St Augustine was born in 354 at Thagaste, a provincial Roman city in North Africa. Although his mother, St Monica, raised him a Christian, he left the church to follow the Manichaean religion. He went to Carthage and became a master in rhetoric and philosophy. It was at this time Augustine had a son, Adeodatus.
In 383, he went to Italy to teach in Rome but instead moved to Milan where he met St Ambrose. After reading an account of the life of St Anthony of the Desert, Augustine underwent a profound conversion. With the influence of St Ambrose, the prayers of St Monica and the friendship of St Alipius, he converted to Christianity, quitting his teaching position and devoting his entire life to God. Ambrose baptised Augustine and his son on the Easter Vigil of 387 in Milan. Upon the death of his mother, he returned to North Africa after spending time in Italy writing and praying.
In 388 Augustine sold all that he had and created a monastic foundation in Tapaste. He was ordained a priest in Hippo and his popularity spread as a famous preacher. In 395 he was made bishop of Hippo and occupied that position for 34 years. He was constantly writing and preaching against the heresies of the time. He died in 430 as the Vandals laid siege to Hippo.
St Augustine was one of the greatest Catholic saints that ever lived and in his lifetime he wrote 232 books and over 500 sermons. Two of his most well known and read books are The Confessions and City of God. He is a Doctor of the Church, a Western Father of the Church, and one of the most distinguished theologians in the history of the Church. St Augustine died at the age of 76 on 28 August, which is now his Feast Day. His name means great or magnificent and he is the Patron Saint of theologians, printers, the city of Carthage and of brewers.