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Education in the Augustinian Tradition

As a part of the Catholic religious order which traces its origins to St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Villanova Preparatory School promotes his ideal of a community where its members are “of one mind and heart on the way towards God.” An Augustinian approach to education seeks to create a community context in which learning can flourish.

Villanova Preparatory School finds in the life and writings of St. Augustine a compelling legacy. The fifth-century bishop, philosopher, and theologian passionately believed the search for understanding and truth to be a common quest, leading seekers ultimately to God, the source of all truth and wisdom.

As an Augustinian school, Villanova is a community of teachers, students, and parents who support and challenge one another in their learning and study, who need the diversity of experience, faith, and perspectives that enrich the life of the school and its mission to educate young people, and who affirm with Augustine that faith and reason together are reliable guides in the human search for understanding. His care and concern for others provide the members of our community with a model for using our knowledge and expertise to effect change in our society.

At Villanova we seek an education that leads “through knowledge to wisdom,” and to a commitment to justice, peace, and service to society with the values disclosed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the vast writings of St. Augustine (some five million of his words are indexed in computers at Germany’s Wurzburg University), we find no systematic and clear presentation of a scheme for Christian education.

Augustinian education is a community of teachers, students, and parents who support and challenge one another in their learning and study, who need the diversity of experience, faith and perspectives that enrich the life of the school and its mission to educate young people, and who and reason together are reliable guides in the human search for understanding.

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villanova saints

Our school has a beautiful and fantastic history of saints who are role models of sanctity and ethical living for the daily lives of our students. We hope that our students are inspired to live their lives with the empathy and kindness that the saints of Villanova lived through the rich history of Catholic education in the United States.

St. Augustian of Hippo

Feast Day: August 28

Augustine was born in Tagaste, Souk-Ahras, Algeria on November 13, 354 to Patricius, a pagan, and Monica, a devout Catholic. He was given abundant human and intellectual gifts and an inquisitive mind and a passionate spirit.  Though he had been baptized into the Catholic Church by his mother as a child, he fell away during adolescence and young adulthood, and instead was drawn to other forms of spiritual expression, especially in the Manichean sect and later in astrology. Following baptism in Milan in 387, together with his son and some friends, he returned with them to his hometown of Tagaste to begin a monastic life. Against his personal wishes, he was ordained a priest in Hippo in 391 and became bishop of that See in 397, all the while continuing in his monastic lifestyle.

St. Monica of Hippo

Feast Day: August 27

Monica was born in Tagaste, now Algeria, in 331, to a deeply Christian family with some money. She was given in marriage to Patricius, a pagan, who was a small land-owner. Together they had three children, Augustine, Navigius, and a daughter whose name is unknown. Monica had Strong character and faith, she sought to guide her family in their human and Christian development by her own example and prayer, and when necessary her persuasive words and diligent actions. Her greatest joy was to witness the baptism of Augustine, after his long and restless journey to the faith of the Church, by Bishop Ambrose in Milan in 387. Later, however, it was rediscovered and her remains were transferred to the Basilica of Saint Augustine in Rome where they are now venerated

St. Thomas of Villanova

Feast Day: August 20

Thomas Garcia Martinez was born about 1486 in Fuenllana, Spain.  He was raised in Villanueva de Los Infantes, which he is forever linked to. He studied at the University of Alcalá and later at Salamanca, where he entered the Order and was professed on November 25, 1517. On December 24, 1518, he was ordained, priest, and became a holy priest.

He then taught theology in Salamanca and was given the duties of prior to the friary there and later at others.  Thomas died on September 8 and was buried in our friary of Our Lady of Help in Valencia. Later his remains were moved to both the cathedrals of Valencia and Salamanca. He was beatified on October 7, 1618, by Paul V and canonized on November 1, 1658, by Alexander VII.

St. Joseph the Worker

Feast Day: August 19

Many of us know St. Joseph as the earthly father of Jesus and the husband of Mary, but to the Augustinians, he is the Protector of the Order.  He was made the Protector of the Augustian Order in 1491 .  Everything we know about St. Joseph is from Scripture.  We know that he was a carpenter and a provider and responsible for Mary and Jesus 

He came from very humble means, which can be seen when he takes Jesus and Mary to the temple and uses two turtle doves as an offering. These were only allowed for those who could not afford a lamb.  Despite his limited income, he came from a royal lineage.  In both the book of Luke and Matthew, his descent is from King David, the greatest King of Israel.

St. Rita of Cascia

Feast Day: may 22

Rita Lotti was born in 1381 in the small village of Roccaporena, Italy, and was the only child of a devout and humble Christian couple. She was betrothed at a young age to Paolo Mancini and together they raised two sons. Paolo was murdered as the result of a long-standing family rivalry.  Rita was able to forgive because of her strong Christian convictions, but her sons, who were teenagers, were determined to avenge their father’s death.

She practiced prayer and simple works of charity. This remained until her death at 76 years of age on May 22, 1457. Rita of Cascia was canonized on May 24, 1900 by Leo XIII who proclaimed her ‘The Precious Pearl of Umbria.’ Her body is venerated in her basilica in Cascia.

St. Clare of Montefalco

Feast Day: august 12

Clare was born in Montefalco, Italy, in 1268. She was the second daughter of Damiano and Iacopo Vengente. From a very early age, she lived a hermit life with her older sister Giovanna and another young woman in a small dwelling that Damiano had built for them in a remote area. Clare was a lively and intelligent young girl and was just as prayerful, penitential, humble and kind.

After the death of her sister, Clare at 23 was elected abbess and became mother, teacher and spiritual director of the convent. After her death, this was verified when the nuns examined her heart and found in it symbols of the passion of the Lord. Clare died on August 17, 1308, at the age of 40 and was canonized by Leo XIII in 1881.