All Christian spirituality is derived from the "Spirit" of Jesus sent to dwell among believers in Christ and members of His Church. The workings of the Holy Spirit are wonderfully varied, as are the gifts that He bestows upon the faithful. Such "gifts" are called "charisms". Since the Second Vatican Council, religious communities have studied and clarified the "charism" or "original inspiration" which best describes the spirituality of each congregation.
The Augustinian Recollects share in the charism associated with St. Augustine of Hippo, the great Father of the Church and author of a Rule for religious life. The outstanding features of this Rule and of the spirituality associated with St. Augustine who is, also, the author of the famous Confessions are dedication to a life of conversion to Christ cultivated first of all in the interior life of each religious, and a community life which is the fruit of the on-going conversion of each member of the community. An Augustinian Recollect combines a life of contemplation, the search for God within, with a life of apostolic activity.
The search for God and continuing reform of self requires the daily practice of fraternal charity, fidelity to prayer, both personal and in common, study of Sacred Scripture, and a willingness to be a servant-disciple of the Word of God in imitation of St. Augustine. To "recollect" with St. Augustine is to return to the basics of the Catholic faith and to cultivate a love for the contemplative life while, at the same time, contribute to the up building of the Body of Christ, the Church.
Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, on the occasion of the 16th centenary of the conversion of St. Augustine, celebrated in the universal Church in the years 1986-87, reminded the religious of the Augustinian Family that it was their duty to keep alive, in the midst of a changing world, the ever attractive figure of St. Augustine, the great convert. His philosophy, theology, and spirituality continue to offer responses to the crisis of these times of rapid and radical change. More than any saint, he speaks of the human condition as that of the "restless heart" which knows no peace until it "rests in God".
The Augustinian heritage is immense and has served the Church for over 16 centuries: it is "ever ancient" and "ever new". It is a spirituality at once profound and universal, going straight to the human heart and to the discovery of the Triune God in that very heart which is made to the "image and likeness" of the Creator.