Brothers Max, Robert & Philip


Bro. Maxime Villenueve, OSA, earned his Bachelor’s  Degree in Religious Studies at San Diego State University. While there I was very involved in the leadership of the SDSU Newman Center. After graduating he entered the Diocese of San Diego priestly formation program in a year of discernment. During that year he studied philosophy at the University of San Diego and was able to discern that he didn’t fit the independent model of diocesan life. He left the diocesan program and worked for two years as Director of Faith Formation at Blessed Sacrament Church in San Diego. During that time Fr. Mark Menegatti, OSA began inviting him to dinner at the Augustinian Friary at St. Augustine High School where “I felt the warmth and feeling at home of the friars in that community pulling me toward the Augustinians.” Through their guidance he contacted Fr. Tom Whelan, OSA who invited him to a Province of St. Augustine discernment retreat. Within a short time he asked Fr. Tom about entrance into the Province of St. Augustine formation program, telling him what his experiences were telling him.

During the Fall Retreat of 2011 he was accepted as a pre-novitiate candidate and entered the St. Rita of Cascia Augustinian community  in San Francisco, CA. While there he completed his undergraduate philosophy requirements at the University of San Francisco and the University of Steubenville Distance Learning Program. He also volunteered at the San Francisco Food Bank throughout the year and was asked to begin his Novitiate in August of 2013.

“During the summer before my Novitiate I helped Fr. Kirk Davis, OSA, and other members of the province, chaperone students from St. Augustine High School during the 2013 World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with Pope Francis. We also attended Augustinian Youth Encounter (“AYE”), meeting students from around the world with similar ties to the Augustinians.

Now, having lived my year of novitiate, and professing my vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience for one year, I am beginning my study of graduate theology at CTU, living with fellow Augustinian students in the St. Augustine Friary, in Chicago.


Bro. Robert Baiocco, OSA, is from Batavia, NY, which is near Buffalo, NY. His family moved to Palm Beach Gardens, FL in the 1980’s. Robert speaks of being involved in church activities, social groups, and having a supporting family. After high school he studied hotel management for two years at Palm Beach State College and began a career working in many US cities and several foreign countries. This first career was pursued for approximately seventeen years. During that time Robert speaks of spiritual discoveries and a growing focus on God and where he felt God was calling him to grow. “It was then that I began to surrender to a dominant missionary spirit and desire to serve God that had been developing within me. During this time St. Augustine came into my life. The Confessions of St. Augustine, a book filled with words and feelings, spoke to the deepest reaches of my being.”

During his time of discovering God at work in his life, Robert speaks of working with migrant farm workers in New York, who are confined to rural camp areas. “I gave up the successful life I had been living, moving further away from having possessions to giving to others.” He speaks of meeting Fr. Jim Clifford, OSA where Fr. Jim was pastor of the parish where he had become involved in Southern Oregon. “Fr. Jim suggested that I attend an Augustinian discernment retreat in San Diego. There I discovered the ministries in which the Augustinians of California are involved, especially Hogar Infantil Orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico. I helped there for four months after the retreat and then became involved with the Missionaries of Charity in the Philippines and India. These experiences led me  to discern that I was being guided by the Holy Spirit to investigate joining a religious order. My experience with the Augustinians drew me to enter their Pre-Novitiate community in San Francisco, where daily prayer, and daily Mass, helped me realize I was growing in my response to God, and where God is calling me.”

Bro. Philip Yang, OSA, became acquainted with the Augustinians while studying graduate theology at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago IL as a Maryknoll student. Becoming friends with Augustinian graduate theology students he felt a tug from the Holy Spirit to Philipinquire about the Augustinian Villanova Province. During his novitiate year he felt another tug to request permission to enter the Province of St. Augustine in California, allowing him to live near his parents in the Los Angeles area. During the 2015-2016 school year during the summer, Philip is studying Spanish in a intense course at a language school in Monterey, CA. In the Fall he will be assisting at a Korean/Catholic Church in San Diego, and learning the liturgical formats and customs of Catholic Koreans in the United States.

Bro Nick Porter, OSA

NickStPetersSmallBro. Nick Porter, OSA, 27, is a Southern California native who grew up in the Los Angeles area. After graduating from the University of California, San Diego he began a job as a software engineer. He enjoyed the creativity, the mathematics and the logic in programming that the work entailed. Yet it was not enough. Shortly after graduation, while he was still new in his job, Nick began discerning his vocation to the religious life, a four-year process that culminated in entering the Augustinian pre-novitiate program at the St. Rita House in September of 2010. In the fall of 2011 he began his Novitiate year in Racine, WI.

Looking back, Nick says he can now recognize a tug toward a vocation earlier in his life. Starting in 2006, he became more attentive and receptive toward the possibility. “For the most part, I progressed internally by prayer and reflection,” he recalls. “Externally, I read whatever I could get my hands on about the priesthood; visiting different places to learn of the different ways of life moving toward priesthood— diocesan, monastic and so on; and helped with a number of catechetical, charitable, and liturgical ministries at my parish.” He attended an Augustinian vocation discernment weekend in San Diego and then a second, nine months later. He began interacting with the Augustinians occasionally, going to an Augustinian monastery for prayer and dinner, visiting the orphanage in Tijuana, and Augustinian parishes and ministries in California.

“Over time, I began to think that a religious life in the fraternal model would suit me better than monastic life or the secular priesthood, although I was far from certain about that at the time. The Augustinians I met all seemed to think I had a vocation, and this made the idea less fantastic, less a distant hope. I began to think I could actually do it.”

While the St. Rita House in San Francisco he studied philosophy at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology. During the year he also served on the R. C. I. A. team at St. Ignatius Church, a ministry he had previously done at the Newman Center in La Jolla. During 1212-1213 Nick studied theology and Latin in Chicago. He is currently studying Italian and graduate level theology at St. Monica’s in Rome.

Rev. Bro. Carlos Medina, OSA

Rev. Bro. Carlos Medina OSA, 26, is a Solemnly Professed Augustinian. Carlos was born in Colombia, and immigrated to the United States with his family in 2000. He was led to discern religious life through his involvement in parish ministries at Saint Bonaventure Church in Concord, CA, and through his father’s persistent advise to dedicate his life to helping other people. Near the end of his second year of college he started attending a discernment group. He contacted Fr. Tom Whelan, OSA after reading a bulletin add from Queen of All Saints Church in Concord, CA. He attended a vocation retreat in San Diego and liked the fellowship and camaraderie he observed among the friars. This led him to seek admission into the Province of St. Augustine Pre-novitiate program in San Francisco, where he lived for one year while completing his bachelor’s degree, graduating with honors in philosophy from UC Berkeley. After his Novitiate year in Racine, WI Carlos professed his Simple Vows on July 31, 2010 and studied graduate theology at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, IL. During his time in formation, Carlos has accompanied the Burmese community in San Diego, alongside other assigned ministry. He is currently ministering as a deacon at St. Patrick’s Church in San Diego, CA, where he will be ordained, and continue his Pastoral Ministry after ordination to the Presbyterate.

Blessed Cherubin Testa of Avigliana

Cherubin, an only son, was born in Avigliana (Torino), Italy, in 1451, where he entered the Augustinian Order at the age of twenty. He died eight years later, on 17 December, 1479, barely eight months after his ordination as a priest.

Cherubin was distinguished by the spirit of obedience, purity of life, and devotion to the passion of Christ. To this day Blessed Cherubin is still very alive in Avigliana and the surrounding area. His mortal remains are displayed for the veneration of the faithful in the parish of Saints John and Peter in Avigliana (Torino), Italy.

Blessed Cherubin’s feast is celebrated by the Augustinian Family on 16 December.

Rotelle, John, Book of Augustinian Saints, Augustinian Press 2000

Blessed Martin of Saint Nicholas and Melchior of Saint Augustine

smallblessed Martin and Blessed Melchior gave their lives to spread the gospel of Jesus.

Martin Lumberas was born in Zaragosa, Spain, in 1598 and Melchior Sanchez in Granada the following year. blessedsmartinandmelchior

Before he joined the Recollect Congregation of the Augustinian Order at the age of twenty, Martin suffered the death of his brothers — one killed while trying to establish peace between two enemies, the other an Augustinian — and that of his sisters, one a Carmelite who died with a reputation for sanctity. In 1622 he left for the missions in the Philippines.

Melchior, orphaned at an early age, received the Recollect habit of the Augustinian Order at the age of eighteen and set sail for the Philippine mission in 1621. Both friars arrived at the monastery of Saint Nicholas in Manila after their ordination in Mexico City. In the Philippines, among other duties, Martin was master of novices, and Melchior was engaged in the apostolate of preaching. In July 1632, in response to a request of two missionary confreres imprisoned in Japan, they asked to be sent to that country to care for persecuted Christians who had been forced into hiding. They arrived in September of that same year and began to minister in the hills surrounding Nagasaki, until some of the very men who had helped them reach Japan reported them to the officials. Having undergone various forms of torture, there were burned at the stake on 11 December 1632.

Martin and Mechior were beatified by Pope John Paul II on 26 March 1989. The Augustinian Family celebrates their feast on 11 December.

Rotelle, John, Book of Augustinian Saints, Augustinian Press 2000