Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova – United States


The Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor (ADROP) is a not-for-profit public charity (registered 501c3 non-profit organization) whose underlying principle is the preferential option for the poor. ADROP is dedicated to advocacy for and collaboration with the poor and powerless in our society. We look to identify the face of poverty, challenge the politics that perpetuate it and influence systematic change that could lead to the alleviation of poverty as we know it.

We believe that the challenge of poverty needs to be seen through the eyes of faith, with the understanding that all persons are created in the image and likeness of God, and therefore must be respected and protected.

ADROP is about building bridges — bridges between people, communities, social service organizations, health care providers, politicians and others. At the heart we are about community, recognizing that we all play a role in society and journey together. By building bridges throughout a community — connecting individuals across economic, political and religious spectrums — we work toward a society that recognizes the dignity and respect owed to all persons.

We carry out that mission in three ways: to empower and collaborate with the poor and those without a voice in society by providing services that match identified needs with known resources; to educate and support the decision makers, service providers and recipients of services; and to create opportunities for all to reflect and meditate upon the human condition and to develop the skills necessary to heal wounds and reconcile differences thus building up communities intent upon establishing justice and seeking peace.


Unity Health Clinic

ADROP sponsors a primary care clinic for the uninsured or under insured people living in the South Philadelphia area at Philadelphia’s Health Center #1 (1400 Lombard Street). In collaboration with the College of Nursing of Villanova University, Faculty from the University of Pennsylvania Medical College, Volunteer Nurse Practitioners, the Methodists Hospital Foundation, community leaders and Volunteers from all walks of life, ADROP provides medical care for those who, for many reasons, drop through the cracks in services provided by other agencies.

English As A Second Language Program (ESL)

Classes are held four times a week at St. Rita’s Parish Rectory. We provide six laptops for learners to use the Rosetta Stone Program to learn and improve their English skills in order to obtain jobs, education, and other needs. ADROP’s Program Coordinator instructs and oversees these classes which are provided free of charge. Opportunities to volunteer for facilitating growth in a secondary language are available. Proficiency in a language other than English is not necessary.

Law Clinic

The need for individuals to understand their legal rights and responsibilities has been identified. Presently a lawyer is available every first and third Tuesday at our Unity Clinic to meet clients who seek information and guidance in such matters as naturalization, taxes and other immigration issues. Attorneys and law students are needed to provide and expand this service to the participants.

After School Tutoring Program

ADROP sponsors an after-school program at the Augustinian Grammar School of St. Nicholas of Tolentine in South Philadelphia. In the past we have worked with the Rays of Sunshine Program at Villanova University and we are grateful for their years of service to St Nick’s. Currently, we are developing a partnership with Neuman-Goretti High School and their National Honor Society. Tutoring will be held two days a week with hope of expansion. Volunteers in the after-school tutoring program work with children who need help with homework, studying, and skills which need improvement. ADROP’s Program Coordinator facilitates the after-school program.

Art Goes To School

Art Goes To School is a volunteer organization that has operated for 40 years in the Philadelphia region. The program’s goal is to help grade school children develop an appreciation of art. ADROP sponsors Art Goes to School for the St. Nicholas students. Teachers with an art background are needed to volunteer in order to keep art and enriching part of the curriculum.


Musicians in residence come to local schools to expose students to music education once a semester. Students are introduced to music and given lessons on various instruments and well as exploring different historical periods and singing their stories. Volunteers with musical ability also are needed to support this music education initiative in the classroom in addition to our Musicopia program.

Restorative Justice Programs

As part of our Restorative Justice Programs, in unison with Cascia Center’s healing broken relationships ministries, we run our Adeodatus Prison Ministry fellowship as well as support the Cascia Center Director with development of various educational and skills development workshops.

Adeodatus Prison Ministry

Adeodatus, a name which means “gift of God”, was the son of St. Augustine who grew up under rather difficult circumstances before dying at a young age. To remember him, and all young people who are at risk today, Adeodatus Prison Ministry was founded at St. Augustine parish in Philadelphia to foster the awareness of Christ in the lives of those on both sides of the prison walls. The Adeodatus Spiritual Support group for ex-inmates and their families meets once a week in communal fellowship at St. Rita of Cascia Parish, (Broad and Ellsworth Sts.) 1166 South Broad Street, on Wednesday nights from 7:30 to 9:00 pm. Adeodatus Prison Ministry also publishes a quarterly newsletter, Voices from Prison. Written in the spirit of St. Augustine’s Confessions, the newsletter hopes to evoke a link between the spiritual quest of the inmates and that of the readers. To learn more about Adeodatus Prison Ministry, please visit our website


Sanctuary is an ensemble of musicians and artists in the Catholic and Augustinian spiritual tradition. Fr. Shawn Tracy, Dan Mason and friends have turned the words of sacred scripture into songs, hymns and reflective mantras of haunting beauty and lasting impact. This group finds its home within and beyond the far-reaching influence of Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania. Visit Sanctuary

Handicapped Encounter Christ (HEC)

Handicapped Encounter Christ is a retreat experience founded to offer people who have physical disabilities an opportunity to come together in community to pray, reflect and celebrate their life with God. It strives to achieve an atmosphere in which all people feel loved and accepted for who they are; to join able-bodied or dys-abled people with people of other faith traditions, races, and walks of life to share life’s journey within a supportive and loving community.

Recent News

2012 and will be in the process starting our program in the spring of 2012. The goal is to grant students at St. Nicholas with a valuable resource that will enhance the students’ educational experiences and extend their education outside of their local classroom. ADROP plans to coordinate programs with the Art Museum of Philadelphia, with other local parish schools for an advanced math unit, as well as to search out relevant video conferencing resources that can be offered for the Math, Science, History, Arts, and English departments. If you would like to offer information about a program please contact our distance learning coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..”>