Educational ministry of the Augustinian Recollects in the United States

The Order of the Augustinian Recollects has about 47 educational Institutions —Schools, Colleges, Universities and Social educational projects— established 12 countries, serving around 71,000 students. In the United States only had one of its own in the 60’s of 20th Century. Actually, the community of the Augustinian Recollects in Montebello (California) supports one parochial school.
News | 2022 Jan 26

Catholic education has always strived to “Build the Church of God”. The focus of National Catholic Schools Weekthis year was in the areas of Faith, Excellence and Service and this same spirit is definitely extended to programs of religious education at all levels in our parishes.

The Recollect presence in the United States has been one of determination and zeal for the education of the young, especially in faith development while cooperating with the local bishop in a system of parochial schools. In many instances in this country, the need and desire for education was so great that schools were often built even before churches were constructed.

Many parishes staffed by us through the years were fortunate to have the parish (parochial) schools attached to them and enrollment trends are interesting. When the first Recollects arrived in the United States there were almost 5,000 parish schools with 1,270,000 students enrolled. This Catholic school enrollment peaked in the early 1960’s with more than 5.2 million students in 13,000 schools. A steady and sharp decline beginning in the mid-1970’s saw these numbers cut in half. Today there are just over 1 million students attending schools associated with parishes.

The only institution that belonged to us as a community in the United States was Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Preparatory Seminary in Norfolk, Connecticut which was built in 1960 but closed just ten years later. Throughout the years, many of our religious have been involved in the Educational apostolate at all levels.

We have lived through the changing statistics and suffered with closing of so many schools and now, St. Benedict in Montebello, California, is the only parish we staff that has an elementary school. There are close to 500 students in attendance, ranging from pre-school through middle school (the top eight of a total of twelve pre-university academic grades in the United States). The Institution’s quality is especially notable in new technologies, Spanish, arts and music, which all make up its brand identity.

Every effort has been made to insert our Augustinian charism into the school community and the school motto, “Where Faith and Knowledge Meet”, along with the logo for the Augustinian Family (a heart pierced by an arrow and a book) is visible throughout the campus and well-known to students and families.

A dedicated faculty and staff have kept in mind the thoughts of St. Augustine when he stressed that:

to be an educator was not to speak as a master, but as a minister, not just to students but to others who are also learning since I speak not to servants but to fellow servants. For we all have one master, whose school is on earth and whose cathedral is in heaven” (Sermon 292, I, I).
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Augustinian Recollects Province of St. Nicholas of Tolentine.

Paseo de la Habana, 167. 28036 - Madrid, Spain. Telephone: 913 453 460. CIF(fiscal registration number): R-2800087-E. Entered in the Register of Religious Organizations, of the Ministry of Justice, number 1398-a-SE/B. Develepod by Shunet for OAR Augustinian Recollects Province of St. Nicholas of Tolentine. © 2018 - 2022.