Patron of Theologians and of Printers
St. Augustine was born on November 13, 354, at Tagaste (modern Algeria) in Africa. In spite of the piety of his holy mother, St. Monica, he fell at an early age into the greatest disorders, and even at a later period became a heretic of the sect of the Manicheas. Unfortunately, his father, Patricius, was then an idolator, so that the youth met with little or no restraint on his side. In the beginning of 370 he continued his studies at Carthage, and the following years his father died, after being converted to Christianity. Some time later, St. Augustine took up his abode at Carthage and opened a school of rhetoric. Later he went to Rome and then Milan, where he also began to teach rhetoric. Here God’s grace and the prayers of his mother, who had followed him to Italy, as well as the instructions of saintly friends, particularly of St. Ambrose, affected his conversion. He abandoned the sect of the Manicheas, and after some time gave himself entirely to God. St. Ambrose administered to him the Sacrament of Baptism on Easter eve, 387.
On his return to Africa, the Saint lost his mother at Ostia in the same year, and in 388 he arrived at Carthage. At Tagaste he began to live a community life with some of his friends. He was ordained in 390 and moved to Hippo where he established another community wirh several of his friends who had followed him. Five years later he was consecrated Bishop and made coadjutor to Valerius, Bishop of Hippo, whom he succeeded in the following year.
From this period until his death Augustine’s life was one of ceaseless activity. He governed his church, preached to his people, and wrote voluminous works that have received the admiration of the ages. His humility prompted him to write his Confessions about the year 397, from which we have a detailed account of his early years.
Augustine exerted his zeal against various errors of his day, showed himself as intrepid a defender of the faith as he had been its ignorant enemy. The Manicheas, Priscillianists, Origenists, Donatists and Pelagians all came in for a share of his zeal. Shortly before his death the Vandals under Genseric invaded Africa, and the Saint was witness of the desolation that followed in their tracks. This multi-faceted religious genius and devout servant of God died on August 28, 430.
PRAYER: Lord, renew in Your Church the spirit that You inspired in St. Augustine, Your Bishop. Filled by this spirit, may we thirst after You as the true Source of wisdom and seek after You as the Author of Heavenly love. Amen.