Why Did We Join? Meet the Augustinian Men of Heart

The men that are preparing to become solemnly professed Augustinians and Augustinian priests are often referred to as Men of Heart.  This is largely because throughout our formation process, we form both the mind and the heart.  We do this not only through studying the works of Augustine, theology, and prayer, but we live together in community throughout the process.  This enriches our perspective as brothers living in community, united in one mind and one heart on the way to God!

In 2016, we have 37 Men of Heart studying to become Augustinians.  We'd like to introduce you to 23 of them below!  Shoot us a message if you have any questions!

Thomas Abbott, 21

Pre-Novice from Grand Blanc, Michigan

"I joined the Augustinians because St. Augustine's restless search to find peace and truth resonated deeply with me. When I read his Confessions, I was amazed by how much I could relate to the struggles that he went through, and the doubts about the Catholic faith that he had."

Favorite Saint:  Sts. Augustine, Therese of Lisieux, Padre Pio, Maximillian Kolbe, Pope John Paul II

Favorite Augustinian Quote:

"In the cross He showed us how we are to bear suffering.  In His resurrection, He showed us what we are to hope for."

Javier A. Aguilar Rivera, O.S.A., 33

Professed Brother from Choluteca, Honduras

"I joined the Augustinians because of their very human charism, which is living in community, brotherhood, and friendship. I couldn't find a real and warm Family-Community with such a wonderful sense of living in friendship anywhere else. The best friends that I have found in my life are Augustinians, and a good part of who I am is because of their love and care. Anytime I have needed their support, they have been there in one mind and one heart."

Favorite Saint:  St. Augustine

Favorite Augustinian Quote:

"You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in You.”

Fr. Brian Barker, O.S.A., 56

Professed Priest from Chicago, Illinois

"I joined the Augustinians because of their willingness to serve the Church in community in so many different apostolates: schools, parishes, missions, health care, etc. The Augustinians minister where their presence is needed to build up the Kingdom of God."

Favorite Saint:  Augustine of course!

Favorite Augustinian Quote:

"In the essentials, unity.
In the non-essentials, diversity.
In all things, charity."

Bob Carroll, 23

Novice from Chicago, Illinois

"The OSAs are holy men, but not just holy. They are authentic & true in fraternity & in the Gospel message. From laughter to prayer, I experience the sanctity of community life & hospitality, from the Eucharistic table to the table of fellowship."

Favorite Saint:  Sts. Augustine, Rita of Cascia, Thomas of Villanova, John Fisher, and Our Mother of Good Counsel

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 all believers. In order that weakness might become strong, strength became weak." (Sermon 190, 4)

Jeremy Hiers, 36

Pre-Novice from Hebron, Kentucky

"I joined the Augustinians first because I admire St. Augustine. Secondly, I admire the ideals, charisms, and love I witnessed during my visits with the Augustinians prior to joining. Third, I was attracted to the mission and ministries of the Order, specifically the teaching and ADROP (Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor) ministries."

Favorite Saint:  St. Augustine, St. Vincent de Paul

Favorite Augustinian Quote:

"Too late came I to love you, O Beauty both so ancient and so new! Too late came I to love you - and behold you were with me all the time."

Stephen Isley, O.S.A., 29

Professed Brother from Wichita, Kansas

"When I first read the Confessions of Augustine, I recognized myself in Augustine's words. The questions he asked himself about himself were the questions I was asking myself as well. As I read his conversion, my heart was changed as well. When I first met the Augustinians, I did not recognize myself in them in the same way at first. Over time, a different relationship was forged: out of many differences, we were becoming one heart."

Favorite Saint:  Sts. Augustine & Stephen

Favorite Augustinian Quote:

"Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you."

Sam Joutras, 23

Novice from Joliet, Illinois

"I joined the Augustinians because I had a strong interest in the religious life and priesthood after attending an Augustinian high school (Providence Catholic) and parish (St. Jude). This experience introduced me to several wonderful Augustinian friars and showed me that there is a great joy in this way of life. The story of St. Augustine—his waywardness, searching, conversion, and ministry in the Church—is an inspiration for me and is a powerful witness to God’s constant reaching out to us and our thirst for God."

Favorite Saint:  Our Lady of Sorrows, St. Joseph, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Augustine, St. Rita of Cascia, St. Padre Pio

Bryan Kerns, O.S.A., 26

Professed Brother from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"I joined the Augustinians because of the relationships and spirit that I observed at the institutions at which I was educated, Bonner HS and Villanova University. The friars in both places modeled commitment to God, to each other, to the Church, and to all those whom they served. The yoke is easy and the burden is light—they carried themselves with integrity, humor, charity, and, above all, friendship. These communities were and are places where Christ was and is at the center."

Favorite Saint:  St. Augustine

Favorite Augustinian Quote:

"Let us seek with the desire to find, and find with the desire to seek still more."

Carlos Medina, O.S.A., 29

Professed Deacon from Barranquilla, Colombia

"I was inspired by the fraternity and the unity among the friars. The unity was not uniformity, but rather an appreciation and respect for individual gifts and differences."

Favorite Saint:  St. Irenaeus, St. Maximus the Confessor, St. Philip Neri

Favorite Augustinian Quote:

"Suppose you are going to fill some holder or container, and you know you will be given a large amount. Then you set about stretching your sack or wine skin or whatever it is. Why? Because you know the quantity you will have to put in it and your eyes tell you there is not enough room.

"By stretching it, therefore, you increase the capacity of the sack, and this is how God deals with us."

Richie Mercado, O.S.A., 36

Professed Deacon from Los Angeles, California

"I joined the Augustinians because of our emphasis on community life as the basis how we minister to the Church.  We develop communities out of our own Augustinian community. It is not about how an individual impacts the community that one is serving; but, rather, how the Augustinian community impacts the community that we are serving--in our parishes, in our schools, and in our missions. Keywords: Friendship and Hospitality"

Favorite Saint:  St. Augustine

Favorite Augustinian Quote:

"Love and do what you will."

Mauricio Morales, 25

Pre-Novice from Granada, Nicaragua

"I wanted to become a visible face of God's love for His people, and I felt that God was leading me here to love and to learn from men with the same desire and call."

Favorite Saint:  Saint Augustine of Hippo

Favorite Augustinian Quote:

"God loves each of us as if there were only one of us."

Nicholas Mullarkey, O.S.A., 30

Professed Brother from West Des Moines, Iowa

"I joined the Augustinians because I felt called to share communal prayer and life. Besides being drawn to the example of Augustine himself, I was also drawn to the long heritage of the Augustinians and the many ways that they serve."

Favorite Saint:  St. Therese of Lisieux

Favorite Augustinian Quote:

"Late have I loved Thee, O Beauty so ancient and so new; late have I loved Thee!" (Confessions 10,27)

Joe Murray, O.S.A., 58

Professed Deacon from Brooklyn, New York

"As Augustinians we seek to share everything in common, to be of one mind and one heart on our way to God - together. We seek to help one another to be more Christ-like, to be better servants to the holy people of God. These are not always easy tasks, and one must continually seek to grow in such a love.  In the Augustinians I find a great sense of welcome, hope, and enthusiasm for preaching and living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Favorite Saint:  Saint Augustine

Favorite Augustinian Quote:

"You have made us for Yourself oh Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You."

Nicholas Porter, O.S.A., 32

Professed Brother from West Des Moines, Iowa

"I joined the Augustinians because I was attracted by the example of the early Christians, just as St. Augustine was himself.  He organized his own community after their pattern, and still today we have the opportunity to follow after Christ in the same way, in a life formed by the Gospel."

Arturo Rentería, 39

Pre-Novice from Chicago, Illinois

"I joined the Augustinians because after serving in the Church for more than ten years, I discovered in them a true and sincere charisma. As Catholics we know that the center of all is the Eucharist. As servants of Christ we need a personal charisma to share the Gospel with truth. The Order of St. Augustine prepares servants with values of love, truth, and community."

Favorite Saint:  St. Martin de Porres and St. Maximilian M. Kolbe

Favorite Augustinian Quote:

"Let us praise him not only with voices, but also with behaviour. Let our tongues praise him, our lives praise him" (Sermon 254)

Joe Roccasalva, 25

Novice from Chicago, Illinois

"I joined the Augustinians because I had a strong desire to the priesthood and religious life. I searched through many different orders, but felt 'at home' whenever I was with the Augustinians. I came to know the Augustinians through both Fr. Tom McCarthy and Fr. Bernie Scianna who have helped out at my childhood parish for years."

Favorite Saint:  St. Augustine, St. John the Baptist, St. Rita of Cascia, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Thomas of Villanova, St. Joseph, St. Nicholas of Tolentino, St. Cajetan, St. Monica, St. Clare of Montefalco, St. Paul, St. Peter, St. John the Apostle, Our Mother of Good Counsel, Our Lady of Knock, St. Dominic, St. Cecilia

Carlos Rodriguez, O.S.A., 33

Professed Brother from Bayamon, Puerto Rico

"I joined the Augustinians because of the charism. I feel called to share the gifts God has granted me with others in community.  There is not a better life than living in friendship and loving care for one another.  Being called to brotherhood and priesthood within the Order of Saint Augustine has been one of the major blessings I have received in my life."

Favorite Saint:  St. Monica, St. Augustine, and St. Rita

Favorite Augustinian Quote:

"Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul."

Joe Ruiz, O.S.A., 41

Professed Brother from Austin, Texas

"I joined the Augustinians because one of St. Augustine's famous quotes, 'You have made us for Yourself O Lord, and our hearts are restless until it rests in you' attracted and paralleled my life. This endless search for meaning in one's life spoke to me a great deal. Much like St. Augustine, this endless searching found me referring to and encountering God in the Scriptures."

Favorite Saint:  St. Augustine of Hippo

Favorite Augustinian Quote:

"Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe."

Joe Siegel, O.S.A., 45

Professed Brother from Urbana, Illinois

"The Augustinians offered a communal vision of life, that is a sharing of goods, personal talents, and energy, that I believe offers the world a model to overcome the various oppression and injustices that confront the world. The foundation of Augustinian spirituality is community: healthy, just, non-
oppressive communities are necessary to achieve the well-being of all people."

Favorite Saint:  St. Edith Stein, St. Jeanne Jugan

Favorite Augustinian Quote:

"You can tell me, 'I haven't seen God.' Can you tell me, 'I haven't seen a human being'? Love your brother. For, if you love the brother whom you see, you will see God at the same time."

Patrick Thorp, 27

Pre-Novice from Schwenksville, Pennsylvania

"I joined the Augustinians because of the passion and restlessness that they have in serving and following Christ by their lives.  I admire their aspect of community life and find it appealing, to live for Christ and serve Him, in the company of others. I find the Augustinians' rule of having 'One mind, one heart intent upon God' very appealing, and wanting to live this rule out, to find myself and desire nothing but to love God."

Favorite Saint:  St. Patrick of Ireland

Favorite Augustinian Quote:

"You have made ourselves for Yourself O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You."

Jack Tierney, O.S.A., 26

Professed Brother from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

"I joined the Augustinians because of who they are and what they witness. 'United harmoniously in brotherhood and spiritual friendship, we seek and worship God and work for the service of God's people' (Constitutions no.13). Augustinians are men of heart, united in fraternity. Finding God in our inmost selves, we witness as a community the active search for God's word."

Favorite Saint:  St. James

Favorite Augustinian Quote:

"Your soul does not belong to you alone, but to all the brothers whose souls also belong to you; or rather, their souls and yours are not many souls, but a single soul, the one soul of Christ." -Letter 243

Maxime Villenueve, O.S.A., 28

Professed Brother from San Diego, California

"I sought a community where I felt like I could truly be myself and live in community. When I first met the friars, I was so impressed at how different they were from one another but yet even more importantly how they all loved and cared for one another. That is what Augustinian life is all about for me. One mind, one heart, (and one stomach!) on the journey towards God."

Favorite Saint:  Without saying Augustine, I'll say Monica, St. Lawrence, and Our Mother of Consolation

Favorite Augustinian Quote:

"And men go abroad to admire the heights of mountains, the mighty waves of the sea, the broad tides of rivers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars, yet pass over the mystery of themselves without a thought."

Philip Yang, O.S.A., 36

Professed Brother from Anaheim, California

"I joined the Augustinians for three reasons. Augustinian spirituality is about seeking truth in my life, becoming aware of my interiority, and brotherhood. We do these things together and strive to make each other a better friar. And of course we do this all in the love of Christ."

Favorite Saint:  Sts. Philip of Neri, Augustine, and Theresa of Avila

Favorite Augustinian Quote:

"Love and do what you want."


Patrick Murphy

Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel, 5401 S Cornell Ave, Chicago, IL, 60615, United States

Patrick Murphy has been working with the Augustinians in fundraising and communications since 2010. He began working with the Augustinian Vocations office in 2015. He also holds a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management.

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