Saint Aurelius Augustinus of Hippo had an interesting path to sainthood. According to “St. Augustine of Hippo” his feast day is on August 28, which is the same day he died. He was born on November 12, 354 A.D in the city of Thagaste. His mother, Monica, was a Christian who also became a saint for her influences on Augustine’s life. Augustine’s mother had always tried to raise her son as a Christian, but Augustine never found Christianity because it lacked have logic. He found that most of the bible stories lacked scientific facts. His father, Patricius Aurelius, was a pagan who eventually converted to Christianity on his deathbed. His father was in the upper class in the city of Thagaste (par. 6). Author Rachel M. Philips states that they were not very wealthy, living in farming a community where they owned a medium sized plot of land that they farmed. He had one brother, Navigius, and one sister, Perpetua. Navigius and Perpetua stayed in Thagaste on their father’s estate to farm (12-13). His upbringing was simple, yet he yearned for more.St. Augustine’s early life was a pivotal point in history. According to Portalié, Eugène, Augustine was born as a brilliant child and he loved to learn. He received the best Christian education because of his family’s social status. As Augustine grew prior to his conversion his was a life of partying and drinking. Augustine had a concubine who he never named. Together they had a son named Adeodatus. Augustine was a teacher early in his life in his hometown in Thagaste. Augustine eventually moved to Carthage in 374. Augustine thought that Carthage would hold new opportunities for him. He took his family, and his mother followed without telling Augustine. Augustine would eventually move to Rome, and from Rome to Milan where his conversion took place. Then from Milan he would go back to his home town and from there to Hippo Regius where he remained (Portalié). His travels led to his eventual conversion.Augustine explored many aspects of faith. “Naturalistic Epistemology” states that when Augustine was young he did not believe strongly in mainstream Christianity. He saw life’s happenings more philosophically and he found mainstream Christianity had ill logical. He knew the Christian traditions though because his mother was a devout Christian. One of the first religions Augustine believed in was Manichaeism which is a religion where they have different views on the bible. For example they believed that the God referenced in the Old Testament was a different God than from the one referenced in the New Testament (3). “St. Augustine of Hippo” says, eventually Augustine started to question the ways of the Manicheans. When Augustine came to their higher ranking members with questions he would be ignored and he would not get his answers or would get dissatisfying answers (par. 14) According to “Naturalistic Epistemology” eventually he converted to Christianity in the city of Milan in north Italy. There he listened to the sermons of Bishop Ambrose of Milan. At first he was only intrigued by the sermons Ambrose was giving and he hadn’t thought of fully converting at the time. While still in Milan, he found belief in Neoplatonism which is a more philosophical belief about religion, but closer to Christianity. Augustine eventually gave into the sermons and started to study the scripture to figure out if he should convert (4). Augustine looked for logic in his judgement of religion. “Naturalistic Epistemology” says that Augustine spent many of his early years traveling the Mediterranean. He traveled a lot in his youth and middle ages hoping to seek new opportunities. He first moved to Carthage in search of better students than the ones in Thagaste. The students in Carthage did not respect Augustine at all. In Carthage the students he taught would not pay him at the end of the year. He stayed until he could not take it anymore and he left for Rome when he heard that the students there were happy and willing to learn as well as pay. He left for Rome in the year 383, but left shortly after that to get a job in the Imperial Court in Milan. Augustine moved a lot in his life, and moving usually caused many problems for him (2-5). Augustine made his conversion in a spectacular way. “Naturalistic Epistemology” states that Augustine was converted in Milan. Augustine was deep in study to figure out if Christianity was the right fit. He eventually found it more philosophical thanks to the sermons from Ambrose. One day Augustine was in a garden thinking deeply on what to do. While in the garden Augustine was heard a voice telling him to take and read and he realized a bible was next to him. Instantly, Augustine picked up the bible and read the passage Romans 13:13-14: “Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof,”and he knew this meant for him to convert (pg.5-6). “Saint Augustine of Hippo” says that in 390 Augustine went back to Thagaste to become a priest. He was trying to avoid higher status such as a bishop though (par.20). Augustine’s conversion was very important in his story.Becoming bishop was a important part in Augustine’s story. “St. Augustine of Hippo” states that Augustine traveled to the city of Hippo in 391 in hopes of helping a friend convert to Christianity. Little to the knowledge of Augustine, the bishop of Hippo was looking for a successor and thought that Augustine would make the perfect candidate. Reluctantly Augustine accepted, and the bishop died the next year, leaving Augustine as the bishop. Augustine eventually came accustomed to his role as bishop and took up extra tasks for the church. Augustine wrote an autobiography while being the bishop, and he is credited for writing one of the first recorded autobiographies. Augustine also took up defending the Christian faith from his former faiths propaganda (21). Augustine’s last years were productive and his final works were memorable. “St. Augustine of Hippo” states that Augustine was getting old and there was an army marching toward Hippo. Augustine refused to leave and eventually fell ill. Augustine died on August 28, 430 at the age of seventysix, which was very old for the time. Augustine once said, “I have learned that each particular heresy raises in the church its own peculiar challenges, against which the holy Scripture is to be defended more carefully than if no such necessity required” (On the Gift of Perseverance, 20.53). According to “St. Augustine of Hippo” this applies to Augustine because he had to protect the scripture and there were many who were trying to prove Christianity wrong. Augustine became a saint because he was recognized as a doctor of the church. He is the saint of theologians and brewers. He is the saint of theologians because he wrote philosophies for the church and always saw life’s happenings through a philosophical standpoint. He is the saint of brewers because of his loose lifestyle and his partying ways before his conversion (22, 28). There were many people in his life, and Augustine did not get much help from many of them, but there were still a few who helped him. His mother is someone who helped him because she prayed for him every day and trying to get Augustine to be Christian. Another person who helped him was Ambrose who encouraged him and inspired him to become a Christian. The Bishop of Hippo helped him by giving Augustine his role that led him to sainthood. God also helped him when he was struggling on the choice to convert.In reflection, Augustine was a sign of hope for all those who thought it was too late to convert. He also is an important model of the church for his work towards the betterment of Christianity. Augustine is an interesting saint with an interesting story, from an out-of-control life to a calm, holy and pious life. Augustine was truly devoted to the Christian faith after his conversion, which is an admirable trait because he never thought of leaving Christianity once he joined.
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