Order of Augustinian Recollects

Order of Augustinian Recollect
Abbreviation O.A.R. (formerly O.R.S.A)
Ordo Augustinianorum Recollectorum
Formation 1588 in Toledo, Spain
Founder a group of Augustinians in the late 16th Century; Way of Life written by Fray Luis de León
Type Catholic religious order
Headquarters Viale dell'Astronomia, 27
00144 Rome, Italy
approx. 1200 Augustinian Recollects
Prior General
Fr. Javier Desiderio Guerra Ayala[1]
Vicario General
Fr. Miguel Miró Miró
Website agustinosrecoletos.org
USA Augustinian Recollects' coat of arms
Augustinian Recollect novices at the Monasterio de Marcilla in Navarra, Spain

The Order of Augustinian Recollects (O.A.R.) or simply the Augustinian Recollects are a Roman Catholic mendicant Catholic religious order of friars and nuns. They are a reformist offshoot from the Augustinian hermit friars and follow the same Rule of St. Augustine.

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


The Order was founded in 16th-century Spain as a separate province of the Augustinian friars under their own Vicar General. Through the 5th Determination of the Chapter of Toledo, it was decided that:

Since there are among us, or at least may be, some who have greater love for monastic perfection and want to follow a more austere plan of life, we ought to favor their legitimate desire by not placing obstacles to the Holy Spirit; having previously consulted our most Reverend Father General and implored his leave, we determine that in our Province three or more monasteries of men and as many of women be designated or established; in them a more austere kind of life is to be practiced; its manner is to be regulated, after mature reflection, by the Father Provincial with his Definitorum.[2]

Their reform emphasized fidelity to the Rule of St. Augustine. The reformers placed special emphasis on community prayer and simplicity of life.

On June 5, 1621, the Recollects was raised to the level of an autonomous Religious Congregation, giving it the right to divide itself into provinces. They were formally recognized as a Mendicant Order in the Catholic Church in 1912, the last to be so designated.

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 Roman 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.

Global Recollect presence

The Recollects are present in 19 countries including:

In 1997, the Recollects numbered 1,258 in 201 religious houses,[3] distributed into eight provinces (regions) in four continents, but strongest in Spain, the Philippines and Colombia. The official languages of the Order are Spanish, English, and Portuguese.

OAR Missions

Augustinian Recollects in the Philippines

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.[4]

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. 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.[5] 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.

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 City 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 founded in 1941 and the San Sebastian College - Recoletos 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 two San Pedro Academy in the Brgys. Poblacion and Caidiocan in Valencia, Negros Oriental.

Formation houses and seminaries include the Santo Tomas de Villanueva Recoletos Formation House (High School) in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental; Casiciaco Recoletos Seminary / Seminario Mayor - Recoletos (Philosophy) in Baguio City; and the Recoletos Formation Center (Theology) in Miranila Homes Congressional Avenue, Quezon City.

Augustinian Recollects in China

The Recollect foundation in Taiwan is based at Kaohsiung City.[6][7] They are supported by Filipino Recollects from the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno.


The first priest from the Augustinian Recollect Order elevated to the cardinalate was José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán, previously the Archbishop of David in the Republic of Panama, elevated by Pope Francis on February 14, 2015.[8]

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Order of Augustinian Recollects.


  1. Curia General OAR. [www.agustinosrecoletos.com/documents/viewfile/241-organogram-of-the-oar "Organogram of the OAR"]. Order of Augustinian Recollects. Retrieved on 2013-08-26.
  2. Chapter of Toledo 5th Determination
  3. "A thumbnail history of the Augustinian Recollects". Archived from the original on 2008-05-03. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
  4. Rodríguez, Isaac (1992). "Historia de la Iglesia en Hispanoamérica y Filipinas, Volume II", pg.711. Madrid.
  5. U.S. War Department (1903). "Annual Reports of the War Department, 1903 Vol. III", pg. 441. Government Printing Office, Washington.
  6. "Order of Augustinian Recollects: China and Taiwan". Retrieved 2008-05-16.
  7. "St. Joseph Parish Golden Anniversary". Archived from the original on 2008-05-03. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
  8. "THE TWENTY NEW CARDINALS OF BERGOGLIO". Retrieved 2015-02-16.

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

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