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New Prior General of the Augustinians: 'We must acknowledge that we are all human'

2013-12-04

Since September, Alejandro Moral is serving as the new superior of the Order of St. Augustine. He knew the Order as a young boy, but he decided to join at the age of 17. And although 41 years have passed, he still remembers those days fondly.

Fr. Alejandro Moral Antón
Prior General of the Order of St. Augustine
"I became an Augustine because I knew that religious men devoted themselves to others, they gave themselves to others. That desire to give myself was a very important part of my vocation.”

Like Franciscans and the Dominican Friars, the Order of St. Augustine is one of the biggest mendicant orders in the world. It was founded by Pope Innocence IV in the year 1243 at the request of a group of hermits in Tuscany who wanted to live the way St. Augustine did.

Fr. Alejandro Moral Antón
Prior General of the Order of St. Augustine
"We are 'Ora et studia'. Prayer and study. But we also lead an apostolic life. We work in parishes, in missions, we are missionaries also; we try to carry the Gospel to different places.”

Right now, there are about 3.000 Augustinians in about 40 countries. With their schools and universities, they keep St. Augustine's intellectual spirit alive.

But they also remember the saint as fighter, someone who fought for peace and for the poor. He even sold some of the Church's possessions to give food to those in need.

Fr. Alejandro Moral Antón
Prior General of the Order of St. Augustine
"We have to be very sensitive, because we live in a world filled with injustice, with critical situations and above all, with people that are in need. The Pope is constantly reminding us: we must acknowledge that we are all human. And we need to help each other, and we need solidarity.”

Augustinians try to preach by example. Throughout the years, they've launched many initiatives to stop human trafficking. They've also constructed many hospitals, helped people with AIDS and even created spaces for dialogue in conflict countries.

In fact, few people know that they also have an office at the U.N. where they deal with international issues. They want to remind them about forgotten human aspects like spirituality. 

A new role and a mission that, according to the new Prior General, wouldn't be able to accomplish if they left aside what's at the core of their lives: prayer, community life and spiritual life. 'Ora e Studia', says it all.


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