Augustine and his party moved from Milan to Ostia to await passage across the Mediterranean Sea to the port of Carthage, North Africa.
On 13th November 387 at Ostia, the mother of Augustine, Monica, died in the arms of her son after five days of fever.
Her death and his grief are covered by Augustine in Book Nine of his Confessions.
There Augustine offered the world one of the greatest passages in literature.
The small group was detained at Ostia. A civil war was raging in the Roman Empire and Ostia, which at the mouth of the Tiber River served as the port of Rome, was blockaded.
Here was an unexpected delay to his plans; he was to have more time for preparation than he had expected.
To wait out the blockade, Augustine went to Rome for about one year with Evodius, later bishop of Uzalis - his friend who had also been with him in Milan and at the death of Monica in Ostia.
This was the very city where he had been most closely associated with it. His literary combat with the Manicheans had begun.
In Rome he also began writing De libero arbitrio ("On Free Choice of the Will"), which he finished in the period of 391-394 while he was a priest in Hippo.
He sailed for Africa in August 388, when the death of the tyrant Maximus had ended the naval blockade of the port of Ostia.
After a short sojourn in Carthage, he returned to his native town, Thagaste.
Immediately upon arriving there, he wished to carry out his idea of a perfect life.
He began by selling all his goods and giving the proceeds to the poor. Augustine and his son, Adeodatus, withdrew to his estate, which had already been alienated.
Here in his native Thagaste he assembled a monastic community late in in the year 388: Evodius, Alypius, and Severus who came with him from Italy.
They were joined by Profuturus, Forturiatus, Possidius, Urbanus, Bonifacius, and Peregrinus.
(Continued on the next page.)