Augustinian Religious Life follows the spiritual tradition of the Rule of Saint Augustine, and also fulfils the requirements of the Canon Law of the Catholic Church.
Canon Law generally defines Religious Life in terms of public vows of poverty (which means common ownership for Augustinians), chastity (castitas) and obedience (obediencia) that are approved by the Church.
This requires individual affiliation to a designated community, and being de familia ("of the family") even if for an approved reason an individual has to live away from a community residence for some period, e.g., to undertake university study or a special task in a town where there are no other Augustinians.
For Augustinians and many other - but not all - religious congregations, community living involves a routine of community prayer.
The particular proportionality - or "mix" - of contemplative aspects and apostolically-active aspects of religious life can vary from order to order, in the with the constitutions of each.
In a phrase that is more descriptive than based on Church law, the Augustinians have been said to be among the most active of contemplative orders and also the most contemplative of active orders.
Leaving aside consideration of the juridic aspects, Augustinian Religious Life has some of the creative character of the personality of Augustine, including his characteristic umanita, an Italian word that translates roughly into the English language as his humanity, or - better still - his human warmth.
And just as the wines from different regions have distinctive flavours but yet are all still wine, the characteristic emphasis of the Augustinians is caritas
Because of the circumstances and particular needs of their different eras, Francis of Assisi emphasised poverty for the Franciscans, and Ignatius of Loyola highlighted obedience for the Jesuits.
(Continued on the next page.)