About St. Augustine Prep
Augustine, named Aurelius Augustinus, was born in 354 A.D. to middle-class parents in the North African town of Thagaste. A brilliant and passionate scholar, he taught rhetoric in Carthage and later in Rome and Milan. He also served for a time as the official spokesperson for the Roman emperor. Yet for all his success, he remained restless in his search for something no amount of material gain could satisfy. A dramatic conversion to Christianity at the age of 32 set his life on a new course. He returned to Thagaste where he established a monastic community and devoted a joyful three years to study, dialogue, and prayer. Out of this tradition stems the emphasis on fraternal life in community that persists to this day.
The Catholic Church called on Augustine to become the bishop of Hippo Regius, present-day Annaba, Algeria. Determined not to abandon the way of life he found so fulfilling, Augustine set up a monastery for priests in his bishop’s residence and wrote his famous Rule as a guide for living in a community inspired by Christian values.
The scope of Augustine’s intellectual and apostolic achievement is staggering. He wrote many books on diverse topics, such as philosophy, theology, psychology, and history. He also composed two classics of world literature: Confessions and The City of God. Over 800 of his sermons have been preserved. As bishop, he traveled thousands of miles in the Church’s service and fought tirelessly against the people who were dividing the Catholic Church.
In the midst of these demanding activities, however, Augustine’s life had a very different side. He was, at heart, a monk.Augustine moved monasticism in a new direction. He had come to believe that a monk could, and should, lead both a contemplative life and a life of action. While Augustine felt that a monk’s first responsibility was serving the Church, he also believed study and contemplation would make that service all the more meaningful. After his death in 430, Augustine’s ideal spread to other parts of Africa and was carried to Europe by monks and clergy fleeing the persecution of the Vandals. In the eleventh century, the Rule of St. Augustine served as a basis for the reform of monasteries and cathedral chapters throughout Europe.
Augustinian spirituality is a unique lens through which one can discover God. Stemming from St. Augustine’s own life, writings, and teachings, Augustinian spirituality can largely be explained as the act of journeying together in search of the Truth that is God. Augustine took scripture as a guide for truth, and as such, he and the communities in which he lived followed Christ’s outward model of love through service to others.
The mission of St. Augustine Prep strives to enflesh these values by “setting hearts on fire with a passionate search for Truth, Unity, and Love.”