The ministries of the Order in Korea presently include a retreat house in downtown Incheon, which also offers opportunities to both religious and lay people for spiritual guidance and direction; retreat opportunities in the countryside at Yeoncheon; the social welfare apostolate (Group Home for boys from dysfunctional families) in Incheon, and regular commitments to supply Masses in parishes where there is a need. The Augustinians are one of the pioneering missionary orders involved in the evangelisation in East Asia and have maintained an active presence in the region over four hundred years. Even so, it was only in 1985 that the OSA came to the already well-established and active Korean Church.
The Augustinian Delegation of Korea was founded in 1985 as a result of a direct initiative of the General Chapter, the main governing body of the Order, in 1983. Within two years of a commitment being made by The Provinces of Australia and England/Scotland to jointly sponsor the venture, the first community of four Augustinians was established in Korea at the invitation of the Diocese of Incheon. Personnel from the Philippines Province of Cebu collaborated in the Delegation from 1993 until April 2011. Currently in 2017 there is one Australian Augustinian still serving in Korea.
The Delegation accepted its first Korean candidates in 1990 and still regards the task of training these first Korean-born Augustinians as a primary ministry. As of January 2014 eleven Korean Augustinians have now made their solemn profession in the Delegation, four of whom are non-clerical brothers, six are priests and one is still preparing for priesthood. As well, there are seven young men in initial formation, six of whom have completed novitiate and made their first profession of religious vows.
In 1998 the Delegation of Korea was proud to open and dedicate its second major building, on Kanghwa Island, near the city of Incheon, for the use of Augustinian students attending the nearby Incheon Diocesan Seminary. The members of the Delegation have fostered an interest in the Order’s work and spirit among the lay people of the Korean church, through the formation of small groups of Lay Augustinians. These groups, sin in all, support the Order with their prayers and assist with their time and energies in many ways.
May 2000 saw the realisation of a number of years of planning for a modest apostolate in the area of social welfare with the opening of a home in Incheon for a community of boys (primary to the end of high school) deprived of the proper care and support of family. In 2006 the Delegation developed an adjacent property to its central house in Incheon and opened St Rita's Hall in December of that year thus providing a suitable venue for Order celebrations and also serves as a lecture hall. In March 2005 three Augustinians moved into a small house, Mother of Good Counsel Priory, on the side of a steep mountain near the town of Yeonchon at the northern end of the new Diocese of Uijeongbu, north of Seoul.
This Priory was a place of prayer and retreats for individuals, small groups, and families, especially during the warmer summer months when some may wish to come and stay to pray and enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery. After Incheon and Kanghwa, this new venue was the third community apostolate of the Augustinians in Korea.
The most recent development has been the sale of the small venture in Yeonchon and its replacement by a far larger project, which is detailed on the following web page.
At the time of the Delegation Assembly in January 2014, the Augustinian Delegation of Korea has eleven Korean-born members in solemn vows (six priests, four lay brothers, and one clerical student), six in simple vows and one postulant. One Australian priest remains there as the only expatriate Augustinian in the Delegation.
The Delegation celebrated its 25 years in Korea in October of 2010 when forty-one Augustinian guests joined them after the Mid General Chapter in the Philippines. However, the work of the Delegation is still only in its early stages and the Order looks forward to the day when a good number of Korean Augustinians will not only be active in the local Church but also make a contribution to the wider mission of the Order in Asia and beyond in the coming years. Please pray for the Augustinians in Korea.
St Augustine's Priory, Chameojeon-ro 72, Beon-gil 11, Chon Dong, Chung Gu, Incheon 400-190 Republic of Korea
Telephone: (0011 +82 32) 761 0768 Fax: (0011 +82 32) 766 6149 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: http://www.osakorea.or.kr The website is written in the Korean language; however, on the site map on the home page, the pages in the second column are News (see characters at the right), where there are many photographs.