St. Augustine a Teacher for Modern Man, Pope Says

Message to Augustinian General Chapter

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 10, 2001 ( The Holy Father believes St. Augustine of Hippo is a singular teacher for modern man in his search for God.

«Augustine´s experience was similar to that of many contemporary» people, John Paul II said during an audience last Friday with participants at the Augustinian order´s general chapter. «With modern ways of pastoral service, you can help them discover the transcendent meaning of life,» the Holy Father told the Augustinians.

He added: «You must support them with wisdom toward a more personal and, at the same time, more communitarian faith, because the Church keeps alive the memory of Christ,» whom modern man is seeking.

John Paul II referred to the numerous saints from this religious family, especially in the last century. Among others, he mentioned Bishop Anselmo Polanco of Teruel, Spain, «killed during the turbulent days of the Spanish War, at the heart of the 20th century.»

He also cited Father Elías del Socorro Nieves of Mexico, «killed out of hatred for the faith in 1927,» and Augustinian Sister María Teresa Fasce, who lived in the city of St. Rita of Cascia, «witness of unlimited forgiveness and heroic acceptance of suffering.»

John Paul II called on Augustinians to proclaim the great message left by St. Augustine (354-430), who discovered that God himself is at the center of man´s restlessness, «O Beauty so ancient and so new.»

«One cannot reach him on a superficial path, but through the interior way,» the Holy Father stressed.

The Augustinian order was created in 1243 when Pope Innocent IV issued the bull «Incumbit Nobis» inviting numerous Tuscan communities of hermits to join in one religious order, observing St. Augustine´s rule and way of life.

Today, the 2,900 Augustinians in the world include 2,168 priests. More information on the order is at

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