Mother Teresa had asked to join the Augustinian family and took up the Rule and ideal of St Augustine: the search together for the Truth that is God. Augustine would have liked, like Mary in the Gospel, to spend his life at the Lord’s feet, but his love for Christ compelled him to action, like Martha. That is what Mother Teresa did; she lived contemplation through action. She wanted her sisters to live in harmonious unity the contemplative and active life. In her Constitutions she reminds them that ‘as they have the honour to have the presence of the Holy Eucharist day and night, they should never leave the Lord on His own; but since they are fully committed to the service of others, they should aim to remain in intimate union with their beloved in their heart and desire’. Thus contemplation becomes active in their apostolate that leads hearts to Christ.
Prayer and work are the two elements that led her to the very heart of the Gospel – love of God and of one’s neighbour, that is to love without limits until full union with God is achieved. The Augustinian community is born out of love and is built on love.
By identifying with Jesus Christ, the obedient suffering servant of God, we the Augustinian Sisters, Servants of Jesus and Mary, want to participate fully in the Mystery of Our Lord Jesus Christ and of his Church. Christ’s desire was to fulfil his Father’s will even unto death on the Cross. We do this by offering ourselves to the Father, in Obedience to our Superiors, by our service to the People of God and to the world as a model of a small Church being, as our Constitutions tell us, “united in heart and soul in the ardour of charity”.
The Roman Teresa Spinelli (see website here) opened her first school for girls in Frosinone in 1821. She had always had the wish to become one with Christ the Suffering Servant. She wanted to fulfil this ideal with others by forming, together with them, a community that would live the Gospel on the model of the first community ‘where everyone would carry within her that communal love that makes up one heart – the ‘heart of Christ’. The name ‘Augustinian Sisters, Servants of Jesus and Mary’ expresses in a few words the Spirituality and Charism of the Congregation that she founded.
Description of the logo
The centre of the logo shows a burning heart. This is a symbol of the love which every Augustinian should experience in God. It is a love so deep that one simply cannot keep it to himself, but feels an urge to share it with others, with his companions in the community and with all those he meets. The arrow which is piercing the heart represents the intervention of God, the way in which God is able to strike a person’s heart in order for that heart to choose Him above all else. The open book represents the turning point of St Augustine’s life on his listening to the Word of God.
These symbols are shadowed by the symbol of the Cross. It is a symbol of the salvation which every Christian received through Christ. The letter ‘M’ included in the logo was added by Teresa Spinelli in order to express the love she had for Mary; a love which she wished would live in each and every one of the members of the Congregation, especially through answering ‘yes’ to the Father. This is the Augustinian Spirituality which Teresa Spinelli, our Foundress, chose as a guide for her religious life.
“I received Holy Communion with the sentiments of humility and obedience and I acquired faith once more.
This helped me be open with Jesus.”
– M. Teresa Spinelli