For the humanists, humanity is something special in creation and has a special relationship to God.
This relationship is expressed in salvation and the principle concern of every human being should be precisely this salvation.
The humanists saw such studies as Scholastic logic, arithmetic, theology (the study of divinity) and natural science as completely unrelated to this most important mission of life.
Petrarch was closely bound by friendship with four Augustinians, Denis of Borgo San Sepolcro O.S.A. (died 1342), Bartholomew of Urbino O.S.A. (died 1350), Jean Coci O.S.A. (died 1364) and Cardinal Bonaventure Baduario da Padova (Padua) O.S.A. (died 1385, and later declared a Blessed of the Church).
The devotion of Petrarch to Saint Augustine was both literary and spiritual. It had been fostered by these Augustinians.
When Petrarch died in 1374 it was Bonaventure Baduario da Perago (Padua) O.S.A. who delivered the funeral oration at his tomb.
Boccaccio did not have as many Augustinian friends as Petrarch, but in Martino da Signa O.S.A. he found intelligence and sympathy.
In August 1374 Boccaccio bequeathed his library to the Augustinians at Florence, and asked that he be buried with the Augustinians in Florence or Certaldo.
These golden years of friendship with Petrarch and Boccaccio took place when some members of the Order of Saint Augustine were intent in the pursuit of secular learning.
For example, the Augustinian studium (the local study house for Augustinian candidates) in Florence was noted as being "frequented by the best and most outstanding men of the city."
(Continued on the next page.)
Photos (at right):
Students of Colégio San Agustin, Buenos Aires, Argentina.