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.

In Tagaste I distributed among the poor the little property that touched me. I only stayed with my parents’ house, and there I had a common life with several friends. We had only the essentials, and no one owned anything of their own. We divided the day between study and prayer. In Casiciaco I had already begun to publish books, and here I was still dedicated to the same thing. I strove to demonstrate the falsity of the Manichaean doctrine, and I know that I helped many to get out of that trap.

Agustín en la vida comunitaria. Santiago Bellido, lámina. Valladolid, 1999.
Augustine in community life. Santiago Bellido, plate. Valladolid, Spain, 1999.

When I had been three years in Tagaste they made me, almost by force, a priest of a seaside town, Hippo; a noisy city full of problems. The bishop spoke Greek and he hardly knew our language, Latin; he needed someone to preach and understand the people. Of course, this was a break in my life. Suddenly, the plans that I had made for myself and believed to be definitive went down the drain: to live in retirement, dedicated to prayer and study. Suddenly, I found myself in a sea of ​​activity. Although I immediately understood that this was the path that God indicated to me to serve him in others.

Now, do not think that this is why I abandoned my monastic ideal; On the contrary, I saw that the monastery could be the best service to the Church. So, with the bishop’s permission, I organized one in Hippo. As in that of Tagaste, we take as a model the first community of Jerusalem described in the book of the Acts of the apostles: The believers – he says – had but one heart and one soul. No one considered their goods as their own, but everything was common between them (4, 32). We did the same. Like them, we distributed everything among the poor and, of what was in common – be it clothes, money or food -, each one received what he needed. Some studied, others worked, but we all strove to make the community a witness of charity and unity. That was the important thing.

NEXT PAGE: 8. Consumed by jobs