The Holy Rule of Saint Augustine – Chapter 5

December 31, 2007



The Goods Needed in this Passing Life and Those Charged with Their Care

30. Your clothes shall be kept in one place under the charge of one or two or as many as may be required to care for them, lest they be spoiled by the moths. And as you are fed by one kitchen, so you shall be clothed from one wardrobe. If possible, it shall not be left to you to decide which garment, according to the requirement of the seasons, be assigned to you: whether you receive the same that you turned in or another which one of the brethren had worn; as long as no one is denied what he needs. But if contention and murmuring arise among you through someone’s complaint that he has received a poorer garment than he had worn before, and he resent not being clothed so well as someone else: then learn from this, how much you are still wanting in that inner garment of the soul, quarrelling as you do about the clothing of the body. But if consideration is shown to your weakness, and you are given the same garment which you had laid off, you must still keep in one place under the charge of those appointed whatever clothing you put off.

31. Let no one do anything for himself. All things should be done for the community with greater attention and ready cheerfulness than if each one were working for himself. Charity of which it is written that it seeks not its own, is thus to be understood: that it puts the common good before private advantage, not private advantage before the common good. Know, therefore, that your progress is the greater, the more you are intent on the common good instead of your own. Let charity which abides forever, reign supreme in all things required by the passing needs of this life.

32. Hence, if anyone brings to his children or relative in the monastery clothing or any other useful object, this must not be received secretly but must be handed to the superior, that it may be made common property and given to him who needs it. He that conceals a gift shall be condemned as guilty of theft.

33. The cleaning and conditioning of your garments may be done in the monastery or in professional laundries. But the question of propriety as to the neat appearance of your clothing shall be decided by your superior, lest an inordinate desire for elegant attire cause interior defilement of your soul.

34. Neither shall the body be denied the proper hygienic care according to the requirements of good health. Let the directions of the physician be carried out without objections. If anyone refuses to comply he must, upon the command of the superior, do what is necessary for his health. If he should desire what is perhaps not good, his wish shall not be fulfilled. For also harmful things are sometimes believed to be good because they are pleasant.

35. In the case of an ailment which does not externally appear, the complaint of the Servant of God should be believed without mistrust. But if it is not certain that the remedy he desires is helpful, the physician shall be consulted.

36. In going to the public-health baths or wherever it may be necessary to go, no fewer than two or three should go together. And he that is required to go somewhere must go with those whom the superior appoints.

37. The care of the sick and convalescent or those suffering from any weakness of health, even without fever, must be assigned to one who shall request from the dispensary whatever he deems necessary for each one.

38. Let those who are in charge of the kitchen, clothing or books serve their brethren without grumbling.

39. The books should be asked for at a certain hour each day. He who ask for them outside this hour shall not receive them.

40. But clothing and shoes must be given to those who need them without delay by those in charge.