FIND THE SAINT Logo

Home     A - Z    Calendar   Puzzles

Patrons    Subscribe to Newsletter

Find The Saint
FIND THE SAINT Logo

August 28

St Augustine of Hippo - August 28

Saint Augustine of Hippo 

Bishop, Doctor of the Church

(354 – 430)

“The love of worldly possessions is a sort of bird line, which entangles the soul, and prevents it flying to God.

Saint Augustine of Hippo

Saint’s Life Story

His Early Life 

Aurelius Augustinus was born on November 13, 354 at Tagaste, Numidia, North Africa (Souk-Ahras, Algeria). His mother, Saint Monica, was a devout Christian. H is father, Patricius, was a pagan Roman official who converted to Christianity on his deathbed. Augustine had a brother named Navigius and a sister whose name is remembered as Perpetua.

At the age of 11, Augustine was sent to school at Madaurus (now M’Daourouch), a small Numidian city about 19 miles (31 kilometers) south of Thagaste. There, he became familiar with Latin literature, as well as pagan beliefs and practices.

Educated at University of Carthage

At the age of 17, through the generosity of his fellow citizen Romanianus, Augustine went to the University of Carthage to continue his education in rhetoric. From the beginning, Augustine was a brilliant student, with an eager intellectual curiosity, but he never mastered Greek. He did however, become a master of Latin.

Hedonistic Lifestyle

In spite of the warnings of his mother, as a youth Augustine lived a hedonistic lifestyle for a time, associating with young men who boasted of their sexual exploits.  At about the age of 15, Augustine began a relationship with a young woman in Carthage. Though his mother wanted him to marry a person of his class, the woman remained his lover. He was warned by his mother to avoid sex outside marriage. However, Augustine persisted in the relationship for over fifteen years. The woman gave birth to Augustine’s son Adeodatus, which means “Gift from God”.

His Life in Carthage, Rome, and Milan

Augustine taught grammar at Thagaste during 373 and 374. The following year he moved to Carthage to conduct a school of rhetoric. Augustine remained there for the next nine years. Disturbed by unruly students in Carthage, Augustine moved to establish a school in Rome.

His Life in Rome

In the year 384, Augustine told his mother to go to visit the Church of Saint Cyprian the Martyr while he went to visit friends. He slipped away from Africa that night and went to Rome, against his mother’s wishes. His reputation as an orator and rhetorician preceded him and he was recognized as one of the most learned men of his time. However, Augustine was disappointed with the apathetic reception. It was the custom for students to pay their fees to the professor on the last day of the term, and many students attended faithfully all term, and then did not pay.

After investigating and experimenting with several philosophies, Augustine became a Manichaean for several years. Although Augustine spent ten years as a Manichaean, he was never an initiate or “elect”, but an “auditor”, the lowest level in this religion’s hierarchy. Manichæanism taught of a great struggle between good and evil, and featured a lax moral code.

Meeting Saint Ambrose of Milan

Augustine arrived in Milan and visited Saint Ambrose of Milan, having heard of his reputation as an orator. Augustine was very much influenced by Ambrose, even more than by his own mother and others he admired. In his Confessions, Augustine states, “That man of God received me as a father would, and welcomed my coming as a good bishop should.” Ambrose adopted Augustine as a spiritual son after the death of Augustine’s father.

Augustine’s mother, Saint Monica, had followed him to Milan and arranged a respectable marriage for him. Although Augustine acquiesced, he had to dismiss his concubine and grieved for having forsaken his lover. He wrote, “My mistress being torn from my side as an impediment to my marriage, my heart, which clave to her, was racked, and wounded, and bleeding.” Augustine confessed he had not been a lover of wedlock so much as a slave of lust, so he procured another concubine since he had to wait two years until his fiancée came of age. It was during this period that he uttered his famously insincere prayer that comes from his Confessions: “God, give me chastity and continence – but just not now.”

His Conversion

Had Saint Monica not patiently performed daily penances for sixteen years for her oldest son’s conversion, we would not have St. Augustine today. Augustine found a copy of the epistles of St. Paul, which Pontitianus had been fingering. Seizing it, and opening it at random, his eyes fell upon the words of St. Paul to the Romans 13:13:

“Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and make not provision for the flesh.”

In that one moment, the carnal passions, which had for sixteen years appeared invincible, were annihilated.

Baptized

Saint Ambrose baptized Augustine and his son Adeodatus, in Milan on Easter Vigil, 24–25 April 387. A year later, in 388, Augustine completed his apology On the Holiness of the Catholic Church. Shortly after their Baptism together, Augustine’s son, Adeodatus, died at age 16 in the state of grace. 

One of the effects of Augustine’s conversion was a return to joviality, and a deep sense of inner peace. There was also a great increase of literary productiveness. Between the years 380 and 386, before his conversion, he had not written a single page. Now, in a short space of time, he composed four brief books in succession.

Prolific Author

Augustine was one of the most prolific Latin authors. In 397, or twelve years after his conversion, Augustine wrote his Confessions, the greatest spiritual autobiography ever written. The list of his works consists of more than one hundred separate titles. They include apologetic works against the heresies of the Arians, Donatists, Manichaeans and Pelagians; texts on Christian doctrine, notably De Doctrina Christiana (On Christian Doctrine); exegetical works such as commentaries on Genesis, the Psalms and Paul’s Letter to the Romans; many sermons and letters; and the Retractationes, a review of his earlier works which he wrote near the end of his life.

Apart from those, Augustine is known for De civitate Dei (The City of God, consisting of 22 books). He wrote this book to restore the confidence of his fellow Christians, which was badly shaken by the sack of Rome by the Visigoths in 410. His On the Trinity, in which he developed what has become known as the ‘psychological analogy’ of the Trinity. Augustine also wrote On Free Choice of the Will (De libero arbitrio), addressing why God gives humans free will that can be used for evil.

Priest and Bishop of Hippo

Saint Monica died in Ostia (modern Italy). Augustine remained in Italy, for a time, praying, studying and writing.  He returned to Tagaste, Africa, where he sold all his possessions and distributed the money to the poor. Augustine was ordained as a priest in 391. He was later made bishop of Hippo at the age of 41.  Augustine became one of the four great founders of religious orders and a Doctor of the Church. Saint Augustine of Hippo’s conversion to Christianity is well-known as one of the most important events in the history of the Church. Augustine died on August 30, 430 in Hippo, North Africa.

Beatified:           Pre-Congregation

Canonized:        Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:         August 28

Patron Saint:    Brewers, Diocese of Saint Augustine, Florida; Printers, Sore Eyes, Theologians

Source:

Reflection

The life of Saint Augustine of Hippo demonstrates how God never fails to seek us out, even when we are lost, confused, or burdened. Saint Augustine’s spiritual autobiography, “Confessions,” is considered a classic of western literature. As he reviewed his life in this book, he clearly saw the hand of God at work, even though he had been unaware of it at the time. He especially perceived God’s presence in the love, concern, and prayers of his mother, Saint Monica. Saint Augustine realized that, even when he was lost in sin, God’s plan was slowly unfolding in his life. God had never stopped searching for him. Speaking to God in his book, he wrote, “You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” (Taken from “Jesus Christ: God’s Love Made Visible.”) Think about your own history and relationship with God. 

What are the boundless examples of God’s hand at work in your own journey? Thank God for these blessings and pray for grace, wisdom and strength to grow in your faith as St. Augustine did.

Source: Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430) | Saint Mary’s Press (smp.org)

Prayers

Saint Augustine, may our own examination of conscience be like yours—continual, honest, and Christ-centered. You achieved a high level of self-awareness not for its own sake but to prune all sin from your soul. Through your intercession, Saint Augustine, may we be as self-focused, and as God-focused, as you were.

Saint Augustine of Hippo, pray for us. Amen.

Source: Saint Augustine of Hippo, Bishop and Doctor – My Catholic Life!

Saint Links 

Aleteia – St. Augustine, the Constant Convert

Anastpaul – Quotes of the Day – 28 August – St Augustine

Bartleby.com – Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VIII: August. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. August 28 St. Augustine, Bishop and Confessor, Doctor of the Church

Catholic Culture – Saint Augustine of Hippo (1) by Pope Benedict XVI

Catholic Exchange – Saint Augustine on the True Meaning of Peace by Dr. Donald Demarco

Catholic Fire – St. Augustine of Hippo

Catholic Ireland – Aug 28 – St Augustine of Hippo (354-430) bishop

Catholic News Agency – Pope Francis: Be like St. Augustine and examine the story of your life

Catholic Online – St. Augustine of Hippo

CatholicSaints.info – Saint Augustine of Hippo

Franciscan Media – Saint Augustine of Hippo

Independent Catholic News – St Augustine of Hippo

Loyola Press – Saint Augustine Feast Day August 28

Midwest Augustinians – Saint Augustine of Hippo August 28

My Catholic Life – Saint Augustine of Hippo, Bishop and Doctor

New Advent – Portalié, E. (1907). Life of St. Augustine of Hippo. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Newman Ministry – Saint Augustine

Saints, Feast, Family – Saint Augustine’s Story

Saints for Sinners – Saint Augustine

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

Saint of the Day  – August 28 St. Augustine of Hippo

uCatholic – Saint Augustine

Wikipedia – Augustine of Hippo

Video Link

St. Augustine of Hippo – YouTube Video (Catholic Online)

Saint You Should Know: Augustine of Hippo – YouTube Video (Breaking in the Habit)