The Order’s Rules
The Rule of St. Augustine is the oldest preserved monastic rule of the Occident. Augustine wrote it around 397, i.e., after he had been elected bishop of Hippo Regius in 396/397.
In few sentences, Augustine lays out the fundamental principles of a communal, religious life for the members of his monastic community. The biblical foundation of his messages pervades the text. The ideal of the early Christian community of Jerusalem is shown as an example for the fundamental spiritual values of love and community. Augustine is not all that concerned with regulating the details of daily life; instead, his focus is on the fundamental attitude of Christian love, which will result in a successful community.
During the course of history, a total of three Rules, of which, in turn, there are different versions, have been ascribed to St. Augustine as their author: the “Rule for Women” (Regularis informatio), the “Rule for Men” (Praeceptum), and the “Monastic Rules” (Ordo monasterii). In the past decades, thorough textual research has been able to prove that only the Praeceptum, with a version each for women and men, goes back to Augustine himself.
The Rule can be downloaded here.