Feast • Aug. 28
Church • Montpelier
“You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” So begins the autobiography of a man who converted from great sinner to great saint, eventually becoming a Doctor of the Church he had kept at arm’s length for so long.
Born in North Africa in 354, Augustine was the oldest child of a Christian mother, Monica, and a pagan father. He had always shown an inclination toward intellectual greatness, but his mother worried deeply about the state of his soul; he was not baptized because his father would not allow it.
To his mother’s sorrow, it would be many years before Augustine was able to bring his sinful passions under control. Eventually in Milan, Monica’s prayers were answered; Augustine became enamored of the sermons of St. Ambrose and, in 387, Augustine accepted the Christianity of his mother. He was baptized by Ambrose at the age of 33.
Monica, herself a saint, died within a year of her son’s conversion. After her death, Augustine moved to the city of Hippo in North Africa, where he succeeded Valerius as the bishop of Hippo, a position he retained until his death.
Augustine spent the remainder of his life teaching, writing and defending the Church against heresy. He died in 430 as Vandals, who had already swept through much of the crumbling Roman Empire, were besieging the city of Hippo.
St. Augustine’s feast day is Aug. 28; he is the patron of printers and brewers.
St. Augustine Church in Montpelier has eye-catching stained-glass windows throughout the church and icons of its patron saint. Toward the back is a tapestry depicting St. Augustine as well as an icon above the tabernacle. The parish celebrates the Feast of St. Augustine with Mass and a reception with live music. During the reception, recognition is given to all of the parish volunteers.
—Originally published in the Summer 2020 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.