Posts by Connie_Cummings

St. Luke the Evangelist


Luke, a physician from Antioch, was the only evangelist who was not a Jew. He never saw Jesus actually, but according to speculation, may have associated with the pagans who were with Jews of the Dispersion, going to the synagogue on the Sabbath with them. Or maybe he converted about 42 A.D. when Paul and Barnabus visited Antioch to preach.

Records do show that around 30 A.D. Luke was with St. Paul at Troas. He travelled with him off and on, including the 2 years Paul was in captivity in Caesarea. When Paul was taken to Rome, Luke went with him and was shipwrecked with him on the Maltese Coast on the way. When Paul’s captivity in Rome ended in martyrdom in the year 67, Luke had not left his master’s side.’

St. Luke was author of the Acts of the Apostles, and of the 3rd Gospel. He preserved the familiar parables of the lost sheep, the prodigal son, the Pharisee and the Publican and Lazarus. Nothing is known of the end of Luke’s life or when he died.

St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

St. Matthew, Apostle and EvangelistOne day Jesus was walking and saw a tax collector named Matthew sitting at a tax collection post, and said to him, “Follow me.” And Matthew stood up and followed Him, and became one of His twelve apostles. (See M 9:9-13 = P 2:13-17 = L 5:27-32)

Tax collectors in those days were social outcasts. Devout Jews avoided them because they were usually dishonest (the job carried no salary, and they were expected to make their profits by cheating the people from whom they collected taxes). Patriotic and nationalistic Jews hated them because they were agents of the Roman government, the conquerors, and hated them with a double hatred if (like Matthew) they were Jews, because they had gone over to the enemy, had betrayed their own people for money. Thus, throughout the Gospels, we find tax collectors (publicans) mentioned as a stadard type of sinful and despised outcast. Matthew brought many of his former associates to meet Jesus, and social outcasts in general were shown that the love of Jesus extended even to them.

(Jesus numbered among his disciples persons of widely different backgrounds. They included not only Matthew, a former agent of the Roman government, but Simon the Zealot (not to be confused with Simon Peter). Josephus tells us that the Zealots were fanatical nationalists, determined to drive out the Romans by guerrilla tactics, ambushes, assassinations, terrorist methods, or whatever worked. Their motto was, “No king but Messiah, no tax but the Temple, no friend but the Zealot.” It is not clear that Simon was, or had been, a member of the group that Josephus describes, but it seems clear that he would have regarded himself as at the opposite end of the political spectrum from Matthew.)

The name “Matthew” means “gift of the Lord.” Mark and Luke, in the story of his calling, name him “Levi.” Perhaps this was his original name, and he received a new name from Jesus when he became a disciple. (It has also been suggested that he was simply a member of the tribe of Levi.)

Of Matthew’s life after Pentecost the Scriptures tell us nothing. Later accounts of his life vary, some reporting that he was martyred, others that he died a natural death. The Christian community since early times has commemorated him as a martyr.

Whether the Apostle Matthew is also the Evangelist Matthew — that is, whether the Apostle Matthew wrote the Gospel that bears his name — is disputed. The Gospel itself does not say who wrote it, but the designation “according to Matthew” is very old.

In favor of his authorship it may be noted that (1) while Mark and Luke give the fourth pair of Apostles as “Matthew and Thomas,” the Gospel of Matthew gives them as “Thomas and Matthew”; and (2) while Luke 5:29 explicitly states, and Mark 2:15 suggests, that Matthew gave a banquet for Jesus, Matthew 9:10 in describing the same banquet does not indicate who the host was. Both of these variations would be routine touches of modesty if Matthew was the author.

On the other hand, the gospel (1) does not have the manner of an eyewitness (see my Library Essay John Part1), and (2) is thought by many scholars to contain material borrowed from Mark, whereas one would not expect someone who had been an eyewitness to borrow from someone who had not. (Note: The view that Mark is an older Gospel than Matthew is widespread and not long ago many scholars regarded the matter as settled. However, there is respectable opinion holding that Matthew is the earliest Gospel after all. See, for example, the comments in the Matthew volume of The Anchor Bible.)

Perhaps the Gospel was written by some early Christian, not an apostle, whose name was Matthew, and about whom nothing else is known. Early Christian readers, hearing the Gospel ascribed to “Matthew,” would naturally associate it with the Apostle of that name, and so the ascribing of the work to the Apostle Matthew becomes common at an early date, by a perfectly natural misunderstanding.

Papias of Hierapolis, writing in the late first or early second century, says that Matthew compiled the sayings (Logia) of Jesus in Hebrew. Now the material common to Matthew and Luke, but not to Mark, includes sayings of Jesus but almost no narrative. It has therefore been conjectured that there was once a document (usually called Q), now lost, that is basically a collection of speeches by Jesus, and that Matthew (the evangelist) and Luke had access to it while Mark did not. It has been suggested that Matthew (the apostle) is the author of this document Q, which may well have been first written in Hebrew (or Aramaic).

The Scripture readings associated with the day bear the themes of Matthew as a Gospel-writer (hence readings that speak of the Scriptures), Matthew as an Apostle, and Matthew as a sinner called by God’s grace.

PRAYER (traditional language)

We thank thee, heavenly Father, for the witness of thine Apostle and evangelist Matthew to the Gospel of thy Son our Savior; and we pray that, after his example, we may with ready wills and hearts obey the calling of our Lord to follow him; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

PRAYER (contemporary language)

We thank thee, heavenly Father, for the witness of your apostle And evangelist Matthew to the Gospel of your Son our Savior; and we pray that, after his example, we may with ready wills and hearts obey the calling of our Lord to follow him; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Reading: Proverbs 3:1-6 (An admonition to youth to cherish the divine precepts)


Alternate Reading: Ezekiel 2:8–3:11 (God gives the prophet a scroll, a message for the people of Israel)


Psalm 119:33-40 or Psalm 19:2-5 (A stanza in praise of the Scriptures)


Epistle: 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (Paul commends the study of the Scriptures to Timothy)


Alternate Epistle: Ephesians 2:4-10 (Christ takes sinners and incorporates them into the company of the saints.)


Alternate Epistle: Ephesians 4:1-7,11-13 (United in the one Body of Christ, some Christians are called to be apostles, some prophets….)


The Holy Gospel: Matthew 9:9-13 (Jesus sees the tax-collector Matthew at his desk, and says, “Follow me.”)



Saint Patrick – March 17

Patrick grew up on his father’s farm by the sea in either Wales, Ireland or Scotland.  In 404, at age 16, Patrick was kidnapped by pirates and sold to an islander where he herded sheep for 6 years before he escaped and returned home.

Patrick had a vision of evangelizing Ireland which still worshipped idols.  He went to the monks at Lerins Abbey and the school of bishops at Auxerre, both in France, from 415-432 and became a deacon, then a bishop.

The Romans had recently left Ireland and it was ruled by many kings, the heads of the clans.  They ruled absolutely over their lands and their people. Thus the people had the faith of their rulers.  Patrick’s story is one of converting these kings, one by one.

Patrick died about 461.  Many legends grew up around St. Patrick which expresses the extent to which the Irish venerate the man who made them Christian.

From:  Lives of the Saints by Omer Englebert

ST. VALENTINE, February 14

St.ValentneStories of two different saints named Valentine go back to the 200s.

The first Valentine was a Roman priest, arrested under Claudius the Goth.  Valentine openly confessed his Christian faith before the Emperor and when questioned about the Roman gods, Jupiter and Mercury said they were contemptible and shameless characters.  Valentine was committed to the care of a magistrate.  This man had a daughter who was blind.  Valentine cured her and converted the entire family.  When the Emperor heard this, he had Valentine decapitated.  In the 4th c. Pope Julius built a church in honor of this martyr

The second St. Valentine is thought to have been the Bishop of Terni in Umbria and had a reputation for performing miracles.  The philosopher, Crato, had a son with an incurable malady and he sent for Valentine.  Valentine said he would heal the son if the family would convert.  It was agreed and both kept their side of the bargain.  When the local prefect heard of this, he had this Valentine beheaded and sent home.  St. Valentine is still patron saint of Terni.

In the middle ages, it was believed birds began to pair on February 14.  From this came the custom of sending “valentines”.


Source:  Lives of the Saints, by Omer Englebert

St. Stephen Deacon and Martyr


St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr

Today is the second day in the octave of Christmas. The Church celebrates the Feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Stoned outside Jerusalem, he died praying for his executioners. He was one of the seven deacons who helped the apostles; he was “filled with faith and with the Holy Spirit,” and was “full of fortitude.” The Church draws a comparison between the disciple and his Master, emphasizing the imitation of Christ even unto the complete gift of self. His name is included in the Roman Canon.

The deacon Stephen, stoned in Jerusalem two years after the death of Christ, has always been the object of very special veneration by the faithful. He is the first martyr. The account in the Acts of the Apostles relating his arrest and the accusations brought against him emphasize the parallel with our Saviour’s trial; he was stoned outside the city wall and died, like his Master, praying for his executioners.

Stephen belongs to the group of seven deacons whom the Apostles associated with their work in order to lighten their load. He was “filled with faith and with the Holy Spirit,” “full of grace and strength” he showed himself as a man of God, radiating divine grace and apostolic zeal. As the first witness to Christ he confronted his opponents with quiet courage and the promise made by Jesus (Mark 13.11) was fulfilled: “. . .Disputing with Stephen they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit that spoke.”

In St. Stephen, the first martyr, the liturgy emphasizes the imitator of Christ even to the extent of the complete gift of self, to the extent of that great charity which made him pray in his suffering for his executioners. By establishing the feast on the day after Christmas the Church draws an even closer comparison between the disciple and the Master and thus extends his witness to the whole mission of the redeeming Messiah.

Professing the Christian Faith Demands the Heroism of the Martyrs
On the day after the solemnity of Christmas, we celebrate the feast of St. Stephen. At first glance, to join the memory of the “protomartyr” and the birth of the Redeemer might seem surprising because of the contrast between the peace and joy of Bethlehem and the tragedy of St. Stephen, stoned in Jerusalem during the first persecution against the nascent Church.

St. Stephen was the first to follow in the steps of Christ with martyrdom: like the divine Master, he died forgiving and praying for his executioners (cf. Acts 7:60). During the first four centuries of Christianity all the saints venerated by the Church were martyrs.

They are a countless multitude, which the liturgy calls “the white army of martyrs,” (martyrum candidatus exercitus). Their death was not a reason for fear and sadness, but of spiritual enthusiasm, which always gave rise to new Christians. For believers, the day of death, and even more so, the day of martyrdom, is not the end of everything, but rather the “passage” to immortal life, it is the day of the final birth, the “dies natalis.” Thus is understood the link that exists between the “dies natalis” of Christ and the “dies natalis” of St. Stephen. If Jesus had not been born on earth, men would not have been able to be born for heaven. Precisely because Christ was born, we are able to be “reborn.”

Also Mary, who took the Redeemer in her arms in Bethlehem, suffered an interior martyrdom. She shared His Passion and had to take Him, once again, in her arms when they took Him down from the cross. To this Mother, who felt the joy of the birth and the anguish of the death of her divine Son, we entrust those who are persecuted and those who are suffering, in different ways, for witnessing and serving the Gospel.



Saint Nicholas of Myra, December 6

St, NicholasSt. Nicholas could well be the most popular saint.  He is a patron and benefactor of children–gift-giver at Christmas and through history credited with many miracles.

In a sermon St. Bonaventure told about Nicholas travelling to the Council at Nicea when he entered an inn where the innkeeper had just killed 2 boys who could not pay their bill.  Nicholas brought the boys back to life and converted the innkeeper.

Another famous story tells how Nicholas was aware of a desperately poor father of 3 daughters who was about the put them out on the street.  Three times Nicholas threw a purse filled with gold through an open window to provide dowry money for each girl to get married.  The third time, the father waited, hiding, to see who was helping him.  When he recognized Nicholas, he fell at his feet, penitent.  From then on he spread the word of Nicholas’ goodness.

Born in Lycia, Nicholas ruled a large monastery, was imprisoned for a time for his faith, and was Archbishop of Myra at his death.


Source:  Lives of the Saints by Omer Englebert

The Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle

St. Andrew the Apostle

St. Andrew the Apostle El Greco 1606 - Oil on Canvas Museo del Greco - Toledo

Andrew was born in Bethsaida in Galilee, son of Jona and brother of Simon Peter. The three were fishermen on Lake Tiberius (the Sea of Galilee).

Andrew first met Jesus in Bethany where John the Baptist was baptizing. John 1:35-42 tells the story of Jesus walking by with 2 disciples and Andrew recognized Him as the Savior saying, “Look, this is the Lamb of God.” Andrew went to tell his brother right away and brought him to Jesus. The brothers kept on with their fishing at that time, but when John was imprisoned and Jesus went to live in Capernaum, the two “dropped their nets immediately and followed Him.” Mt. 4:17-20

From then on, Andrew is not mentioned individually in the Gospel (though he was the one who told Jesus about the boy with the 5 loaves and two fishes in the feeding of the 5000, Jn. 6:8).

After the crucifixion, tradition says Andrew carried the Gospel into districts around the Black Sea and died at Patras in Achaia on an X-shaped cross. This kind of cross was named after him.

Andrew is the patron saint of fishermen and women wishing to have children.

Source: Lives of the Saints by Omer Englebert

Twenty-fourth Sunday after Trinity

Daily Readings for the Twenty-fourth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect for the Day

Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity

O LORD, we beseech thee, absolve thy people from their offences; that through thy bountiful goodness we may all be delivered from the bands of those sins, which by our frailty we have committed. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Morning Prayer

The Psalter

Psalm 66. Jubilate Deo. (First Set of Propers)

1 Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands:
2 Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.
3 Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee.
4 All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah.
5 Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men.
6 He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him.
7 He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.
8 O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard:
9 Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved.
10 For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.
11 Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins.
12 Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.
13 I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows,
14 Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble.
15 I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah.
16 Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.
17 I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue.
18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
19 But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.

First Lesson (First Set of Propers)

Malachi 3:13-4:3

13 Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?
14 Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?
15 And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.
16 Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.
17 And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.

Second Lesson

Luke 10:17-24 (First Set of Propers)

17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.
22 All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.
23 And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see:
24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

Evening Prayer

Psalm 139. Domine, probasti. (First Set of Propers)

1 O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.
2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.
5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.
19 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.
20 For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.
21 Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

First Lesson

Deuteronomy 33:1-3, 26-29 (First Set of Propers)

1 And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.
2 And he said, The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.
3 Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.

26 There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky.
27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.
28 Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.
29 Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.

Second Lesson

Jude 1-4, 17-25 (First Set of Propers)

1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:2 Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.
3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.
9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.
11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.
12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;
13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.
17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;
18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.
19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;
18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.
19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.




St. Augustine


Augustine was born in 354 A.D. in Hippo, N. Africa. He entered into catechumens and school as a young boy. At 17, he went to Carthage for school and took up many excesses in living as well.  He fathered a child with a woman he lived with for 15 years.  His mother, St. Monica, is renowned for never ceasing to pray for Augustine.

He continued in this way for years, also establishing his own schools of rhetoric and grammar. In Milan he met Bishop Ambrose and learned of God and Jesus Christ.  This began a battle which he fought many years.  Wishing to surrender to Christianity, he was bound by his iron will.  He said, “give me chastity, but not yet awhile”.  In 386, he won the battle—experiencing a powerful conversion to Christ.  He went to live in community with his family and friends, praying and studying to become a new man in Christ.

In N. Africa, after his mother’s death, he began writing and teaching again.  He had no desire to become a priest, but was ordained assistant to the Bishop of Hippo and established a sort of monastery next to the church, following the example of the apostles. Possessions were renounced and meals and routines simple.  He preached and served there 35 years.

Known to be friendly and affectionate; he opposed sin, but with meekness and love.  Augustine protected the faith and influenced many with his letters and sermons.  He fell ill and died reading penitential psalms August 28, 430 at the age of 76. The fullest knowledge and understanding of Augustine comes in reading his confessions and many other writings.

Source:  Butler’s Lives of the Saints, Complete Edition, Volume III, edited, revised and supplemented by Herbert Thurston, S.J. and Donald Attwater

Links to Writings:

The Confessions (397–401)

The City of God (413–426)

On Christian Doctrine (396–426)

On the Trinity (400-416)

Handbook on Faith, Hope and Love (Enchiridion) (421–424)


Letters of St Augustine (386–429)