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Saint Augustine of Hippo

Born: November 13, 354 in Thagaste, Numidia (now Souk Ahras, Algeria)

Died: August 28, 430 in Hippo Regius, Numidia (now modern-day Annaba, Algeria)

Venerated: All Christian denominations which venerate saints

Canonized: 1303 by Pope Boniface VIII

Feast Day: August 28 (Western Christianity)
June 15 (Eastern Christianity)
November 4 (Assyrian)

Patronage: Brewers
Against Sore Eyes
Places: Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut
Cagayan de Oro, Philippines
Carpineto Romano, Italy
Diocese of Ida, Philippines

Saint Augustine was born on November 13, 354, at Tagaste (modern Algeria) in Africa.  In spite of the piety of his holy mother, Saint Monica, he fell at an early age into the greatest disorders, and even at a later period became a heretic of the sect of the Manicheans.  Unfortunately, his father, Patricius, was then an idolater, so that the youth met with little or no restraint on his side.  In the beginning of 370 he continued his studies at Carthage and the following year his father died, after being converted to Christianity.  Some time later, Saint Augustine took up his abode at Carthage and opened a school of rhetoric.  Later he went to Rome and then to Milan, where he also began to teach rhetoric.  Here God's grace and the prayers of his mother, who had followed him to Italy, as well as the instructions of saintly friends, particularly Saint Ambrose, effected his conversion.  He abandoned the sect of the Manicheans, and after some time gave himself entirely to God.  Saint Ambrose administered to him the Sacrament of Baptism on Easter eve 387.

On his return to Africa, the saint lost his mother at Ostia in the same year, and in 388 he arrived at Carthage.  At Tagaste he began to live a community life with some of his friends.  He was ordained in 390 and moved to Hippo where he established another community with several of his friends who had followed him.  Five years later he was consecrated Bishop and made coadjutor to Valerius, Bishop of Hippo, whom he succeeded in the following year.

From this period until his death, his life was one of ceaseless activity.  He governed his church, preached to his people, and wrote voluminous works that have received the admiration of the ages.  His humility prompted him to write his Confessions about the year 397, and from this work we have a detailed account of his early years.

He exerted his zeal against the various errors of his day, and showed himself as intrepid a defender of the Faith as he had been its ignorant enemy.  The Manicheans, Priscillianists, Origenists, Donatists and Pelagians all came in for a share of his zeal.  Shortly before his death the Vandals under Genseric invaded Africa, and the saint was witness of the desolation that followed in their tracks.  This multi-faceted religious genius and devout servant of God died on August 28, 430.

Prayer: Lord, renew in Your Church the spirit which You inspired in Saint Augustine, Your Bishop.  Filled by this spirit, may we thirst after You as the true Source of wisdom.  Amen.