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An Augustinian friar (O.S.A)

26 Apr 2016, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Augustinians
An Augustinian friar

An Augustinian friar

An Augustinian friar is a Catholic who follows Christ Jesus in the Augustinian spirit and is affiliated to the Order of St. Augustine. Though he is a member of the Augustinian family worldwide, he must be of a particular circumscription. So, we talk about the incorporation, affiliation, ascription, and assignment of the Augustinian friar.

INCORPORATION: This is the first step into becoming an Augustinian friar, and this initial incorporation comes through the candidate’s entry into the novitiate. Like other Catholic religious orders, congregations, and societies, the novitiate is a stage in the Augustinian formation system where the candidates are taught and trained to be religious instead of diocesan life. This initial incorporation does not make the candidate a complete member of the Order. Even though he shares in all the privileges and spiritual benefits granted to the Order, he gradually acquires rights and assumes duties. It is at a solemn profession that the incorporation is completed.

The candidate to be incorporated at this stage must present a written declaration of his complete freedom from parents’ pressures or from any other angle forcing him into a life he is not ready to live. The novitiate is a period of twelve months which is not counted as part of the years of study; this initial incorporation is so-called because it incorporates one into the Order yet not completely.

AFFILIATION: In talking about the candidate’s affiliation, we actually refer to the bond by which the candidate is bound to a circumscription of the Order. After his year of novitiate and after he studies philosophy, he is temporally affiliated to a particular province after making the temporary vows of poverty, celibacy, and obedience. The vows are temporal because they are made for just one year, but he is allowed to renew them each year until the fourth year of his theology study when he makes the vows in perpetuity. He is completely affiliated to the province, which is a circumscription of the Order of St. Augustine. Affiliation, therefore, makes one a member of a particular province or a circumscription of the one big Augustinian family.

ASCRIPTION: Ascription is when a friar affiliated to a circumscription but lives and works in another circumscription of the same Order with the right to vote in the circumscription of his ascription. Though he remains a member of the circumscription to which he is affiliated, he loses his right to vote there but gains it in the circumscription to which he is ascribed. For instance, a friar affiliated to the Irish Province may be ascribed to the Nigerian Province; At the same time, he remains a member of the Irish Province; he loses his right to vote there but in Nigeria as long as the ascription lasts. Ascription means a friar coming from one circumscription to work in another with the appropriate authority’s approval.

ASSIGNMENT: When a friar lives and works in a particular circumscription, whether he is ascribed or affiliated to it, he is given an assignment. The friar stays in a particular house with other friars in the circumscription and acts in the capacity of whatever office he is assigned. The assignment is simply put, is the job description or assigned to the friar. However, the brothers or friars in the housework together as a team to fulfill the Order’s mission.

The Augustinian life is exciting, brothers living in unity. It is a life of brothers living ‘with’ one mind and one heart intent upon God.