This article gives a brief summary of the life of Augustine and his influence on education.
Aurelius Augustine was born in north Africa in the year 354, at the close of the Roman Empire.
His home town is Tagaste, 250 kms (200 miles) from the Mediterranean coast and two thousand feet above it, cut off from the sea by great forests of pine trees.
He lived with his father, Patricius, and mother, Monica.
As a young boy at school, he is beaten by the teacher because he loved to play and could not see the use of learning at school.
One night - then sixteen years old - for the simple thrill of doing wrong, he and his friends steal from the pear tree of a neighbour, and throw the pears to pigs.
At seventeen he takes a concubine ("I was in love with love", he wrote), and at the age of eighteen years is the father of a son.
He completes his Roman education at the capital city of Carthage and becomes a teacher, and opens his own school in his home town of Tagaste. He finds the students noisy, frustrating and difficult.
In search of a philosophy of life he studies astrology, and joins a religious sect called Manichees.
At thirty Augustine is a professor of liberal arts in Rome and soon wins the appointment of Public Orator in Milan, the imperial capital.
But in Milan he meets a saint, Ambrose, and is converted to the Christian Faith. At Easter time and at thirty three years of age, Augustine is baptised with his son and his best friends.
He gives up lecturing and his ambition to become a Provincial Governor, and chooses a celibate life, with neither wife nor concubine.
Back in Africa Augustine begins to live as a monk in a community of friends. The search for wisdom becomes the one goal of his life. His son Adeodatus dies aged seventeen.
At thirty six Augustine is pressured by the people of Hippo to become their priest, though he is only three years a Christian.
He later commented about this, "I was made to stand at the helm of the ship when I did not know how to hold an oar."
But his acceptance of the Christian Faith had flooded his heart with light.
He is sustained by a brilliant mind and memory (the classics and the Bible he knows by heart) and his faith in God absorbs him completely.
Love now becomes the one goal in his life. He unifies all existence, all feeling, all knowledge, all friendship into one love. And it is love to the utmost.
(Continued on the next page.)