You alone do I love, You alone do I follow, You alone I seek. I am prepared to serve only You, because You alone govern justly, and I wish to be under Your rule. I ask that only in Your great mercy You convert me wholly to Yourself and allow nothing to prevent me from coming to You. Grant that, while I live, I may be temperate, strong, just, and prudent, in love with Your wisdom and capable of understanding, worthy of Your blessed kingdom, and one day a dweller in that kingdom. (St. Augustine of Hippo)
When Augustine of Hippo converted to the Lord and His church, he was called to the monastic life. Returning to Tagaste, Northern Africa, from Italy, he established a community based on the Book of Acts. Later, as priest and bishop of Hippo, he wrote his rule of life for men and women. His monasteries of men included priests as well as brothers. This first sacerdotal monastery began the monastic life in the western Church. The primitive Augustinian life, the Rule of St. Augustine, and St. Augustine's concern and love for the priesthood served as guides for our monastic foundation. We follow the pattern given us by St. Augustine as we dedicate ourselves to the monastic life and give our lives in prayer for all people, especially for priests. The Servants of God of St. Augustine, commonly known as the Augustinian Monks, or Augustinian Monks of the Primitive Observance, are canonically distinct from, and have no legal association with, the Order of Brothers of St. Augustine (commonly known as the Augustinian Friars), but are united in sharing a love for our holy father St. Augustine, who guides us in our life.
The Augustinian Monks of the Primitive Observance began our foundation on 13 October, 1989, in the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts, at the invitation of its late bishop, the Most Reverend Timothy J. Harrington, D.D. A few years later, the foundation transferred to the Diocese of Portland, Maine, where we were welcomed by His Excellency the Most Reverend Joseph J. Gerry, O.S.B., and the Monastery was canonically erected as a juridical person. On January 3, 2004, at the warm welcome of his Excellency the Most Reverend Norbert Dorcey, C.P., Bishop of Orlando, we transferred our Monastery to the Diocese of Orlando. We reside in the center of the State of Florida in the town of DeLand. DeLand is 24 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and Daytona Beach in the center of the state and about 40 minutes northeast of Orlando.
We follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, seeking Him as our model. We have heard His voice deep within us, "Here I stand, knocking at the door. If anyone hears me calling and opens the door, I will enter his house and have supper with him, and he with me." (Rev 3:20) Responding in obedience to His invitation, we come together to be one in mind and heart in our search for God (Rule of St. Augustine, Ch. 1:2) and in our desire to serve the priests.
Throughout the ages monastic communities have sought to witness to the Gospel and Kingdom of God. They have been a light to the world of a life that is not of this world, and a center of healing to those who have entered their doors. We follow in the footsteps of this holy tradition and look to many holy people throughout the ages as lights and guides to us. We are not attempting something entirely new, for the greatest rule of life is the Gospel, on which all authentic Christian rules and constitutions are founded. Yet for these our times, we hear the Spirit speaking to us and the words of our Savior burning in our hearts: "No one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins." (Mk 2:22) We ask the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, and our Mother, and St. Augustine our holy Father, to pray that we might give to the Lord the best wine of our lives in this marriage feast of our Lord. With this in mind, we fall on our knees “before the Father, from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural, takes its name, offering ourselves and this covenant to the Lord.” (Eph 3:14-15)