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.

During this time, events arose. My mother took care of finding me a good match to marry all the law. She thought that in this way she would settle her head. Due to my social position, she could only marry me to a high-class woman; such was life then. That’s why I had to separate from the companion with whom I had lived for so long. Her farewell was very sad, especially for her; she would never see us again, neither me nor our son Adeodatus.

Agustín en Casiciaco. Santiago Bellido, lámina. Valladolid, 1999.
Augustine in Casiciaco. Santiago Bellido, plate. Valladolid, Spain, 1999.

Also around the same time, I came across a circle of intellectuals who were studying some so-called “Neo-Platonist” philosophers. This meant in my life the definitive abandonment of Manichaeism and the light to glimpse the path that leads to the truth. I decided to prepare myself to take the step and become a Christian. It is not that Christ had disappeared from my vital horizon. In one way or another, I had always been aware of him and had nurtured the suspicion, or the hope, that he would lead me to the truth. My problem was that he had alienated me from the Church. Now he wanted to go back to her.

However, although the sermons of Ambrose and the reading of the philosophers opened a bright path for me, my spirit was not calm. I was still upset. I still remember that drunk I saw one day stumbling, and I remember the comment I made to my friends: that drunk was happier than me; he had drowned his sorrows in wine, while I, with all my knowledge, continued to suffer them.

I decided to entrust myself to a certain Simpliciano, who was a priest famous for his life and wisdom. He received me warmly, and he recommended that I read the letters of Saint Paul. I was in it when my countryman Ponticiano came to visit me. Seeing that he interested me in these things, he began to tell me about the monasteries and the life that the monks led. He told me about the life of Antonio, the monk in the Egyptian desert, and that of some young men from Trier: they had all abandoned riches and honors to serve God and follow Christ more freely. And the girlfriends of the latter had done the same, when they found out. A whirlwind was unleashed within me: I had never heard of these things and, as Ponticiano counted, I discovered that this was what I was looking for. Of course there was a way to know, love and surrender fully to God! That was the way.

When Ponticiano left, I was outside myself. I had an enormous desire to cry, and I went out to the garden. Yes, that was the way; but I did not dare to consecrate myself to God and renounce women. Sex control me. As I cried, I imagined so many people of all ages, genders, and walks of life who had made it. And I was not going to be able? Then I heard a child’s voice crooning: “Take and read. Take and read. I felt an inner pang: this was for me. I picked up the book of Saint Paul’s letters and read where it was open:

Let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies ….No binge eating or drunkenness; no lust or debauchery; no rivalry or envy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and do not worry about the flesh to satisfy his lust (Rom 13, 13-14).

God had mercy on me. It’s all over. The knot that oppressed my heart was undone. I felt strong for whatever was necessary and happy as ever. At last he was free. Free! Now he could walk, know God and truly love his brothers.

Alipio had the same experience as me and we both ran to tell my mother. That day the house was the happiest place in the world. Everything was new to me.

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