(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the participants in the 55th General Chapter of the Order of Augustinian Recollects on Thursday in the Vatican.
The Augustinian Recollects trace their origins to a 1588 reform of the Augustinian Friars in Spain, and became an autonomous congregation in 1621. It was only in the early 20th century, however, that they received full recognition as a Mendicant Order under the Rule of St. Augustine – and they have the distinction of being the last Order to receive such recognition from the Holy See.
In Spanish-language remarks prepared for the occasion and delivered on Thursday morning in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis encouraged the Recollects to continue in their ongoing work of renewing the vision of St. Augustine, “[T]o live as brothers ‘with one heart and one soul (Rule 1, 2),’ reflecting the ideal of the first Christians and being a living spirit of prophecy and communion in this world of ours, that there might be neither division nor conflict nor exclusion, but that harmony might reign[.]”
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The General Chapter of the Augustinian Recollects is the supreme authority within the Order. It takes place every six years and it examines the status of the institution. The Prior General and his counsellors are also elected in it, and these then prepare a plan to put into operation the decisions taken by the members of the Chapter over the subsequent six years.