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.

I decided to start living by imitating those monks I had met through Pontician’s story. In order not to draw attention to myself, I continued teaching for a few more days, until the holidays. Then, with the excuse of the chest and voice ailments I used to have, I dropped out of school. It was the year 386. I was 32 years old, and had started my quest at the age of 19. At last I had met Christ.

Bautismo de Agustín. Santiago Bellido, lámina. Valladolid, 1999.
Baptism of Augustine. Santiago Bellido, plate. Valladolid, Spain, 1999..

After these emotions, my mother, Alipio, my son Adeodato, some others and I retired to a farm called Casiciaco, which a friend left us. We spent the winter there. We prepare for baptism by living in community, studying, praying and deepening our vocation. On April 24th, 387, during the Easter Vigil – as was customary – Bishop Ambrose baptized Alypius, my son, and me.

There was little left for us to do in Milan. What we wanted was to return to Tagaste as soon as possible and put our plans into action. So we headed to Rome to board. But when we were waiting at the port, my mother died. Her death did not catch her by surprise; on the contrary, she felt that she was dying and she lived the trance in peace and joy. She had confessed the reason to me a few days before: she was already calm, she saw me as a Christian and decided to follow Christ with all my strength.

Monica left a huge void in my life. She had been the faithful woman who cried and prayed so much for me, and who had followed me everywhere until I was won back for Christ. For that life of faith and prayer that is an example for so many women, God has crowned her with glory.

In Rome we had to stay a year, because of a war that made navigation impossible. So I took the opportunity to get to know the monasteries and better outline the ideal we had. We made the crossing to Africa in the spring of the year 388.

NEXT PAGE: 7. Like the early Christians