

    What drew you to the Augustinians? I narrowed my search to the Mendicants from the beginning because I have a Dominican uncle, and because I attended a Dominican elementary and middle school. While visiting a couple of Mendicant communities, I observed only with the Augustinians that there was unity, but that unity did not mean uniformity. I was drawn by observing friars with different political and theological points of views, different interests and personalities, caring for and enjoying one another’s company.

    Favorite Saint: Maximos the Confessor. I have been very touched by ministry with refugees, and Maximos was a refugee himself escaping violence from the Sassanid Empire. To me he was a paragon of a Catholic man in the sense of being truly universal, and hence bringing different worlds together. Although he’s considered a Greek Father of the Church, he reads like a Western scholastic. Part of his life he lived in the East and part in the West. He was a monk who spent a lot of time in contemplation, but he also engaged in ministry, theological debates, and an Ecumenical council. I’m also fascinated by his cosmology. Even though he was a brilliant theologian, his Christology was unpopular with Church authorities at the time, and after being found to be a heretic, he suffered torture having his tongue and his right hand cut off. He died in exile as a heretic. Clearly he was ahead of his time since his views were vindicated 20 years after his death at an Ecumenical Council, and his Christology became official Church teaching to this day.

    Favorite Part about being an Augustinian? Showing up at an Augustinian house in a different country and being welcomed like a brother. Why? Because I feel like I belong to a family present all over the world, and I’m very proud of this Augustinian family for revealing the human side of Christ to the world.

    Favorite Book: The Way of the Pilgrim

    Favorite Pastime: Dancing

    Cole Daniel Dryden

    Cole DrydenAge: 22

    Stage of Formation: Pre-Novice

    Hometown: Tujunga, Los Angeles, CA

    College: California State University in Hayward, CA (current)/ Los Angeles Mission College in Sylmar, CA (previous)

    Favorite Augustinian Quote: “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe…. if you believe what you like in the Gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself…. People hate the truth for the sake of whatever it is they love more than the Truth. They love truth when it shines warmly on them, and hate it when it rebukes them…. The Truth is like a lion, lays Low and eventually rises up and defends itself.” ~ Saint Augustine

    What drew you to the Augustinians? The fraternal community of all members of the Augustinians was intriguing to me. I also felt that Augustinian spirituality closely resembled my own and I felt God was calling me to the Order of Saint Augustine instead of pursuing to work towards the diocesan priesthood for the Los Angeles Archdiocese in a few years or so. I really enjoyed witness the strong brotherhood among the members of the Augustinians during each vocational retreat I was a part of over the years. I also enjoy learning more about Saint Augustine of Hippo and his great influence on the growing explanation of Catholic theology in the Church’s early years and how after being a sinner for most of his life, after repentance and surrender to Christ, became one of the most influential bishop, doctor and Early Church Father. On my first vocation discernment retreat with the Western Province of Saint Augustine in March 2011, I felt that I was home with them. In October 2011 during my second retreat, I felt the call from God in my heart that the Augustinians was the place for me and so I requested to our vocation director, Father Tom Whelan, if I may soon begin my discernment officially with the West Coast Augustinians. It took a while before I was to become a pre-novice since we both agreed for me to complete my general education at community college first. Now that I have started my life with them as a pre-novice, I am happy to be home.

    Favorite part about being an Augustinian? Living in community beginning my life as an independent adult, and learning more about Augustinian spirituality and the ways of life of the Order; the more I learn, the more I feel at home with the Augustinians.

    Favorite Saint: I have quite a few favorite saints, so to only pick one—my Confirmation patron, Francis of Assisi. Francis is my favorite saint mainly because of his feast day (October 4) is three days before my birthday. He gave up everything that he owned in being of a dignified family, in order to serve God and the Church through the ministry of the poor and sick. Francis was a mystical saint always focused on giving praise and thanksgiving to God in all that he had done even when times were difficult. He’s piety led him to establish the Order of Friars Minor even after hesitation by the pope to approve his order; and working to fulfill God’s call to rebuild the Church. His devotion to God in all living things great and small whether human or animal led him to receive the stigmata from Christ and to continually serving the Church through the lowly and downtrodden until his death.

    Favorite Book: don’t have one

    Favorite Pastime: reading, cooking, and relaxing by watching shows or movies on computer.

    Estimé Frader

    Estimé FraderAge: 32

    Stage in formation: Professed


Hometown: Saint Louis du Nord (Haiti)

    College:  Villanova University

    Favorite Augustine quote: “Ama y haz lo que quieras”

    What drew you to the Augustinians? The universality of the order in missions and service to the Church

    Favorite part about being an Augustinian?  The marvel and beauty of having brothers and friends all over the world

    Favorite book: Gouverneurs de la Rosée (Master of the Dew) by Jacques Roumain

Favorite Pastime: Reading good classical novels and watching Barcelona FC team playing soccer

    Jack Tierney

    Jack TierneyAge: 23

    Stage in Formation: Pre-Novice

    Hometown: Sun Prairie, WI

    College: University of Minnesota

    Favorite Augustinian Quote: “It is by loving that one becomes a member of Christ; becomes through love incorporated into the body of Christ… Love can never be separates, Choose for yourself what you love and the rest will follow.”

    What drew you to the Augustinians? Their joy! They are happy together and fulfilled in their service to the Church.

    Favorite Part about Being an Augustinian? Augustinian prayers and ministries. Interiority and the heart form the foundation to understand and serve the world. Learning this active/contemplative balance will lead to a fruitful relationship with Christ.

    Favorite Saint: Pope St. Leo the Great

    Favorite Book: Les Miserables

    Favorite Pastime: Camping and reading the News.

    Jimmy White

    Jimmy WhiteAge: 23

    Stage in Formation: Pre-Novice

    Hometown: Devon, PA

    College: University of Notre Dame

    Favorite Augustinian Quote: “Before you lies my strength and my weakness; preserve the one, heal the other. Before you lies my knowledge and my ignorance; where you have opened to me, receive me as I come in; where you have shut to me, open to me as I knock. Let me remember you, let me understand you, let me love you” (De Trinitate 15.28.51).

    What drew you to the Augustinians? Relationship. I have known the Augustinians since beginning that Malvern Prep in sixth grade. The quality and depth of the relationships I have with so many Augustinians has truly allowed me to see the face of Christ.

    Favorite part about being an Augustinian? Everything starts and ends in the heart. Our days are enveloped in prayer. To be able to gather myself in the depths of my heart in prayer as I begin the day, to then act upon what was found in the heart during the day, and finally to return to the heart at the end of the day is an incredible gift.

    Favorite Saint: Other than St. Augustine, I am drawn to the life and teachings of Saint Bonaventure. Like Augustine, Bonaventure recognized that our life is a journey to God. Love is the first step on this journey, and love is also the last step. The entire journey never loses sight of the primacy of love.

    Favorite Book: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

    Favorite Pastime: Crossfit, Running, Coffee

    Joe L. Ruiz

    Joe RuizAge: 39

    Stage in formation: Professed

    Hometown: Austin, Texas

    College: St. Edward’s University (Austin, Texas)

    Favorite Augustine Quote: “Nos creaste para ti, Señor, y nuestro corazón andará siempre inquieto mientras no descanse en ti.” Spanish version of “You made us for yourself O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

    What drew you to the Augustinians? One aspect about the Augustinians that attracted me is they are active contemplatives. Meaning they are both apostolic and contemplative. Developing a “sound” interior life, for me, is an important part of maintaining a healthy Christian life lived both interiorly and exteriorly.

    Favorite Saint: My favorite Saint is Teresa of Avila, because, like Augustine, Teresa maintained an interior dialogue with the God whom she loved. By her attentiveness to prayer, Teresa was able to experience in very unique ways God’s presence in her life, God’s inner working in her and God’s love. She is certainly a person that inspires me to a deeper relationship, experience and conversation with the God who transcends time and place.

    Favorite Part about being an Augustinian? My favorite part about being an Augustinian is the fact that we have a vast and rich history. From the early writings of Augustine to the numerous Augustinian Saints and Blesseds, the Augustinians have a special place in the greater Church.

    Favorite Book: Augustine’s Confessions

    Favorite Pastime: Mountain hiking

    Joe Siegel

    Joe SiegelAge: 42

    Stage in Formation: Novice

    Hometown: Urbana, Illinois

    College: Purdue and Eastern Illinois Universities


Favorite St. Augustine Quote: 
”…through the things you admire, you should come to love Him whom you do not see.” [Expositions on the Psalms 80,14]

    What drew you to the Augustinians?
 The Augustinian balance of contemplation and ministry as lived out in community.

     Favorite saint:
 My favorite saint tends to change as the Spirit leads me in different directions.  I do have a constant devotion to both Sts. Ambrose and Rita, but my saint du jour is Edith Stein whose quest to realize how the Divine inserts itself into the secular is compelling.  This idea is summarized somewhat when she writes, “it has always been far from me to think that God’s mercy allows itself to be circumscribed by the visible church’s boundaries. God is truth. All who seek truth seek God, whether this is clear to them or not.”


Favorite Aspect of Augustinian Life? 
Morning Prayer. Coming together at the start of everyday with one prayerful voice, interconnected with the men one lives with in a closeness upheld by Christ, is a beautiful and firm foundation on which to build a day’s labors.

    Favorite Book:
 In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen

    Favorite Pastime: 
Comic books.
 Favorite Pastime radically affected by the common life?
 Comic books.

    Luis Asencio

    Luis AsencioAge: 33

    Stage in Formation: Pre-Novice

    Hometown: Bronx, NY

    College: City College of New York (CUNY)

    Favorite Augustinian Quote: “Faith is to believe what you did not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe”

    What drew you to the Augustinians? I spent my life at St. Nicholas of Tolentinte, in the Bronx. When I knew when the time to answer God’s call came, there was nowhere else I wanted to go.

    Favorite part of being an Augustinian? Sense of brotherhood and community; the opportunity to meet/ interact with all the Augustinians who are here.

    Favorite Saint: St. Rita of Cascia because her story shows God’s love working in the face of tragedy.

    Favorite Book: Catcher in the Rye, 7 Men

    Favorite Pastime: Yoga, wrestling, singing, acting, theater, hat collecting, baseball (Mets), football (NY Giants)

    Maxime Villeneuve

    Maxime VilleneuveAge: 26

    Stage in Formation: Novice

    Hometown: Los Angeles

    College: San Diego State University (Religious Studies)

    Favorite Augustinian Quote: “Resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other person dies.”

    What drew you to the Augustinians? The biggest thing that drew me to the Augustinians was the joy I saw in the faces of the friars in my visits, and the family atmosphere in which the friars lived.

    Favorite Saint: St. Therese of Lisieux

    Favorite Part of Being an Augustinian? The camaraderie and fraternity with my brothers is my favorite part of being an Augustinian. Everything else flows from that.

    Favorite Book: “The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    Favorite Pastime: Yelling at the TV while watching sports, sampling new beers, and reading.

    Philip Young

    Philip YangAge: 33

    Stage in Formation: Novice

    Hometown: Cerritos, CA

    College: UC Irvine

    Favorite Augustinian Quote: “Do what you want, but you have to love…”

    What drew you to the Augustinians? Community Life, harmony of Community, historic tradition, confessions

    Favorite Saint: St. Augustine- his search for truth

    Favorite Part of being an Augustinian? Community life and harmony / Contemplative Tradition

    Favorite Book: The Great Gatsby

    Favorite Pastime: Aikido, swimming, having coffee with friends, going to movies

    Richie Mercado

    Richie MercadoAge: 34

    Stage in formation: Professed

    Hometown: Cebu, Philippines

    College: San Agustin Seminary (Philippines), DeVry University (Long Beach, CA)

    Favorite Augustine Quote: “Love and do what you will”

    What drew you to the Augustinians: Love and Commitment to Community as our first apostolate