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“A feather in the plumage of a great eagle”

Posted for: Darren Poley, Theology / Outreach Librarian

The Augustinian Historical Institute (AHI) collection often attracts the eye of scholars interested in religious history, St. Augustine and the Augustinian Order specifically. Recently however a scholar of Spanish and Hispanic Studies was able to find a work by a seventeenth-century friar Agustín Osorio on a fifteenth-century Spanish Augustinian Saint John of Sahagun in the AHI, which is subsequently now available to scholars via the Digital Library@Villanova University. The work is: Historia de la vida y milagros del padre S. Ioan de Santo Facvndo, comunmente dicho de Sahagun de la Orden de S. Agustín. Barcelona: Empreta de Gabriel Graells, 1604.

There are two main branches of Augustinians. The body of clerics who loosely followed the rule of St. Augustine (Canons Regular of Saint Augustine) and the monastic, and eventually mendicant religious order that resulted from the Grand Union of 1256 (Order of the Hermit Friars of Saint Augustine). For a brief overview of religious orders in Spain, including the Augustinians, see: Medieval Iberia: An Encyclopedia (Routledge, 2003) pages 701-702.

All indications that Osorio was the latter and a member of the order of hermits and friars that is today the Order of Saint Augustine (O.S.A.) was confirmed by consulting works in the AHI:
Alphabetum Augustinianum : Matriti 1644 by Tomás de Herrera (1585-1654), et al. (Roma : Pubblicazioni Agostiniane, 1990) p. 52.
Ensayo de una biblioteca ibero-americana de la Orden de San Agustin by Gregorio de Santiago Vela (Madrid: Impr. del Asilo de huérfanos del S. C. de Jesús, 1913) vol. 4, pp. 202-205.
Agustinos españoles escritores de María by Rafael Lazcano (Guadarrama, Madrid: Editorial Revista Agustiniana, 2005) pp. 225-226.

Villanova University graduate student of Hispanic cultural studies, and instructor of Spanish Ian J. Gates, who has produced a paper which has been submitted for publication and a related research fellowship proposal (The Catholic and Imperial Eagle: Symbol of the Iberian Elite’s Legitimacy), says as a result of the discovery in the AHI, and Falvey’s digitizing of the 1604 work of Fray Osorio on San Juan of Sahagun, “Osorio portrays St. John of Sahagun as a feather in the plumage of a great eagle, the animal which was widely known to be the base of the royal Spanish coat of aims.”




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Last Modified: February 9, 2016

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