St Augustine was legally constituted under South African law as a provider of tertiary education in 1999; in 2008, it was canonically recognised by a decree of the South African Bishops’ Conference; in the same year, it was recognised by the Congregation for Catholic Education, as a Catholic University. St Augustine operates in conformity with the provisions of the Code of Canon Law and the 1990 Apostolic Constitution of St Pope John Paul II, Ex Corde Ecclesiae.
St Augustine College is both ‘university’ and ‘Catholic’. As a ‘university’, it shares the ‘gaudium de veritate’; it is committed to the search for, and the communication of, the truth (the whole truth … about nature, man and God); it is institutionally autonomous, conducting research and teaching that is responsive to the problems and needs of its context: South Africa. However, as ‘Catholic’, instead of reason being seen in opposition to faith, the two are united in their courageous exploration of ‘the riches of Revelation and of nature.’
The College is named after one of the greatest philosophers and theologians of Christianity, St Augustine of Hippo. Apart from the important contribution he made to the early development of Christianity, St Augustine of Hippo was a son Africa. This worthy patron noted that faith and reason are ‘the two forces that lead us to knowledge’. St Augustine expressed his understanding of the relationship between faith and reason through two formulae: Crede ut intelligas (‘believe that you may understand’) – faith opens the way to step through the door of truth – but also, and inseparably, intellige ut credas (‘understand that you may believe’) – in order to find God and believe one must scrutinise truth. It is this second formula that is the motto of our College.
Although Catholic, St Augustine is neither exclusivist nor parochial. Indeed, at this critical juncture in the growth and development of our society, the challenge is to imbue in each individual – regardless of religious or cultural differences – an unequivocal respect for the dignity of the human person and a determination to build a more just and equitable society that will benefit all. We believe that graduates of St Augustine are uniquely positioned to embrace that challenge. Committed to the spirit and values of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, the mission of St Augustine is to produce graduates who have learnt ‘to think rigorously, so as to act rightly and to serve humanity better’.
The academic community – staff and students – that we are attempting to build at St Augustine is one that is ‘characterised by mutual respect, sincere dialogue, and protection of the rights of individuals’; an academic community that ‘assists each of its members to achieve wholeness as human persons; in turn, everyone in the community helps in promoting unity, and each one, according to his or her role and capacity.’
Source: St. Augustine Website