St. Augustine on the Walls
Off to Rome, leaving his mother in tears
Eventually Augustine became a teacher of rhetoric and public speaking, but he wasn’t very happy with his students in Carthage (5.8.14). They were so badly behaved that he decided to leave north Africa and go to Rome, where he could also expect more prestige and money for his teaching. This was a very difficult period for Augustine and his mother. His father had died a few years earlier and Monica wanted her son to be a Christian. Augustine, however, was part of a non-Christian sect called Manichaeism. Manichaeism might remind you a bit of the religion in Star Wars, with the struggle between the light and dark sides of "the force." In this picture, we see Monica crying about Augustine and praying for him. She consulted a priest about him, who advised her to let her “son of tears” go his own way (3.12.21). Not surprisingly, she was very upset with the idea that he wanted to leave Carthage to go to Rome, and she wanted him either to stay home with her or to take her with him. Augustine wasn’t interested in either of those possibilities, so he told her he was going to see a friend and then secretly got on a boat and sailed to Italy leaving her behind in Africa.
If you could see the original wall in the church, you would see that right next to these pictures of Monica there is a picture of a boat sailing away (not shown here) depicting Augustine leaving in stealth while she was praying that he wouldn’t go (5.8.15).
|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: March 20, 2008.