Before all else, live in harmony and be of one mind and one heart on the way to God.  
(St Augustine’s Rule, Ch1)

Every religious order or congregation in the church has its own particular charism.  A charism is that special spirit left by the order's founder(s), or that special aspect of the Christian message on which its seeks to focus, to the extent that such a spirit and/or aspect comes to exert a real effect on those who come into contact with it.

The particular charism of the Order of St Augustine is an intense emphasis on genuine community life to the extent that the minds and hearts of the many who live together are fused into one through charity and centred upon God.

According to the Rule of Augustine, this is "the primary purpose of our coming together.”  In fact, this can be held as the only purpose in coming together, and that every other reason is a natural consequence of understanding what it means to be "of one mind and one heart intent upon God.”  (Rule, 1.)

This also constitutes the type of community life that reflects Christ's own desire for his church, that all may be one, as you, Father, are one in me, and I in you.  (John 17:21)

And since for Augustine such genuine unity of minds and hearts was his intended and lived experience, it is no wonder that human and spiritual friendship is a basic element of Augustine's approach to and emphasis on community life.

This "unity in charity" is the very heart of the Augustinian community, and undoubtedly constitutes the ultimate sign value of Augustinian community in the eyes of others.

When this "unity of charity" becomes a reality in an Augustinian community, such a community inevitably and unavoidably takes on a powerful witness value.

It becomes a clearer sign of the unity of the church, a sign of the possibility of a true community of all humanity, and a sign of God's grace by which alone a community can fully overcome the natural obstacles to such a unity.

This charism and its effects way beyond any particular Augustinian community is to be kept in mind in an attempt at understanding fully the relationship between an Augustinian community and its apostolate.