Introduction & What is the Rule of St. Augustine?


Introduction (1)

I am not aware that the Rule of St. Augustine commanded a very large share in the literary output occasioned by the observance of the fifteenth centenary of the death of St. Augustine (430). And yet, from the time he became a Christian, and definitely from the day of his return to Africa from Italy in 388 until the hour of his death in the year 430, Augustine desired to lead the cenobitic life. Thenceforth his life must have been marked by a characteristic spirituality. Recognition of this fact should awaken interest in the program which Augustine imposed on himself and his companions in the monastery or monasteries that he established. This can be ascertained from the Rule which he composed and which bears his name.

More than fifty years ago I made profession secundum Regulam Beati Augustini et Institutiones Fratrum Praedicatorum, and I have taught Church history nearly all my life. Hence I have often considered the question of religious rules, their nature and their successive appearance during the centuries. Much of what I have written here has long been known to me; but what concerns the nature and the origin of the Rule of St. Augustine has come to light only in these late years, and before I die I am happy to have learned, as I think I have, the nature of the Rule according to which I made profession. Augustinian monks and sisters, and even persons simply curious about religious history, should find profit in reading what follows.

Erudition and contemporary criticism are quite insufficient regarding the Rule itself, that is, on the legislative texts emanating from St. Augustine. Doubtless our first and chief attention should be focused upon those texts; but in consequence of an historic accident affecting the Rule, a bizarre accident, ignorance of which has since baffled criticism, we are obliged to study the Rule of St. Augustine from a period as far removed from the time of the legislator as the twelfth century, when the Rule was deprived of its first and its essential part; or even later, in the thirteenth century text, when the disappearance of its second part was threatened by the proposal of a project for the substitution of a Rule of St. Dominic for that of St. Augustine.

As the case requires, our study is divided into two parts; the general outline is traced at once in order to orientate the reader and likewise to satisfy the curiosity of those who, having neither the time nor the inclination to read more, simply want to know what this is all about.

Introducing the first part, under the title “What is the Rule of St. Augustine?” I shall study the three legislative texts attributed to St. Augustine. The most ancient (388) is a Rule, very short but very precise, which I shall call the Disciplina monasterii; the second, four times as long, is a later addition (391); it is in the nature of a supplement, or better, a commentary on the preceding one, to which it is attached by a transitional device to constitute a single whole: that whole is the true Rule of St. Augustine; lastly, much later (about 423) St. Augustine transcribed for a monastery of women the text of the commentary just mentioned; I shall briefly call this last text the “Transcription.” Presuming that it constituted the primitive Rule of St. Augustine, criticism has centered its attention on this tardy and derivative text.

In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the Rule of St. Augustine presided over the powerful movement for the reform of the secular clergy with its attempt to renew the practice of the common life. But, written as it was by St. Augustine at the close of the fourth century, and for Africans, the first part of the Rule, that is, by far the most important part from the legislative point of view, was no longer applicable to men living on a very different plane of civilization. Gelasius II solved the difficulty (1118) by authorizing the new canonical foundations to substitute for the first part of the Rule (the Disciplina monasterii) some statutes adapted to the new needs. Thus what formed the essential element of the Rule disappeared, leaving only the second part, the Commentary, which continued to be called, and still is called, although improperly, the Rule of St. Augustine. From the misunderstanding of this fact proceeds the erroneous view commonly held today about the Rule of St. Augustine.

Finally, with the establishment of the Order of Preachers, the ultimate term in the evolution of canonical foundations of the twelfth century, St. Dominic, conforming to the practice in vogue from the time of Gelasius II, added to what remained of the Rule of St. Augustine new Constitutions better adapted to the needs of Christendom, and thus he created a new type of religious life. The orders established in the course of the thirteenth century, all of lay origin, evolved more or less under the action of the Roman Church toward the form determined in the Dominican Constitutions, so much so that Alexander IV, in 1255, thought the time had come to fashion out of the Rule of St. Augustine, with the Constitutions and Customs of the Preachers, a new rule, better adapted to the needs of the time than that of St. Augustine. The project did not succeed, at least under that form; but the regulatory influence of the legislation of the Preachers continued to exercise itself as if it effectively constituted a type Rule for a new age.

1 This study was the last work of Father Mandonnet. He was enzaged on the first Part of it when illness overtook him. He had written only the first chapter and the first two paragraphs of the second. At his dictation, we took the third, composing the fourth with the help of a first draft found among his papers. The rest of the study had to be compiled by us from fragments, with only a few notes and the plan designed by him to guide us. In the parts composed by us, we shall indicate as we go along some passages of Father Mandonnet which we were able to gather: notes found in his files, or a page dictated by him in advance, because he judged it particularly important.

The Rule of St. Augustine

What Is the Rule of St. Augustine?


Three legislative texts require consideration in the question of the Rule of St. Augustine: they give rise to some crucial problems concerning their authenticity, their mutual relations, their purpose, and the date of their composition. This study will discuss the solution of these various problems.

The three Augustinian texts are well known, and they have been again and again re-edited since the sixteenth century in what have been called the complete works of St. Augustine. But by a disregard of certain historical circumstances, criticism has sought to establish between these texts an unreal connection which actually confuses our ideas, so that, strange as it may seem, we are justified in saying that what constitutes or did constitute the Rule of St. Augustine is today no longer known even in the world of erudition.

However, the problem is simple. To facilitate the reading of the following pages, I will summarize the solution before going on to the demonstration.

Augustine was always a lover of the common life. Even before his conversion and baptism he had urged among his friends a project for community life where everything would be held in common in an organization similar to that which he later realized in his Monastery.(1)

Some writers place the beginning of Augustine’s monastic life during a stay at Cassiciacum, not far from Milan, where with his mother and some friends he spent part of the year 386 and the first months of the next year, until his baptism on Easter (April 14, 387). Monica having died during Augustine’s journey to Africa, he returned to Tagaste early in 388 and, as we learn from his historian and friend Possidius,(2) established his first monastery in the paternal home.

Even if they were his friends and few in number, St. Augustine could not gather men together in a community without giving them a rule of life. It was at this time that he wrote his Rule. Brief but precise, it contains everything necessary for the observance of a regular life, along with an exposition of the religious virtues proper to cenobites. This text, not longer than a single page in octavo, is historically the Rule, the only Rule of St. Augustine. The legislator who drew up this text was still only a layman, and from the outset his work was probably known as the Disciplina monasterii. It is the name it seems to bestow on itself.


After about three years of cenobitic life at Tagaste (388-91), Augustine returned to the city of Hippo in the hope of attracting one of his friends to the monastery, but even more with a view to transferring his community to that city or to establishing a new monastery there. Augustine was then constrained to receive the priesthood from the hands of Bishop Valerius, upon an appeal from or rather upon the insistence of the Catholics of the city. Complying with Augustine’s desire, Valerius gave him a garden on some church property to establish his monastery there.

Augustine governed the monastery as a priest, after having governed it previously as a layman at Tagaste. Evidently, his authority was now greater. Experience with the Rule during the course of several years had proved to him the worth of additional prescriptions, and the way his companions had practiced it showed a need of some definite explanation on points still requiring elucidation. Therefore he wrote an additional part to his Rule. This new text is both a supplement and a commentary, particularly a commentary, on the Disciplina monasterii; it is about four and a half times its length. By a verbal device Augustine annexed this second part to the first so as to make it constitute a single whole. It was this combination, and no other, which henceforth in tradition up to the twelfth century and even after, bore the name of the Rule of St. Augustine.

Toward the end of his life (usually taken as the year 423), in any case in the course of his episcopate, when it was required of him to bring some order into a monastery of women where his sister had died as superior, Augustine wrote a stern letter to these rebellious religious. After concluding his letter, he added to it, in a matter-of-fact way and without any explanation, the commentary on his Rule, transcribing it for a community of women; it forms the Transcription.


It is not our purpose here to give the history of the three Augustinian legislative texts, but to name the principal places where they can be consulted, noting at the same time the changes that have marked their transmission through the centuries. We shall not go farther back than the edition of St. Augustine’s works by the Benedictines of the Congregation of St. Maur (1679-1700). It is considered the best, and since it has been re-edited in the Latin Patrology of Migne (volumes 32 to 47), it is also the most easily accessible.

The errors of interpretation which at present affect the three Augustinian legislative texts exist in the Benedictine edition. The Rule of St. Augustine is acephalous; that is, reduced to the Commentary alone.(3) It bears the title, Regula ad servos Dei. The beginning of the Rule, or rather of its commentary, has kept the trace of the twelfth century transformation. Whereas the articles forming the Disciplina Inonasterii were dropped from it, nevertheless the very first sentence was retained to form the opening words of the Commentary: ” Let God be loved above all things, dearest brethren, and then our neighbor, because these are the principal commands given to us.” As for the Disciplina, the primitive and essential part of the Rule, it will be found separate under the title of Regula secunda;(4) and elsewhere, in the volume of the Patrology relative to St. Benedict, it is listed as alia regula incerti auctoris (5) (another rule of uncertain authorship). It is noteworthy that each of these texts concludes with the first sentence of the Commentary, a point which indicates their disjunction from a text of the complete Rule: “These are the things which we command you who are assembled in the monastery to observe.”

The Transcription of the Commentary is found along with letter 211, addressed to a community of women.(6) It may be observed here that the Transcription does not begin with the first sentence of the Disciplina monasterii, as does the text of the Commentary in the Benedictine edition.


The twentieth century has witnessed different attempts at a critical restoration of our three Augustinian texts. Even if it must be granted that perfection has not been achieved, nevertheless the texts are in good form and in any case present no difficulties for the use we have to make of them in this study.

The Transcription annexed to letter 211 was the first favored by a critical study. It was owing to A. Goldbacher, who undertook to edit the letters of St. Augustine in the Corpus scriptorum ecclesiasticorum latinorum, sponsored by the faculty of letters of the University of Vienna.(7) There exists no other contemporary edition, as far as I know.(8)

Father P. Schroeder published a critical edition of the whole Rule of St. Augustine,(9) including what we here call the Disciplina monasterii and its Commentary.

Dom B. Capelle contributed a concise criticism of the two abovenamed publications.(10) Dom De Bruyne published the whole Rule in an improved text.(11) Father A. C. Vega edited the Augustinian legislative texts, employing the manuscripts of the Escorial which had not yet been considered.(12) Thus we have the Commentary on the Rule, the Disciplina monasterii and an excerpt from the Transcription.

Mention should also be made of a critical edition of the Rule of St. Augustine published in the eighteenth century by the learned canon regular, Eusebius Amort, all the more so because his work, among the most remarkable,(13) has been ignored by all the critics and historians who have given attention in our time to the Augustinian legislative texts. Amort produced an edition of the whole Rule (pp. 128-134) accompanying it with an historical and critical apparatus of first rank. Amort did not edit the Transcription.

Lastly, we should not forget that the numerous orders or congregations that are said to follow the Rule of St. Augustine ordinarily publish with their constitutions or statutes the text of the Commentary, under the incorrect but universal title of the Rule of St. Augustine. Thus it is found at the head of the Constitutions of the Friars Preachers. This text is in the original volume of the Dominican liturgy, now in the Archives of the Order in Rome, but formerly in the convent of St. Jacques of Paris. This volume was arranged by Humbert of Romans, fifth master general of the Order, and dates from 1255. There is a modern edition of this text of the Rule of St. Augustine.(14)


The state of the editions of the Augustinian legislative texts having been noted, their titles should receive a word of explanation, because they give rise to much confusion.

In the editions of the sixteenth century, the Augustinian legislative texts were arranged in a numerical order which has been in use since then. In accord with the accepted view, that the original text of the Rule was that attached to letter 211, it was named Regula prima, although it was neither a rule (it was the Transcription of the Commentary on the Rule) nor the oldest text (it was chronologically the last, about 423). The Disciplina monasterii was called the Regula secunda, although it was really the Rule of St. Augustine and the first text that came from his pen. That entitled the Regula tertia was none other than the Commentary on the preceding text, which we are accustomed incorrectly to call the Rule of St. Augustine.

Father Vega, while using these appellations, has modified them to some extent.(15) He designates under the name of Prima regula or Consensoria, a document which is generally considered apocryphal.(16) The Regula secunda is the Disciplina monasterii; the Regula tertia, addressed to the servants of God, is the Commentary on this Disciplina monasterii; lastly, the Regula quarta, or that “for the virgins,” is the Transcription of the Commentary.

In making a comparative study of the three Augustinian legislative texts, De Bruyne designated them by simple abbreviations.(17) EA stands for Epistula 211 Augustini, which is the Transcription; RA for Regula Augustini, which is the Commentary, and OM for Ordo monasterii, which is the Disciplina monasterii, or the Rule, properly speaking. The designation, Ordo monasterii, accepted by De Bruyne, is found in a manuscript of the ninth century of the municipal library of Laon (328 bis). It is the only title known to have been applied to the Disciplina monasterii.


There is, then, a variety of names for the three Augustinian legislative texts. In the pursuit of this study it is difficult for us to use these different designations, because they do not correspond to our ideas of the nature and chronological order of the three texts. Therefore, from the beginning of this study, in giving an anticipated solution of the problem, we have designated each of the three texts by a title which corresponds to its real nature: the Disciplina monasterii, which is, properly speaking, the Rule of St. Augustine; the Commentary, which is the supplement of this Rule; the Transcription, which is an adaptation of the Commentary for women. The Transcription and the Commentary are one and the same text, but a text in two forms, the one drawn up for a community of men, the other for a community of women, so that the Transcription, which in modem times has usurped the first place in the question of Augustinian Rules, has, to tell the truth, nothing to do with the Rule of St. Augustine; it proceeds from it, but that is all.


It is curious to note the positions taken by contemporary criticism on the subject under consideration.

Albert Hauck, in his history of the Church in Germany (1902 ed.),(18) has devoted some important pages to the reform movement among the clergy which began toward the end of the eleventh century and brought about the re-establishment of the common life and individual poverty. Hauck furnished much positive data on the establishment and development of regular canonical life in Germany as well as other information of a general character, but he was in complete uncertainty about the Rule of St. Augustine. Great difficulty, he said, attended the reform of the clergy, and part of the difficulty came from the fact that they did not have the benefit of a rule of life equal in authority to that of St. Benedict for the monks. “At this point something counterfeit came to the rescue. A Rule bearing the name of St. Augustine, and recommended because of his name, began to be heard of toward the close of the eleventh century. Hence it arose could not be determined, but it was thought to have originated in France” (p. 340). And further on in a note, referring to the intervention of Gelasius 11 (1118-19), Hauck wrote: “We no longer have the ancient Rule of St. Augustine. I plan to treat of this matter elsewhere” (pp. 341 ff.).

I am not aware of Hauck’s having reverted to this subject again. At any rate, in the later edition of his work (1925), he maintained the passages I have just summarized and translated. It is enough for us to know how an eminent historian of recent years represented the problem of the existence and origin of the Rule of St. Augustine.

More recently the attempt to publish a critical edition of the Augustinian legislative texts again raised the question of their origin. In 1911, Goldbacher edited a critical text of letter 211, and of the legislative text annexed to it (the Transcription); and Schroeder published the complete text of the Rule, namely, the Disciplina monasterii and its Commentary. The execution of this twofold work led Dom B. Capelle to a critical study of the two Augustinian texts, and we shall review here some of his conclusions which are useful to the sequence of this discussion.

First, like the two scholars whose texts he criticizes, Capelle holds that the primitive Rule of St. Augustine is the document annexed to letter 211; moreover, it is apparent that such is the opinion held almost universally up to this time. Capelle writes in the first line of his study: “It is a fact long recognized that the Rule of St. Augustine is derived from his letter 211.”

This persuasion may have influenced the two German scholars in the constitution of their text. In any case, although he shared their view with regard to the origin of the Rule, Capelle did not allow himself to be swayed by it in his critical study. He has established the authority and the value of the text of the Rule (the Commentary for us), and he concludes: “In detail it can be demonstrated, contrary to the judgment of Goldbacher and Schroeder, that certain lessons in the Rule are always in accord with certain lessons in the letter. It may then be granted that the composer who adapted the letter was scrupulously conservative; he altered the text only when it was imperative to do so, and even then he did it with a reverence and an extreme delicacy. The Rule is wholly the work of Augustine.”

I am tempted to emphasize these last statements. As things are stated by Dom Capelle, from the viewpoint of textual criticism alone, it may be affirmed that the Commentary proceeds from the Transcription rather than vice versa: eadem est ratio contrariorum. At any rate, there is nothing to oppose the conclusion that the Commentary might be the primitive composition from which was derived the text accompanying the letter. The two texts are but one and the same under two forms. Which of the two was the first composed now remains to be proved.


Two years after the intervention of Dom Capelle, the problem of the Rules of St. Augustine took an unexpected development and a new direction, thanks to Dom Lambot and especially to Dom De Bruyne. In a series of articles, the former showed his interest in the relation of the legislative texts of St. Augustine to the Rule of St. Benedict(19) and furnished his learned confrere an occasion for entering the discussion. The latter wrote: “Dom Lambot has blazed the trail, and I do not know what timidity has prevented his pursuing it to the end. His article: ‘A Monastic Code, Precursor of the Benedictine Rule,’ has been for me . . . an unexpected revelation.”(20)

De Bruyne devoted himself resolutely to a demonstration of how the Disciplina monasterii could be the work of St. Benedict. It would be none other than a first rule, written while the saint was at Subiaco (about 500-505). He would likewise have added to it for the use of the monks an adaptation of the legislative text annexed to letter 211.

This thesis is the fragile point in the work of Dom De Bruyne; but throughout most of his pages there are facts of primary significance on the relations of the Augustinian texts, not to speak of a good critical edition of the whole Rule of St. Augustine. Consequently I shall refer often to this study and rely upon its findings.

Less than a year later (1931) the Benedictine veteran of erudition, Dom G. Morin, closed the road to the theory according to which “the Benedictines were the first authentic Augustinians outside of Africa.” In conclusion he declared: “It will be necessary to be resigned to the loss of the first pretended Rule of St. Benedict.”(21) I do not know that anyone reacted to the negative conclusion of Dom Morin, who, it seems, did not concern himself further with the Rule of St. Augustine.


In 1933 Father Vega, of the Hermits of St. Augustine, in editing the texts already noted, published a critical study on the Rule of St. Augustine. He considered the Disciplina monasterii apocryphal, and of all the legislative texts he thought the Commentary alone authentic; as for the Transcription annexed to letter 211, not only did it not constitute the primitive text, but it was not even the work of St. Augustine. Moreover, Vega deemed only a provisional study possible until new research should confirm or contradict what had been held.

Judging from the account which Father B. de Gaiffier devoted to the work of Father Vega, it seems that the well-informed Bollandists share the prevailing opinion: “The text entitled ‘The Rule of St. Augustine’is derived, as everyone knows, from the letter addressed by the Bishop of Hippo to a convent of nuns in rebellion against their superior.” Speaking of the Commentary under the title Regula tertia, he says: “The latter, most often called Regula S. Augustini, is an adaptation of letter 211.”(22)

Father Merlin, in a study which I regret not to have been able to obtain from the editor, but which I know from the precise account of Father A. d’Alès,(23) treated of the Rule of St. Augustine in his brohure: Saint Augustin et la vie monastique (1933). “The author thinks that this Rule (the Commentary) served as a guide for the composition of letter 211 destined for the direction of communities of religious women and was not in itself an adaptation from this letter 211.”

Lastly, Father Mellet, O.P., in an appealing little volume, L’itinéraire et l’idéal monastique de saint Augustin (1934), assembled and within the scope of his subject completely analyzed the texts of St. Augustine on religious life in common. The first chapter of the second part has the title: La régle de saint Augustin. The author writes: “St. Augustine did not, like St. Benedict, formulate his thought in a monastic code, in a ‘Rule.’ What is called the ‘Rule of St. Augustine’ is only a letter (letter 211) addressed to nuns at Hippo (p. 53); and finally this conclusion: “For the rest, it can be affirmed that St. Augustine, who wrote the letter, did not himself modify it for the use of the monks” (pp. 58 f.).

If we refer to one of the great French ecclesiastical encyclopedias, such as the Dictionnaire de théologie catholique (24) or the Dictionnaire d’histoire eccléiastique,(25) we find it stated there, as in so many other places, that the Commentary of the Rule, known under the name of Rule of St. Augustine, is none other than the legislative text from epistle 211 transcribed for a community of men.

In consequence of all these statements-and the number could be increased — there is a general tendency to regard the Disciplina monasterii as apocryphal, either by ignoring it, or by positively rejecting it; nevertheless, therein is the essential part of the Rule of St. Augustine. Again, with the exception of Vega and Merlin, everyone holds also that what is ordinarily called the Rule of St. Augustine (the Commentary for us) is an adaptation for men from the legislative text attached to letter 211, whereas I think the contrary is true.


In reading the various works which I have just enumerated — and I believe I have perused them attentively — I have wondered that none of the authors appeared to be acquainted with the work of Eusebius Amort, cited above, the Vetus disciplina canonicorum regularium, which dates from 1747. Therein the learned canon regular Amort thoroughly treated the problem concerning the Rules attributed to St. Augustine, and he did it with remarkable skill. He assembled a collection of documents relative to the subject. He published them entire or in their essential parts and in texts good for the period. Thus we have access at the same time to the whole Rule of St. Augustine, namely the Disciplina monasterii and its Commentary, the principal part of the life of St. Augustine by his friend and disciple Possidius, the two sermons on the common life of clerics, numerous excerpts taken from manuscripts, and, finally, a very methodical and objective criticism regarding the origin of the three Augustinian legislative texts. Amort examined in detail all the positions taken before him on this problem and weighed the pros and cons with a Moderation truly Augustinian. He could not but conclude, however, and this is most essential, that the authentic Rule of Augustine was composed of what we call here the Disciplina monasterii and its Commentary, and if some of his secondary opinions are not acceptable, the thesis as a whole seems to be well established. Here is the most important of his conclusions: “Indeed, it seems to me that the Regula secunda (the Disciplina monasterii) and the Regula tertia (the Commentary) were written by D. Augustine, but separately, for distinct Purposes; for it is clear that the secunda was written for monks, but already in the time of St. Augustine perhaps both were united as one continuous work.” And elsewhere: “Yet, if anyone questions my conjecture in this regard, I think it likely that the Rule was written for the men established in the first monastery, which Augustine as a prior built in the garden granted to him by Valerius the bishop; afterward, however, it was adopted with a few changes or additions by the legislator himself for other monks also and for nuns.”

Thus for Amort the three legislative texts are the work of Augustine. The Disciplina monasterii was written first for the first monastery that Augustine founded, and the Commentary was drawn up later, with an adaptation appropriate for the brothers and the sisters, and already in the time of Augustine the Commentary was annexed to the Disciplina monasterii to form a single work. This position — I have omitted some details intentionally — seems to correspond to the historic facts.



1 “Many of us who were friends had debated the matter in spirit. Recognizing and detesting the turbulent vexations of life, we had almost resolved to live apart from the world. The retreat we determined upon was to be such that, if we possessed anything, we would contribute it to the community and form one household for all; in the sincerity of friendship there would be neither this one’s nor that one’s. The goods of all would constitute one treasury, and the whole would be as much at the disposal of each as of all. We thought that ten of us might form this society; some of us were wealthy, particularly Romanianus, a fellow townsman, and one of the intimate friends of my youth, whom serious fluctuations of fortune had brought into our midst. The weight of his influence helped to persuade us, for his wealth was much greater than ours. And we agreed that every year two of us should act as managers to provide for the temporal needs of all those in retirement. Afterward, however, when there was consideration of whether their wives would allow this, for some were married and wished to abide in that state, the whole program, which was so pleasing and so well formed, dissolved and went to pieces in our hands” (Confess., Bk. V1, chap. 14; PL, XXXII, 731).

2 I am going to give together the texts of Possidius and St. Augustine relative to the monasteries.
“And it pleased him (Augustine), after he received the grace of baptism to return to Africa to his own home and property to serve the Lord in company with friends and other men. Having embraced this way of life, he persevered in it for three years, abandoning all the cares of the world; with those who abode with him, he lived for God in fasts, prayers, and good works, meditating on the law of the Lord day and night. And what God revealed to him in his meditations and prayers, he taught to souls far and near in sermons and books” (Possidius, Vita S. Augustini episcopi, chap. 3; PL, XXXII, 36).
“Therefore, having been ordained a priest, he soon instituted a monastery in the church, and he began to live with the servants of God according to the custom and rule established by the holy apostles (cf. Acts 4:32): no one was to have anything as his own in the company, but all was to be common to them and distribution made to everyone according to his need; he himself had already adopted this life upon his return from across the sea to his own estates” (ibid., 5) “Furthermore, divine learning was fostered under this holy Augustine, and the clerics of the Church of Hippo began to ordain those serving God in the monastery with him. And then as the truth of the teaching of the Catholic Church became illumined and grew more illustrious from day to day, through the lives of the holy servants of God in their observance of continency and absolute poverty, peace and unity were first established and continued to advance, while the Church sought and took bishops from the monastery which owed its origin and flourishing state to the leadership of that memorable man. For I knew nearly ten men, holy, venerable, penitent, and learned, whom the blessed Augustine gave upon request to various Churches, among them some of the more important. Then when the Churches of the Lord were established, these very men who had been called from the regularity of holy lives instituted monasteries in their own dioceses” (ibid., chap. 11).
I (Augustine), whom you see as your Bishop by the grace of God, came in my youth to this city (to Hippo in 388), as many of you know. I looked here for a place to establish a monastery and live with my brethren. For I had forsaken all ambition as regards this world. I came to this city (in 391) to see a friend, whom I thought I might win to the service of God in the monastery . . . Then, prevailed upon, I was made a priest and advanced through this rank to the episcopate. And because I proposed to live in a monastery with brethren, in the institute known to you, in accord with my desire, the elderly Valerius of blessed memory gave me the garden in which the monastery now stands. I assembled there brethren of upright intention, men who had nothing, as I had nothing, and imitating me, As I practiced poverty and sold what I had, and begged from the poor, so they did and desired thus to do that we might live in common: for God Himself is common to us as our great and most rich reward. I was raised to the episcopate. . . . I desired to have in the episcopal house a monastery of clerics. . . . Behold how we live. No one in our society is permitted to have anything as his own” (St. Augustine, Sermo 355; PL, XXXVIII, 1569-70).

3 PL, XXXII, 1377-84.

4 Ibid., 1449-52,

5 Ibid., LXVI, 995-98.

6 Ibid., XXXIII, 960-65.

7 S. Aurelii Augustini operum sectio II, S. Augustini epistulae (Pars IV) from the edition by A. Goldbacher (1911) (Vol. LVII of the Corpus), pp. 356-71. The Transcription begins on p. 359.

8 Father de Labriolle gives an elegant French translation in Choix d’écrits spirituels de S. Augustin (1932).

9 Die Augustinerchorherrn-Regel. Entstehung Kritischer Text und Einführung der Regel, in Archiv für Urkundenforschung (1926), pp. 271-306.

10 “L’épitre 211e et la régle de saint Augustin,” in Analecta Praemonstratensia, III (1927), 369-78.

11 “La premiere régle de saint Benoit,” in Revue Bénédictine, XLII ( 1930), 316-42.

12 La regla de san Agustín. Edición crítica precedida de un estudio sobre la misma y los códices de El Escorial (1933). Drawn from the Archivo agustiniano.

13 Vetus disciplina canonicorum regularium et saecularium, Vol. I (1747).

14 Analecta O.P., II (1896), 616-19.

15 Op. cit., p. 6.

16 Vega edits it (op. cit., pp. 57-59); PL, LXVI, 993-96. See De Bruyne, “La Regula consensoria. Une régle des moines priscillianistes,” Rev. bénéd., XXV (1908), 82-88.

17 Cf. op. cit., p. 316.

18 Kirchengeschichte Deutschlands, “Die Hobenstaufenzeit” (1902), pp. 338 ff.

19 Revue liturgique et monastique, XIV (1929), 320-37; Revue bénédictine, XLI (1929), 333-41; XL11 (1930), 77-80.

20 Revue bénédictine, XLII (1930), 316-42. 21

21 Ibid., XLIII (1931), 145-52.

22 Analecta bollandiana, LII ( 1934), 92.

23 Recherches de science religieuse, XXV ( 1935), 83 f.

24 I, 2472.

25 V, 496.


St. Dominic and the Order of Preachers

  1. St. Dominic and His Work ~ Part One
  2. Christendom in the Early Thirteenth Century
  3. The Order of Preachers in Formation
  4. Years of Experimental Activity (1215-19)
  5. Constitutional Organization (1220-21)
  6. Character of St. Dominic
  7. Nature of the Order of Preachers
  8. Development and Activity of the Preachers
  9. Academic Organization
  10. The Doctrinal Life and the Thomistic School
  11. Literary Productivity
  12. Apostolic Work
  13. Influence on Ecclesiastical and Civil Society
  14. Foreign Missions
  15. Sanctity and the Mystical Life
  16. Liturgy and Art
  17. The Plight of Preaching in the Twelfth Century
  18. Efforts of the Church to Revive Preaching
  19. The Ordo Praedicatorum
  20. The Academic Crisis at the Beginning of the Thirteenth Century and the Foundation of the Order of Preachers

From the Rule of St. Augustine to the Rule of St. Dominic

PART TWO ~ Section One

The Rule of St. Augustine

  1. Introduction & What is the Rule of St. Augustine?
  2. The Rule of St. Augustine Composed of Two Texts
  3. The Rule Decapitated
PART TWO ~ Section Two

The Augustinian Rule of St. Dominic

  1. Introduction & The Rule of St. Augustine, Teacher of the Apostolic Life
  2. The Legislation of the Preachers
  3. The Project of the Rule
PART TWO ~ Appendixes
  1. An Embassy into the Marches
  2. The Birth of St. Mary of Prouille
  3. The Sancta Praedicatio in Narbonne (1204-8)
  4. Innocent III, Diego, and Dominic in 1206
  5. St. Dominic and the Pope in 1215
  6. Domini Canes by Pierre Mandonnet, O.P.
  7. Bibliography