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Justice and Peace

As a commitment to social and spiritual service, the Augustinians of the Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova are actively engaged in several specialized ministries with particular focus on issues involving justice, peace and the poor in our society. To paraphrase Saint Augustine, true leaders walk alongside their people, sharing their journey and experiences as they accompany them.

+ About George

George Munyan is the administrative organizer for A.D.R.O.P.’s Adeodatus Ministry. Prior to beginning his work in prison ministry, George was a teacher and Principal in the Cherry Hill East School District in New Jersey. George is involved with the Adeodatus support groups; plans the Adeodatus retreat; organizes the annual (and much anticipated) Christmas party; arranges the Adeodatus school visits; and writes, prints and distributes the newsletter, Voices from Prison and the Edge.

“The Justice and Peace Office is committed to an ongoing program of education and encouragement of the people its Augustinians serve through various ministries,” said John E. Deegan, O.S.A., Director of the Justice and Peace Office For the Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova and Founder of the Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor (A.D.R.O.P.).

The office oversees several ministries including A.D.R.O.P. and the Department of Public Information, Non-Governmental Organization (DPI – NGO), in addition to hosting Justice and Peace Conferences.

The purpose of A.D.R.O.P. is about building bridges – bridges between people, communities, social service organizations, health care providers, politicians and others, in order to build community.

+ About Evelyn

“Evelyn Urquhart is a mother, grandmother and great grandmother, who retired from the City of Philadelphia in 2007 after 38 years of service as an Administrative Services Supervisor for the Department of Public Health. As a lifelong patron of the Shrine, she attends weekly scripture class, has been an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, and has served on the Social Committee, as a member of the Pastoral Council, on St. Rita’s Feast Day Committee, and as an Honor Guard for the Shrine. Evelyn is also one of the founding members and the Treasurer of SGB (Sisters Giving Back), an organization whose goal is to improve the lives of girls and young women”

The Province’s service extends beyond the local community. The Augustinian Order is an accredited Non-Governmental Organization (N.G.O.) at the United Nations. The Augustinian presence at the U.N. is an instrument for implementing values of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the international forum. The Order seeks to defend human rights, promote education and literacy, as well as economic and social development, and to foster a Culture of Peace, in accord with traditional Catholic social teaching.

Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor —A.D.R.O.P.

+ About Jimmy

James “Jimmy” Cialella is a former Army paratrooper and father of two. He is the founder and manager of “The Open Door,” a drug rehab home in South Philadelphia for recovering addicts. Jimmy is a former addict himself and strongly credits his recovery to his faith. On his journey to recovery, he found the Adeodatus prayer group and immediately became involved and a fixture at the meetings. Today, Jimmy is a speaker in the Adeodatus “Drugs to Prison Pipeline,” presentation where he moves the students with the story of his own journey out of addiction.

Pope Francis said, “Love for the poor is at the center of the Gospel,” and this sentiment rings true through the devoted work of the Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor (A.D.R.O.P.), the primary social ministry and charitable branch of the Augustinian Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova.

Lacie Michaelson, Executive Director of A.D.R.O.P.

Lacie Michaelson, Executive Director of A.D.R.O.P.

Founded in 2004 by Father Jack Deegan, O.S.A., A.D.R.O.P. brings together service providers, leaders and volunteers to assess the needs of the marginalized, underserved and most vulnerable members of society in South Philadelphia and to match these needs with known resources.

“A foundational pillar of the Augustinians and A.D.R.O.P is fighting poverty,” said Lacie Michaelson, Executive Director of A.D.R.O.P. “Through our programming, we take a holistic approach to mending the symptoms and causes of poverty with the over-arching goal of eradicating poverty systematically.”

+ About Kelsey

Currently pursuing a master’s degree in Public Administration, Kelsey Rode served as an Augustinian Volunteer with A.D.R.O.P. from 2017 – 2018. During her time at A.D.R.O.P., she coordinated the Distance Learning program, served as a panelist for Adeodatus high school presentations, began a student council program at St. Anthony of Padua Regional Area Catholic School, and performed a number of other tasks for the non-profit. In addition to her countless hours of volunteering, she worked in the office of Massachusetts State Senator Adam G. Hinds from 2019 – 2020.

A.D.R.O.P. offers service through seven unique ministry programs: the Unity Clinic, Educational Enrichment, Restorative Justice, Sanctuary, Handicapped Encounter Christ (HEC), Caritas Populorum and Youth for Prison Reform. In collaboration with the Province’s other ministries, such as Villanova University, A.D.R.O.P is able to provide free primary care medicine, free ESL classes, retreats for people of differing abilities, and educational and transitional services to former inmates. It also cultivates a spirit of community through its strong network of volunteers.


Augustine and Catholic Social Teaching

Are you curious about how St. Augustine might have reacted to many of the major social justice issues of today?

Friar walking with three college students through a college campus

The Legacy of

St. Augustine in the Catholic Church

Augustine was a thoughtful, empathetic, and loving servant of God. He valued community, welcomed others, and treated them the way they deserved to be treated. Augustine also laid the foundation for the Order of St. Augustine. The Order continues to explore ways to care for those in great need both in our Province work throughout Massachusetts, New Jersey, and surrounding states and in our greater missions throughout the world.

We invite you to continue to learn about St. Augustine, his life, and his teachings.

Sign up for our e-newsletter, where we share news and updates on how we continue to follow in St. Augustine’s footsteps.