SAINT AUGUSTINE of HIPPO
Saint Augustine was born at Tagaste (today's Algeria) on November 13, 354.
In spite of the sanctity of his mother Monica, he got mixed up in different religions and sects, and was really taken in by the Manichaeans, whom he thought had all the answers to Nature. His inquiring mind had to be fed with new information, but he became disillusioned with the teachings of Mani, when he realised that not only did they not have the answers he so earnestly sought, but that their arguments against Christianity were completely without foundation.
For a period he led the "good life" - that is he let himself enjoy all the pleasures of the flesh and the world. He lived with a young woman for several years, and together they had a child. In spite of his mental leanings towards God, the pleasures of sin had him trapped.
His mother Monica prayed for him incessantly, and followed him to Carthage to continue to hopefully influence him.
I read somewhere that one of Augustine's own prayers at that time was something like "Lord, redeem me and make me good, but not just yet!"
Eventually his mother's prayers brought him into contact with Saint Ambrose at Milan, and Monica's prayers and the instructions and encouragements of Saint Ambrose effected his conversion to Christianity.
He was ordained in 390 and moved to Hippo, establishing a community there. In 395 he was consecrated Bishop, and a year later appointed as Bishop of Hippo.
He was a prolific writer, and incessant preacher. His best known works are his "Confessions" (which tells the story of his soul) and "Retractions" (which gives a history of his mental processes.) He was regarded as one of the most important and influential theologians of all time, and the title "Doctor of the Church" was conferred on him on September 20, 1295, by Pope Boniface VIII.
Augustine combated heresy wherever he found it, and there were a lot of different heretical movements which he attacked during his time as Bishop of Hippo, especially Manichaeanism, and his success was outstanding. Fortunatus, one of the great doctors of Manichaeanism whom Augustine challened to public debate, was so humiliated by his utter defeat that he fled Hippo.
On August 28, 430, after a three-months serious illness, Augustine died, aged 76.
In August 1303 he was canonised by Pope Boniface VIII
His mother Monica was canonised on October 31, 1982 by Pope John Paul II.
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