In his book on Birgu, Gregory Gauci has a chapter on prominent personalities born in Birgu, including (on pages 61-62) an account of Lorenzo (Lawrenz) Agius.
Lorenzo was born in Birgu (Vittoriosa) in 1880, and hardly surprisingly was named after the patron saint of that city (St. Lawrence).
He committed himself to a religious life very early starting his training in the Augustinian Order when he was nearly sixteen, and became a fully fledged member of the order of the hermits of St Augustine (O.E.S.A or O.S.A) eight years later.
'Patri Lawrenz' pursued his academic education avidly becoming a Master of Sacred Theology ( Sacrae Theologiae Magister) and later a Doctor of Canon Law (Juris Canonici Doctor).
He was very active as an Ecclesiastical scholar and author. Lawrenz Agius wrote a number of books in Latin (with his Latin name: Laurentius), Italian (as Lorenzo) and Maltese mainly about the Augustinian Order in Malta or about Canon Law. For example, his published works include:
- Summarium iurium et officiorum parochorum, ad normam codicis iuris canonici. Naples. M. D'auria Pontificius (ed) 1953.
(An image of the title page of this 260 page book intended as a manual for parish priests appears alongside. It is available in the Malta Public Library.)
- Manuale de Ecclesiarum Rectoribus ad normam Juris Canonici. Turin. Marietti, 1931. (118 pages)
- Fiuri fil Gnien Agustinian ... (Manuale dei Terziari Agostiniani). Malta 1930,
L'Ordine Agostiniano nelle Isole di Malta e Gozo. Valletta, 1931. This was a short 42 page history of the Augustinian religious order in the Maltese Islands.An image of this book's front cover is also shown alongside. The bibliothèque diocésaine of Tunis <new address> is gratefully acknowledged for having kept, catalogued and found the book, and then for allowing the author of this web page to take a photo of it.
Patri Lawrenz rose to become 'Provincial' of the Order of St Augustine in Malta.
Lorenzo Agius' work has been cited in works on Maltese history, for example an article in Melita Historica by George Aquilina and Stanley Fiorini on 'New Documents relating to the Origins of Religious Orders in Malta'.
His work has also been quoted in texts regarding the history of the Augustinian Order such as "Bibliographie zur Geschichte und Theologie des Augustiner-Eremitenordens bis zum Beginn der Reformation" by Egon Gindele (Berlin, New York. De Gruyter 1977).
'Patri Lawrenz' did not limit himself to religious academic matters. For example, under his leadership the Augustinian Order in Algeria founded or assumed responsibility for the Basilica of St Augustine, the Bona convent, and the parish of St Monica (in Ivannonville). In Tunis they were installed in the parish of the Sacred Heart.
All this religious activity by the Patri Lawrenz Agius and other members of the Augustinian order, clearly followed in the footsteps of Saint Augustine of Hippo who had been of North African (Berber) descent.
Augustine of course had been a very prolific and famous Christian religious writer, so in his own modest way Lawrenz was emulating the Augustinian tradition..
Patri Lawrenz died in December 1971 aged 91
- A number of other descendants of Lawrenz Agius' family became monks or nuns of the Augustinian Order, including his nephew (Patri Egidio Galea) and two daughters of his cousin Giuseppe. One called Clara (Sr Dorotea) founded a convent in London and another called Rose (Sr Emiliana) founded the Augustinian nuns' presence in Brasil.
- Patri Lawrenz was my grandfather's cousin. (We share the same Y chromosome). As a child I remember him clearly, engaged in animated conversations with my father.
The photo alongside shows the statue of Saint Augustine of Hippo in the "Eglise St Augustin et St Fidèle" in la Goulette in Tunis.
Note: Further material for this page is being collated and will be published here in due course. I thank Mr Lorenzo Zahra for his help with this biography.
The Canon Law Collection of the Library of Congress cites some of Lorenzo Agius' books
A similar bibliography in Latin (possibly from the same original source) cites the works of both Fr. Laurentius Agius and Fr. Alphonsus Cauchi.
The website of the Augustinian Province in Malta does not seem to have a comprehensive historical section yet, and therefore has no mention of Lawrenz
Other 'Agius' are mentioned under the Maltese surname connection .