Augustine of Hippo is our founder and the father of an extensive Religious Family that follows his Rule, his teachings and his way of life. In these pages we approach his biography, his sensitivity, his way of life and his proposals to men and women of all times.

The revolution that this book caused in my spirit made me start searching for the truth with real passion. The first thing I did was start reading the Bible, but -poor me!- I only valued brilliant literature, and I despised it. Then I stumbled upon a sect called the Manichaeans, who tricked me into becoming one of them. I believed that they would teach me the path of truth, but everything remained in promises. If you want to imagine what it was, think of one of the sects that abound in your society, or in the dark world of drugs: it was something that gripped you, that you couldn’t get rid of. Getting rid of it took me many years and many tears; only thanks to Christ I was able to overcome it.

When I finished my studies, already a Manichaean, I returned with my wife and Adeodatus to Tagaste. I opened a school there. I was there for a short time, partly because I wanted to make a career, but also because a friend died. I have to confess one thing: along with the desire to know, the other great passion of my life was love and friendship. Back in Tagaste I struck up a deep friendship with an old schoolmate. It happened that, shortly after, he fell ill and was baptized while unconscious. I had dragged him into Manichaeism and thought that, as he got better, he would despise baptism. What was my surprise when I saw that he responded totally seriously to my jokes, warning me that if I wanted to continue being his friend, I had to respect him. Before long, he died. For me it was a tremendous blow. I couldn’t continue there and I went to live in Cartago. I have always kept a wonderful memory of him because I learned two important things about friendship: that it must be sincere and respectful, and that it is stronger when Christ truly counts in your life.

I was also in Cartago for a short time, just enough to win a poetry contest. There the students had no great interest in studying, and they were also very violent; sometimes, the pranks and hazing were too heavy, until they ended in tragedy, with even deaths. So I decided to go to Rome, with my wife and son.

I didn’t like Rome either. The students were more peaceful than in Cartago, but they did not pay at the end of the course. In addition, the disease I had as a child returned to me, and again I was about to die.

Here, in Rome, I completely lost the illusion of Manichaeism. Shortly before leaving Cartago, I had been disappointed with a famous leader named Fausto. Everyone praised him as the gray eminence. They told me that he was going to solve all the questions and concerns that he had, because I read everything and I couldn’t see clearly what the Manichaeans were saying. But I saw that this Faust was a poor charlatan; he was somewhat more skilled than the others, but he didn’t go beyond that. And in Rome my eyes were finally opened. They wanted to organize a kind of community where they could rigorously live what they preached, and the first to back down were the sect’s masters, making all kinds of excuses. Then I saw it clearly: the only thing they wanted was to live at the expense of gullible people who allowed themselves to be deceived.

While I was still there, one of my best friends arrived: Alipio. Our friendship started when I was a teacher in Tagaste. He was from a rich family, and younger than me. We had had our arguments and our anger, and we had even gone for periods without speaking to each other; but the friendship had remained. In Rome we got together again, and from then on our lives will always be united.

Having seen what I have seen, I looked for the first opportunity to leave that city. The opportunity arose when competitions were called for the chair of rhetoric in Milan, which was then the capital of the Empire. I was lucky and I won them. As soon as I could, I moved to my new destination.

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TABLE OF CONTENT: SAINT AUGUSTINE

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