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Two Augustinian Provinces in the Philippines

2 Augustinian Provinces

The Augustinians are members of the Order of Saint Augustine (OSA), an international Catholic religious community of men and women, founded in 1244. The men members alone are present in nearly 50 countries across the world.

In the Philippines, there are two Augustinian Provinces, both autonomous of each other in terms of governance and administration of institutions and communities but both are under the authority of the Prior General of OSA.

The first is known as the Province of Santo Niño de Cebu – Philippines and the second is the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus of the Philippines.

According to the Constitutions of the Order [OSA], “a province is a grouping of friars and several houses that forms a part of our Order. Its government is entrusted to a prior provincial.” (Constitutions, 230).

Before the establishment of the two Filipino Augustinian Provinces, a Spanish Province was born in the Philippines in 1575 known as the Provincia Agustiniana del Santísimo Nombre de Jesús de Filipinas and was managed by the Spanish Augustinians during the Spanish colonization. The seat of this Province was in Intramuros, Manila.

In the late 1890s, the Spanish Augustinians transferred the seat of the Provincia del Santisimo Nombre de Jesus de Filipinas from Intramuros, Manila to Madrid, Spain, at the height of the Philippine revolution. Most of the Augustinians in the Philippines left the country and continued their missionary works in  Latin America. The remaining Augustinians in the islands were organizationally managed by the Vicariate of the Philippines. On December 25, 1983, the Province of Santo Niño de Cebu– Philippines was canonically established and thus became independent from the then Provincia del Santisimo Nombre de Jesus de Filipinas. The creation of the province was approved earlier by the Chapter delegates to the 174th Ordinary General Chapter held in Rome on September 13, 1983.

(Read more: History of the Province of Santo Niño de Cebu – Philippines)

Fr. Eusebio Berdon, OSA was elected as the first Prior Provincial to lead the Province.

As of 2023, the Province is composed of 19 communities and residences with 136 solemn professed friars serving in 14 pastoral centers (10 Parishes, 1 Basilica, 1 mission station, 1 chapel, 1 foreign parish), 7 SEC-registered educational institutions, 2 retreat centers, and 3 formation houses).

Moreover, 24 friars are stationed abroad, most helping other Augustinian circumscriptions in their ministries,  and others pursuing further studies.

Province by the Numbers Infographics Final

After the creation of the new Filipino Province in 1984, a new Augustinian Vicariate was formed, composed of the remaining Augustinian Spanish friars in the Philippines and five Filipinos who opted to retain their affiliation to the Provincia Agustiniana del Santisimo Nombre de Jesus de Filipinas.  This Vicariate took the name Vicariate of the Orient, and during its creation it has two houses in the Philippines : the San Agustin Church and convent  in Intramuros and the Colegio San Agustin (CSA) in Makati City.

After 36 years since the establishment of the Province of Santo Niño de Cebu– Philippines, the Vicariate of the Orient was elevated as a Province during the 186th Ordinary General Chapter of the Augustinian Order in Rome, and took the name of the old Spanish Province in the Philippines,  the Most Holy Name of Jesus of the Philippines.  Its creation was dated September 16, 2019.  The creation of this new Filipino Province was the offshoot of the unification of the four Augustinian Provinces in Spain, forming the unified Province of St. John of Sahagun

The new Province was officially inaugurated on February 23, 2022 at the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila. 

Fr. Dante M. Bendoy, OSA was elected as the first Prior Provincial.

As of 2023, the new Province has 47 solemn professed brothers serving in seven communities in the Philippines and one in China. 

Their principal apostolates are parishes (4), schools (3), shrines (2), and a museum.

The existence of the two Augustinian Provinces in the Philippines signifies a broader and greater commitment of the Augustinians, -following the examples of their forebears, the first missionaries to come to the country –  to fulfill the Order’s mandate of proclaiming the Word of God to the people of the Philippines and abroad and witnessing to the Augustinian way of life.  At the same time, it is a testimony to the growth of vocations in the Order in this part of the world. 

Close collaboration is expected between the two circumscriptions in living out the charism of the Augustinian Order which is  “oneness in mind and heart on the way to God.” One of such collaboration is the joining of these two Provinces in the formation of a common Novitiate for the Asia Pacific Region – the  Asia Pacific Augustinian Novitiate (APAN), which was organized in 2016 by the Union of the Augustinian circumscriptions of the Order of Saint Augustine in Asia and the Pacific (OSAAP). The infrastructure of this common novitiate actually belongs to the Province of Santo Niño de Cebu and is located in Lower Mohon, Talisay City, Cebu. 

In a unique and providential grace of God, the two Provinces are named after the miraculous image of Santo Niño de Cebu – the country’s most cherished Christian symbol of faith, and after the title in honor of the Child Jesus of Nazareth – the Most Holy Name of Jesus. Genesis Labana, OSA

For vocation inquiries, click here: OSA Niño Vocations

Editors: Fr. Eusebio Berdon, OSA and Shiela Mae Gumapon

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