Today we honour the memory of Blessed Clement of Osimo & Augustine of Tarano. They both served the Order as Prior General and were instrumental in directing and stabilizing the Order shortly after its birth.
Clement was born at the very beginning of the 13th Century in the Italian region known as The Marches of Ancona. As a youth he joined the Hermits of Brettino, one of the congregations which later came to form the Order of St. Augustine in 1256. Subsequent to the Grand Union he was elected Prior Provincial in 1269 and Prior General in 1271. He resigned from the generalate in 1274 to live a more contemplative life.
In 1284, however, we was unanimously elected Prior General once again, and was re-elected twice more thereafter. He strongly promoted studies among the friars, insisted on religious observance, called for the provision of libraries and archives in monasteries and founded convents of Augustinian Nuns. Clement died on April 8, 1291.
Augustine Novello was born at Tarano (Rieti), Italy, around 1240 and at baptism was given the name Matthew. In his youth he studied law at the University of Bologna and worked in the chancery of the Kingdom of Sicily at the court of King Manfred. In the Battle of Benevento in 1266, the king was killed and Augustine was wounded. This became the occasion for a change of life for the promising lawyer, who then left Sicily to enter the Augustinian hermitage of Rosia near Siena as a lay brother, taking the name Augustine and concealing his education and background from the community.
Later, when a property dispute arose between the friars and the bishop, Augustine drew up a defence of the community’s position and his true identity became known. He was then called to Rome by Prior General Clement of Osimo and ordained priest. He was put to work on the formulation of the Order’s Constitutions and named penitentiary in the Roman Curia. He was elected Prior General in 1298 but resigned 2 years later, spending his remaining years in the hermitage of San Leonardo al Lago near Siena. He died on May 19, 1309 at San Leonardo.
This history was taken from: