Luis Asencio

Luis-Asencio.jpg

Age: 33
Stage in Formation: Pre-Novice
Hometown: Bronx, NY
College: City College of New York (CUNY)

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)

Favorite Augustinian Quote: 

Faith is to believe what you did not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe
— St. Augustine

Bobby Carroll

Age: 21
Stage of Formation: Pre-Novice
Hometown: Chicago, IL
College: St. Joseph College Seminary at Loyola University Chicago/Villanova University

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 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

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

Cole Daniel Dryden

Age: 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)

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 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

Favorite Book: don’t have one

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

Estimé Frader

Age: 32
Stage in formation: Professed
Hometown: Saint Louis du Nord (Haiti)
College:  Villanova University

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

Favorite Augustinian Quote:

Ama y haz lo que quieras
— St. Augustine

Jimmy White

Age: 23
Stage in Formation: Pre-Novice
Hometown: Devon, PA
College: University of Notre Dame

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

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)

Bryan Kerns

Age: 24
Stage in Formation: Professed
Hometown: Drexel Hill, PA
College: Villanova University

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 Augustinian Quote:

Seek with the desire to find and find with the desire to seek still more
— St. Augustine

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

Richie Mercado

Age: 34
Stage in formation: Professed
Hometown: Cebu, Philippines

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

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

Favorite Augustine Quote: 

Love and do what you will
— St. Augustine

Carlos J. Medina

Age: 27
Stage in formation: Professed
Hometown: Barranquilla, Colombia
College: UC Berkeley

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 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.

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