Augustine was born on 13 November 354 at Tagaste, in northern Africa, in an area that is now Algeria, and died in 28 August 430, in Hippo Regius, also in what is modern Algeria. This was when the Arian Vandals were besieging Hippo. The Vandals left Augustine's cathedral and library standing.
He was a son of a pagan father who converted on his death bed, and of Saint Monica, a devout Christian. Raised a Christian, he lost his faith in youth and led a wild life. Lived with a Carthaginian woman from the age of 15 through 30. Fathered a son whom he named Adeotadus, which means the gift of God. Taught rhetoric at Carthage and Milan, Italy. After investigating and experimenting with several philosophies, he became a Manichaean for several years.
Augustine finally broke with the Manichaeans and was converted by the prayers of his mother and the help of Saint Ambrose of Milan, who baptized him. On the death of his mother he returned to Africa, sold his property, gave the proceeds to the poor, and founded a monastery. He founded religious communities. Fought Manichaeism, Donatism, Pelagianism and other heresies. Oversaw his church and his see during the fall of the Roman Empire to the Vandals. He is a doctor of the Church. His later thinking can also be summed up in a line from his writings: Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you.
Augustine was ordained Bishop of Hippo in 396. Augustine was an important figure in the history of Christianity. He wrote about topics like predestination and original sin. Augustine died while the Germanic Vandals attacked northern Africa. Augustine left behind 5,000,000 words that survive today.
In the Roman Catholic Church, Augustine's Saint's Day is August 28, the date of his death in A.D. 430.
Quotes of St. Augustine
“Punishment is justice for the unjust.”
“Order your soul; reduce your wants; live in charity; associate in Christian community; obey the laws; trust in Providence.”
“Resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other person dies.”
“People travel to wonder
at the height of the mountains,
at the huge waves of the seas,
at the long course of the rivers,
at the vast compass of the ocean,
at the circular motion of the stars,
and yet they pass by themselves
“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.”
“If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don't like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.”
“Faith is to believe what you do not yet see; the reward for this faith is to see what you believe.”
“God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination.”
“In order to discover the character of people we have only to observe what they love.”
“Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead, He set before your eyes the things that He had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that?”
“I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are wise and very beautiful; but I have never read in either of them: Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden.”
“God provides the wind, Man must raise the sail.”
“Christ is not valued at all, unless he is valued above all.”
Confessions and City of God are Augustine's most famous works. A third important work was On the Trinity. He wrote 113 books and treatises, and hundreds of letters and sermons. Here are some of his books:
Contra Academicos [Against the Academicians, 386-387]
De Libero Arbitrio [On Free Choice of the Will, Book I, 387/9; Books II & III, circa 391-395]
De Magistro [On The Teacher, 389]
Confessiones [Confessions, 397-401]
De Trinitate [On The Trinity, 399-422]
De Genesi ad Litteram [On The Literal Meaning of Genesis, 401-415]
De Civitate Dei [On The City of God, 413-427]
Retractationes [Reconsiderations, 426-427]