Bl. Augustine of Tarano

May 19th

Augustine (Novello) of Tarano, was born near Rieti, Italy. After completing studies in both civil and canon law at the University of Bologna he became prefect in the court of King Manfred of Sicily. During a battle at Benevento in which the king was killed, Augustine resolved to enter religious life and joined the Augustinians as a lay brother, keeping his profession and former social status secret. His identity was revealed, however, when his community became involved in a property dispute with the local bishop, and the lawyer for the Augustinian Order recognized Blessed Augustine as a former colleague.

When Blessed Clement of San Elpidio (of Osimo), the prior general, learned of Augustine’s back- ground he commanded him to be ordained a priest, brought him to Rome to work on the Augustinian Order’s Constitutions, and nominated him penitentiary in the Roman Curia.

Blessed Augustine soon came to be called “Augustinus Novellus” (The ‘new Augustine’) because of his fidelity, love for the Church and keenness of intellect. He was elected Prior general of the Augustinians in 1298. Despite his attempts to refuse this position he was ordered by the pope to accept. In 1300 he resigned from office and spent the remaining ten years of his life at the hermitage of San Leonardo al Lago. There he ministered to the people of the surrounding villages as well as in nearby Siena. He played an important role in the founding of Siena’s hospital of Santa Maria della Scala and composed a set of guidelines for the hospital community. He died on 19 May in 1309. His remains, kept for a long time in the church of Sant’ Agostino in Siena, are now preserved at Termini Imerese in Sicily. The Augustinian Family commemorates Bl. Augustine of Tarano on 19 May.

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