The Portsmouth Institute’s Senior Fellows program supports scholars, speaker, and writers who share the Portsmouth Institute’s vision of exploring Catholic thought and restoring Christian culture in the spirit of St. Benedict.

Fr. J. Augustine Wetta, O.S.B.

J. Augustine Wetta is a monk of Saint Louis Abbey in Saint Louis Missouri. He has two degrees in Theology from Oxford University, a BA in Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations from Rice University, and an MA in English from Middlebury College. For twenty years, he has taught English, Classics, and Theology at the Priory School, in Saint Louis, Missouri, where he also coached rugby and served as Director of Chaplaincy.  In 2019, he was named a Portsmouth Institute Senior Fellow.  He sits on the board of The Servants of Our Lady, Healer of Hearts, Love One Another Ministries, and The Parent Network of Catholic High Schools.

In 2014, he was awarded the Judson Jerome Poetry Award and the Bill Baker Award for Fiction at the Antioch Writers Workshop (the first author in the history of the conference to win both). In 2015, he was awarded the Taliaferro Award for Memoir Writers at the San Francisco Writers Conference, where he was also a finalist for the Emerging Writer Award.He is the author of HUMILITY RULES: SAINT BENEDICT’S TWELVE-STEP GUIDE TO GENUINE SELF-ESTEEM, THE EIGHTH ARROW, a fantasy prison break set in Dante’s Inferno, and SAVING GRACE, an illustrated children’s book about a three-legged turtle.

The son of an artist (Jean Carruthers Wetta) and a historian (Frank Wetta), Father Augustine was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1971, but grew up in Galveston, Texas. There he learned to surf and developed an enormous ego as a lifeguard on the Galveston Sheriff Department Beach Patrol. During this time, he also worked as a professional juggler (“The Flying Fettuccinne Brothers”) and as an archaeologist (at the Agora in Athens). He remains an avid surfer. In fact, if you Google “surfing monk” his is the first name that comes up—along with a news report about how he was nearly eaten by a shark.