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Order of Augustinian Recollects
Ordo Augustinianorum Recollectorum
FormationDecember 5, 1588; 435 years ago (December 5, 1588)
Founded atToledo, Spain
TypeMendicant Order of Pontifical Right (for Men)
HeadquartersViale dell'Astronomia, 27 Rome, Italy
Membership (2022)
955 (includes 815 priests)[1]
Prior General
Miguel Angel Hernández Domínguez, OAR[2]
Vicar General
Javier González Velásquez, OAR
Latin: Extende caritatem tuam
(English: 'Extend your love')
Parent organization
Catholic Church

The Order of Augustinian Recollects (OAR) is a mendicant Catholic religious order of friars and nuns. It is a reformist offshoot from the Augustinian hermit friars and follows the same Rule of St. Augustine. They have also been known as the "Discalced Augustinians".


The Recollects reflect a reform movement of the Augustinians begun in Spain the 16th-century. Thomas of Andrada was of one of the most illustrious houses of Portugal. He joined the Order of Saint Augustine at the age of fifteen. His efforts at reform met resistance, but after his death the regulations he had proposed were later adopted by those who formed the discalced branch.[3]

In 1561, Luis de León O.S.A., chair of theology at Salamanca undertook a revision of the constitutions of the order; in 1588 the first Augustinian community of the Spanish Regular Observance was established at Talavera. The reform emphasized fidelity to the Rule of St. Augustine. The reformers placed special emphasis on community prayer and simplicity of life. In 1592, Andrés Díaz introduced the reform congregation to Italy, first in Naples, then in Rome. As more houses were established, the Discalced members came to constitute a separate province of the Augustinian friars.[4]

In 1606 Philip III of Spain sent some Discalced friars to the missions in the Philippines. In 1622 Pope Gregory XV authorized the erection of a separate congregation for the Recollect Augustinians, with its own vicar-general. The first Recollects reached Japan, by way of the Philippines in 1623. In 1626 a house was founded at Prague and in 1631 at Vienna.[4]

In the 1800s, the Order was persecuted by Revolutionary governments in Spain and Colombia. It however didn't stop the sacking and pillaging of Recollect possessions and the Communists destroyed many other While many Recollect properties were destroyed, a few such as the Monastery of Monteagudo, Navarre were left.

The Recollects were formally recognized as a separate Mendicant Order in 1912, the last to be so designated.

Global presence

Augustinian Recollect novices at the Monasterio de Marcilla [es] in Navarra, Spain

As of 2023, the Recollects numbered about 1,240 in eight provinces across nineteen countries; they are strongest in Spain, the Philippines and Colombia. The official languages of the Order are Spanish, English, and Portuguese.[4]

Augustinian Recollect priests celebrating Mass on the Feast of Saint Sebastian, Basílica Minore de San Sebastian, Manila, Philippines

Augustinian Recollects in the Philippines

Main article: Augustinian Recollect Province of Saint Ezekiél Moreno

With their arrival in May 1606 from Spain, the Recollects became one of the most important groups in the history of the evangelization of the Philippines. Many times, the areas given to this Order were the poorest islands in the archipelago, the ones not desired by other orders because of distance from the mainland.[5]

Being a contemplative Order, it was not really their main goal to evangelize the country, but they became more active in the Philippines from 1606 to 1898, and later some missionaries spread the Recollect mission in Central America and in other parts of the world. Most of their houses were just formation centers, but they opened them to the public because the faithful would go and attend Sunday services with the friars.

Their first house was built in Bagumbayan, outside the walls of Manila.[6] Later, they also built a house, San Nicolas de Tolentino Church, within the walls that became their house for the next hundreds of years after the British demolished all structures in Bagumbayan during their occupation of the city in the 1760s.[7] The convent was destroyed during the World War II liberation of Manila. Instead of rebuilding, the Order moved to its present house, then San Sebastian Church, in Quiapo, Manila.

Their first parish was in Masinloc, Zambales. However, this has already been transferred to the management of the diocese. Other parishes that were given to them early in their ministry in the Philippines were those of Mabalacat in Pampanga, Capas and Bamban in Tarlac province.

The Order also had missions in Palawan, Calamianes and Caraga (in the northeastern part of Mindanao). They laid the foundation for Puerto Princesa City, the capital of Palawan. Mindoro and Bohol became part of their missions as well.

The province that was most heavily influenced by the Order is the island of Negros now divided into two provinces, Occidental and Oriental. Most of the towns in both provinces are named after towns where the missionaries came from in Spain, such as La Carlota, Valencia, and Cádiz. The Recollect friars form a significant segment of the clergy.

Role in Philippine Nationalism

The Recollects had a pivotal role in causing and guiding the Philippine Revolution since when the Jesuits were suppressed (For their anti-colonial tendencies in the Jesuit missions among the Guaraní) they moved to the Jesuits' vacated parishes and gave their former parishes to the Filipino Secular/Diocesan Clergy giving Diocesan Clergy like the famous martyrs Gomburza who were militating under the issue of the Secularization movement in the Philippines, their own parishes, before the return of the Jesuits forced them to retake their parishes from the Diocesan Clergy.

The opposition of the other religious orders against an autonomous diocesan clergy independent of them (With the possible exception of the Recollects and Jesuits) lead to the martyrdom of Filipino Diocesan priests Mariano Gomez, José Burgos, Jacinto Zamora collectively known as Gomburza who were wrongly implicated in the Cavite Mutiny, since the Spanish feared that because a priest, Rev. Fr. Miguel Hidalgo lead the Mexican war of independence against Spain, the same would happen in the Philippines.[8] Furthermore, the Governor General who was a Freemason, Rafael Izquierdo y Gutiérrez upon discovering the Cavite Mutiny was led by fellow Freemasons: Maximo Innocencio, Crisanto de los Reyes, and Enrique Paraiso; the Governor-General as per his Masonic vow to protect fellow brothers of the Craft, shifted the blame to Gomburza since they had inspired ethnic pride among Filipinos due to their campaign for reform.[8] The Governor-General asked the Catholic hierarchy in the person of Archbishop of Manila Gregorio Meliton Martinez (the same Archbishop who ordained the Recollect Saint, Ezequiél Moreno y Díaz) to have them declared as heretics and defrocked but he refused as he believed in Gomburza's innocence.[8] As the Imperial government executed Gomburza, churches all across the territory were rung in mourning.[8] This inspired the Jesuit educated and future National Hero Jose Rizal to form the La Liga Filipina, to ask for reforms from Spain and recognition of local clergy.

Rizal was executed and the La Liga Filipina dissolved. As cries for reform were ignored, formerly loyal Filipinos were radicalized and the 1896 Philippine revolution was triggered when the Spanish discovered the anti-colonial secret organisation Katipunan (formed with Masonic rites in mind, and Freemasonry is traditionally Anti-Catholic, yet the Katipunan were dedicated to the martyred priests Gomburza as Gomburza was a password in the Katipunan), the Katipunan waged the revolution leading to the end of Spanish rule. However, there was conflict between Filipino Masons in the Katipunan and American Masons as a result of the Philippine-American War.

Since the creation of the Province of Saint Ezekiél Moreno on November 28, 1998, the Philippine Province was officially separated from the Province of San Nicolas de Tolentino. Now, the Philippine Province supervises not only the different missions in the Philippines but also in Sierra Leone and Taiwan.

OAR learning institutions

The Order administers two universities: the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos in Bacolod founded in 1941 and University of San Jose - Recoletos in Cebu City founded in 1947. They also administer two colleges - the San Sebastian College - Recoletos in Manila (with extension campus in Canlubang) founded in 1941 and the San Sebastian College - Recoletos de Cavite in Cavite City that was founded in 1966. They also manage four secondary schools namely Colegio de Santo Tomas-Recoletos in San Carlos City, Colegio San Nicolas de Tolentino - Recoletos in Talisay City both in Negros Occidental; and the Colegio de San Pedro-Recoletos at Brgy. Poblacion and San Pedro Academy at Brgy. Caidiocan in Valencia, Negros Oriental.

In 2023, the University of San Jose- Recoletos unveiled a historical marker given by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), which recognizes the contributions of OAR in the Philippines.[9]

Augustinian Recollects in Taiwan

The Recollect foundation in Taiwan is based at Kaohsiung City.[10][11] They are supported by Filipino Recollects from the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno.


Alonso de Orozco Mena, court preacher, was instrumental in the founding of the first Recollect convent, that of the Visitation, in Madrid, in 1589.[12] Juan de Ribera, Archbishop of Valencia (d. 1611), founded a second Discalced Augustinian congregation at Alcoy, in 1597. It soon had houses in different parts of Spain, and in 1663 was established at Lisbon by Queen Louise of Portugal. In addition to the Rule of St. Augustine these religious observed the exercises of the Reformed Carmelites of St. Teresa.

In the convent at Cybar, Mariana Manzanedo of St. Joseph instituted a reform which led to the establishment of a third group, that of the female Augustinian Recollects. The statutes, drawn up by Father Antinólez, and later confirmed by Paul V, bound the sisters to the strictest interpretation of the rules of poverty and obedience, and a rigorous penitential discipline.[13]

Secular Augustinian Recollects

The Third Order of the Recollects of St. Augustine was set up to involve lay men and women. They publicly declare promises to seek to follow the teachings of St. Augustine. Modern changes in the Catholic Church have led to an increased emphasis on the laity in the work of the Church. As part of the Order, they now share in the work of the friars, and have been reorganized as the Secular Augustinian Recollects.

The Secular Augustinian Recollects (together composed a body called the Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternity or SARF) is the Third Order of the Order of Augustinian Recollects. Being a full member of the OAR Family, they share in the charism of the Order and in turn share in the graces bestowed upon the First Order and the Second Order.

Today, the SARF is present in 15 countries, divided into 111 local chapters and totals about 3500 members. like the Recollect priests and nuns, full-fledged members of the Third Order attach the SAR to their names.


Like the Third Order of the Augustinians, the Secular Augustinian Recollects trace back its history in the Middle Ages. On 5 December 1588, a number of religious of the Augustinian Province of Castile, moved by a special collective charism, expressed with renewed fervour, and according to new norms, their desire to live the type of consecrated life which Saint Augustine established in the Church, illustrated by his doctrine and examples and ordered in his Holy Rule.[14] Hence, the Augustinian Recollection came to be.

The first groups of tertiaries were recorded in the convents of Madrid, Alcalá, Nava del Rey. In Granada, there were known to exist two or three groups of mantelatas (Spanish members of the Third Order) between 1655 and 1676.

Notable members

See also


  1. ^ Annuario Pontificio per l'Anno 2022. Citta del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 2022. p. 1388.
  2. ^ Who we are, Order of Augustinian Recollects. Retrieved 2017-10-20.
  3. ^ Scully, Vincent. "Thomas of Jesus." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912
  4. ^ a b c "4170: Augustinian Recollects", Augnet
  5. ^ Rodríguez, Isaac (1992). "Historia de la Iglesia en Hispanoamérica y Filipinas, Volume II", pg.711. Madrid.
  6. ^ "Augustinian Recollects in the Philippines until 1898", Simbahan
  7. ^ U.S. War Department (1903). "Annual Reports of the War Department, 1903 Vol. III", pg. 441. Government Printing Office, Washington.
  8. ^ a b c d Escalante, Rene (May 12, 2020). "WATCH: GOMBURZA an NHCP Documentary" (video). National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
  9. ^ Marangan, Hanna May (May 3, 2023). "Unveiling the National Marker for the Augustinian Recollects". SunStar Cebu. Retrieved May 8, 2023.
  10. ^ "Order of Augustinian Recollects: China and Taiwan". Retrieved 2008-05-16.
  11. ^ "St. Joseph Parish Golden Anniversary". Archived from the original on 2008-05-03. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
  12. ^ "Alonso de Orozco", Vatican News Service
  13. ^ Heimbucher, Max. "Hermits of St. Augustine." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 30 May 2021 Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  14. ^ Romanillos, Emmanuel Luis; The Augustinian Recollects in the Philippines : Hagiography & History; 2000; Manila
  15. ^ "THE TWENTY NEW CARDINALS OF BERGOGLIO". Retrieved 2015-02-16.

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainJackson, Samuel Macauley, ed. (1914). "Augustinians". New Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (third ed.). London and New York: Funk and Wagnalls.