Each religious community functions and develops accordingly to precisely defined principles. These regulations are contained in the monastic rule and in the Constitutions that set the path for development of the entire community, defining its charism and mission in the Church. The Order of St. Paul the First Hermit Functions on the basis of the Rule of St. Augustine, given on the occasion of the papal approval of the Order in 1308 by Pope Clement V. The Augustinian Rule is based on two essential elements: prayer and work (ora et labora). It is characterized by an extraordinary severity of a life detached from the world, full of humility and mortification; hence it is called one of the strictest rules of religious life.
The Constitutions and the Directory define the mission and the charisms of the Order in the Church and the world. They also regulate many legal factors; set specific guidelines for superiors and members of the community; regulate the relationship of monks to the goods of this world in the spirit of the evangelical counsels: chastity, poverty and obedience; and preserve customs and traditions important to the Order. A monastic rule is something that does not change over the years, while the Constitutions can be altered and adapted to the times in which the Order functions. Since the beginning of the Order’s existence, the Constitutions have been reworked and adapted many times so that they do not lose any of their relevance. The most recent draft of the Pauline Constitutions, developed in 1986, and was guided by the spirit of the Second Vatican Council.