After long internal fights Augustinus (354-430) gave up his chair of the Rhetoric at the school of Milan with the age of 33 years and in the autumn 386 backed out to the manor of the Verecundus, a colleague from Milan, at Cassiciacum.
There he spent, in community with his mother Monika and friends, several months in fruitful mental and mental activity. At the beginning of the chamfering time in 387 he returned to Milan, in order to prepare together with his son Adeodatus and his friend Alipius for the baptism. He received it at the Holy Saturday of the same year.
In monasterial silence of Christ to serve in prayer
The experience of the common life with like-minded seekers of God awoke his conviction that he was destined, to serve in prayer and work in monasterial silence of Christ. With this goal before his eyes he returned to Africa. But in Ostia its mother died. Thus his home coming was delayed for a whole year. He spent this year in Rome very profitably with the fact that he was exposed to the so-called Manichaeer and tried to get to know the monastery life in Rome. After his arrival in Thagaste toward the end of 388 he created a community of "layman monks" with some friends on his possessions, which he had inherited from his parents. The three years, which he spent there, were the luckiest of his life. From Thagaste his reputation as a religious and teaching person spread.
From priest to bishop consecreation
With his visit in Hippo in the year 391 the local Christian municipality required unanimously that he should become the priest for their business and port city. He received the priest consecration from Bishop Valerius and three years later the bishop consecration.
First he was an auxiliary bishop of Valerius, after its death, probably in the year 396, he became bishop von Hippo.
This new, responsible office did not tempt Augustinus to give up his monastery ideal. Up to its last hour he lived faithfully according to its monasterial rule of life. As a priest he had built a monastery on a parts of the church`s garden, which Valerius had given him. As a bishop he used his bishop house as monastery, in which he led a perfectly common life with his fellow confreres.
Centuries later the monastery ideal of Augustinus fully developed, as numerous brotherhood communities accepted the rules of Augustinus and became a "militia Christi", which announced the glad message to the poor, particularly in the cities. Also, they preached the gospel in the lately discovered world and defended it. They founded schools, orphanages, hospitals or other charitable facilities.
To most humans Augustinus is known as the great philosopher, who gave final direction to the philosophy of theology and the whole mental life and as a person who strongly coined the charitable social side in the life of the church. One should however not ignore his contribution for the brotherhood life of the church, because from this source he drew strength for his large achievements. That is our precious inheritance.
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