St. Augustine on the Walls
St. Augustine's vision, and the death of Monica
This picture is, in some ways, the most complex of the whole series. After the baptism, Augustine and Monica went to the port city of Ostia to prepare for a journey back to Africa. Before they could go, Monica became very ill. In the center of the picture, we see St. Monica on her deathbed,with Augustine standing by her side. Alypius is also there. Her last words were: “Lay this body anywhere, and take no trouble over it. One thing only do I ask of you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be” (9.11.27). Augustine also tells us that just before Monica died, he and his mother “stood leaning against a window which looked out on a garden” (9.10.23) and at that time they had a mystical vision of That Which Is. If you look in the upper left hand corner of the picture, you’ll see Monica and Augustine looking out of that window over the garden, as though their mystical vision included the events in the rest of the picture as well. On the right, you’ll see a ship, and you can just make out the two haloed figures of Augustine and Alypius. Once more Augustine sails away without her, but now because she has died. We also see a woman with some children in the foreground. Augustine tells us that he had met many of the local Christians in Ostia, who comforted him (9.11.31). The ancient ruins of Ostia (near the Rome airport) have been excavated by archaeologists, and you can walk on the same streets that Augustine must have walked.
|School||College||Mother of Tears||Rome||The teacher||To Milan||Arrival in Milan|
|St. Ambrose||Conversion||Baptism||Seashell||Death of Monica||Funeral||Home Page|
Images are taken from: The Web Gallery of Art. Quotations from St. Augustine's Confessions, translated by Maria Boulding, O.S.B., (Hyde Park, New York: New City Press) 1997. Author: John Immerwahr, Update: April 7, 2008.