St. Augustine

Aurelius Augustinus (354 - 430) - better known as St. Augustine or Augustine of Hippo - is, together with St. Jerome, St. Gregory and St. Ambrose, one of the four most important Fathers of the Latin Church.

Life of St. Augustine


Augustine (354-430), an Algerian, was born of a pagan father, Patricius, and a Christian mother, Monica. He was educated in the North African cities of Tagaste, Madaura and Carthage. The Catholic Church accepted him by baptism in 387. He was ordained priest of Hippo in 391 and bishop of the city in 395. On August 24, 410, Alaric’s troops entered Rome through the Salarian Gate, sacking it with iron and fire. This misfortune prompted Augustine to preach his Sermon on the Fall of Rome and to write The City of God. Two decades later, the hosts of Genseric laid siege to Hippo, where their bishop died in 430.

His childhood

Augustine was born on November 13, 354 in Tagaste, a small city of Numidia in Roman Africa. That Algerian population is today called Souk-Ahras. Although he was not baptized as an infant, Monica taught him the rudiments of the Christian religion and, seeing how the son became separated from them as he grew older, she gave herself to constant, sorrowful and trusting prayer. Years later, Agustín would call himself the “son of his mother’s tears”. A fervent Catholic, she dedicated her entire life to the conversion of her son to Christianity.

809sanagustinFrom the age of twelve to fifteen, between 366 and 369, he attended high school in Madaura, now Mdaourouch. He stands out among his fellow students. He is very fond of poetry. Learn entire passages from the main authors studied at school: Terence, Plautus, Seneca, Sallust, Horace, Poleius, Cicero and, above all, the great poet Virgil.

Patricius’ friends advised him to send his son to Carthage, the political and university capital of North Africa. This required money that Agustín’s parents did not have. Therefore, at the age of sixteen, from 369 to 370, Augustine’s studies were abruptly interrupted, waiting for financial aid, and he stayed at Tagaste.

Agustín, instead of doing something serious during that year, wasted his time with his classmates. He did not receive the baptism or religious instruction that might have helped him to avoid evil in those months. In spite of his mother’s advice, Augustine took “the crooked paths on which walk those who turn their backs to God and not their faces”. He feels happy on that unexpected vacation and experiences the first attractions of friendship and love. A year later, in 370, he left for Carthage thanks to the generosity of Romanianus, a rich patron of Thagaste and friend of his family. At that time, around 371, his father, now a Catholic, died. Between the ages of 16 and 30 he lived with a Carthaginian woman whose name is unknown, with whom in 372 he had a son, Adeodatus, a Latin name meaning “gift of God”.

Hortensius, a decisive reading

Augustine was almost twenty years old when he encountered the great books of philosophy. One day a work by the famous Roman orator and philosopher Cicero fell into his hands and the young man read it with admiration: Hortensius. Unfortunately it has not come down to us; however, thanks to Agustín we can read today several pages of that writing, to which he owes so much.

This extraordinary work discovered for him the field of invisible realities and awakened in him a taste and fondness for the search for wisdom and truth. From that reading, Augustine began to walk consciously towards God, the supreme truth.

Soon after, Augustine began to read the Holy Scriptures, which he did not understand, some of whose contents horrified him and which he found written in a poor style. Disappointed by his first encounter with the Bible, he groped elsewhere for the way to the truth.

In a tenacious search for a solution to the problem of truth -can man know it? how to distinguish it from error?- Augustine passed from one philosophical school to another, without finding in any of them an answer that would calm his unbribable restlessness. Finally, he frequents Manichaeism, because he believes that this interpretation of reality will provide him with a rational, systematic explanation of everything and moral orientation for his life. He followed this doctrine for several years and abandoned it after speaking with Bishop Faustus. Disappointed by this long-desired encounter, he concluded that truth is unalterable. Excepticism took hold of his heart.

While studying everything he could get his hands on, Augustine was fascinated by astrology books. Although Christianity was the main religion of the empire, the “occult sciences” were in vogue everywhere. After completing his higher studies in Carthage in 373, Augustine returned to Thagaste, where he taught grammar for a year, until 374. His mother discovers, disillusioned, that her son is closely linked to the Manicheans. From 374 to 383 he was professor of rhetoric in Carthage and wrote On the beautiful and apt, a work we do not have.

Milan, cradle of conversion

One fine day, without warning anyone and trying at all costs not to let his mother suspect anything about the trip, Augustine embarked for Italy, where he was going to find the solution to his intellectual problems and a satisfactory answer to his religious doubts. In Rome he taught between 383 and 384. One day he learns that Milan is looking for a professor of rhetoric.

When Augustine arrived in Milan in 384, he no longer believed in the Manichaean doctrines, although he was not close to Christianity either. The criticisms of the Manichaeans against the Bible seemed irrefutable to him. Augustine will fight the decisive battle, in which the grace of God will be victorious.

809sanagustinThe sermons of Ambrose, bishop of the city, the stories of Simplicianus, an intellectually cultivated Milanese priest, and the example of the companions of his friend Ponticianus have deeply touched Augustine’s heart. In 385 Monica arrives in Milan. During the spring of 386 he read some “books of the Platonists” and in July writings of St. Paul.

In August 386, he found the volume of the Letters of St. Paul at home, opened the book and the first sentences that jumped out at him were these:

“Not in binge eating or drunkenness,
not in beds or in lightness,
not in strife or emulation,
but put on our Lord Jesus Christ
and do not care for the flesh with too many desires”. Rm 13:13.

Agustín did not want to read any more. It was those words of St. Paul which, once and for all, “as if a great light of assurance had been infused into his heart, caused all the darkness of his doubts to disappear forever.”

Agustín, who will turn 32 in November, has just experienced the most important day of his life. Before his conversion, he had thought of founding a sort of fraternity in common life with some friends and disciples, who, like him, were eager to deepen their knowledge of the fundamental questions of philosophy. Once converted, Augustine carried out that idea, but now inspired by the first Christian community of Jerusalem.

Monastic and episcopal life

811sanagustin01Augustine devoted himself to the formal and methodical study of Christianity. He resigned his professorship and with his mother and some companions he retired to Casiciaco, near Milan, to devote himself completely to study and meditation, during the autumn of 386. On April 24, 387, at the age of thirty-three, he was baptized in Milan by the holy bishop Ambrose, during the Easter Vigil. Already baptized, he returned to Africa in 388; but before embarking, his mother Monica died in Ostia in August 387.

To meet the pastoral needs of Valerius, bishop of Hippo, in 391, during a liturgical celebration, the parishioners elected him to be ordained priest.

With tears in her eyes she accepted this abrupt choice, which she at first opposed with shouts and tears. Something similar happened to him when he was consecrated bishop in 395. It was then that he left the lay monastery and moved into the bishop’s house, which he transformed into a clerical monastery.

Augustine’s episcopal activity was enormous and varied. He preached full time and in many places, wrote tirelessly, polemicized with those who went against the Christian orthodoxy of the time, presided over councils, solved the most diverse problems presented to him by his faithful. He confronts Manichaeans, Donatists, Arians, Pelagians, Priscillianists, scholars….

The days of his final illness were a good opportunity for Augustine to review his life and thank God for the benefits he had received, while asking forgiveness from his brothers and from God.

After forty years of struggle on behalf of the Church, Augustine entered in agony, to be received with jubilation in the holy city of God. On August 28, 430, the son of Patrick and Monica, Augustine, the bishop of Hippo, slept in the peace of the Lord. He was 75 years, 10 months and 15 days old.


Audio of the life of St. Augustine

Chapters in the life of Saint Augustine

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6
Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12
Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18
Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24
Chapter 25 Chapter 26 Chapter 27 Chapter 28 Chapter 29 Chapter 30
Chapter 31 Chapter 32 Chapter 33 Chapter 34 Chapter 35 Chapter 36
Chapter 37 Chapter 38 Chapter 39 Chapter 40 Chapter 41 Chapter 42
Chapter 43 Chapter 44 Chapter 45 Chapter 46 Chapter 47 Chapter 48
Chapter 49 Chapter 50 Chapter 51 Chapter 52



St. Augustine: a passion for truth


Work of St. Augustine

The works of St. Augustine have come down to us almost in their entirety and in good condition to the present day. They are listed in the “Retractations” of Augustine and in the “Indiculus” of St. Posidius. They are classified according to a general thematic criterion, although very different themes are often addressed in each work.

St. Augustine







  • Music ( 389 first semester Madrid 1988 BAC 39)
  • The Master (between the first semester of 389 and the beginning of 390 Madrid 1982(5) BAC 3)



Pastoral Morales













  • Consequences and forgiveness of sins, and the baptism of infants (between December 411 and February 412 Madrid 2007(4) BAC 9)
  • The Spirit and the Letter (412 summer Madrid 1971(3) BAC 6)Nature and Grace (between December 414 and May 415 Madrid 1971(3) BAC 6)
  • The Perfection of Man’s Justice (414 Madrid 1984 BAC 35)
  • Acts of the trial of Pelagius (end of 416 or beginning of 417 Madrid 2007(4) BAC 9)
  • The grace of Jesus Christ and original sin (418 between June-July Madrid 1971(3) BAC 6)
  • Nature and origin of the soul (419-420 Madrid 1982(5) BAC 3)



  • Grace and Free Will (426-427 Madrid 1971(3) BAC 6)
  • Correction and grace (426-427 Madrid 1971(3) BAC 6)
  • The Predestination of the Saints (428 Madrid 1971(3) BAC 6)
  • The gift of perseverance (429 Madrid 1971(3) BAC 6)


  • Letters (1º) 1-123 (Madrid 19863 BAC 8)
  • Letters (2nd) 124-187 (Madrid 19873 BAC 11a)
  • Letters (3rd) 188-270 (new letters 1*-29* Madrid 19913 BAC 11b)



  • Treatises on the Gospel of John (1st) 1-35 (406 December 9-Summer 414 Madrid 2005(3) BAC 13)
  • Treatises on the Gospel of St. John (2nd) 36-124 (Summer 414-Summer 420 Madrid 1965(2) BAC 14)
  • Treatises on the first letter of St. John (407 April 14-May 22 Madrid 2003(2) BAC 18)


  • Commentaries on Psalms (1st) 1-40 (Madrid 1964 BAC 19)
  • Commentaries on Psalms (2nd) 41-75 (Madrid 1965 BAC 20)
  • Commentaries on the Psalms (3rd) 76-117 (Madrid 1966 BAC 21)
  • Commentaries on the Psalms (4th) 118-150 (Madrid 1967 BAC 22)


  • Sermons (1º) 1-50: On the Old Testament (Madrid 1981(4) BAC 7)
  • Sermons (2nd) 51-116: On the Synoptic Gospels (Madrid 1983 BAC 10)
  • Sermons (3rd) 117-183: On the Gospel of St. John, Acts and Letters of the Apostles (Madrid 1983 BAC 23)
  • Sermons (4º) 184-272B: On the liturgical seasons (Madrid 2005(2) BAC 24)
  • Sermons (5th) 273-338: On the Martyrs (Madrid 1984 BAC 25)
  • Sermons (6th) 339-396: On Various Subjects (Madrid 1985 BAC 26)
  • Sermon to the catechumens on the Apostles’ Symbol (Madrid 1988 BAC 39)
  • The Devastation of Rome (410 late summer Madrid 1995 BAC 40)
  • Sermon on Christian Discipline (Madrid 1988 BAC 39)
  • The Usefulness of Fasting (411 May 17 or 19 Madrid 1995 BAC 40)


Attributed (Madrid 2002 BAC 41)

  • Love for God818cartas
  • Combat between vices and virtues
  • Defense of Augustine by Prosper of Aquitaine
  • Church and Synagogue Debate
  • The Paradise ladder
  • The spirit and the soul
  • Faith, a book dedicated to Peter
  • The dogmas of the Church
  • Spiritual elevation manual
  • Meditations
  • Psalter (composed for his mother)
  • Sentences of St. Augustine compiled by Prospero of Aquitaine
  • Soliloquies
  • Treatise on the Assumption of Mary


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