Tuesday, December 14, 2010

St. Augustine of Hippo (Nov. 13, 354 to Aug. 28, 430)

  "It is this one Spirit who makes it possible for an infant to be regenerated... when that infant is brought to baptism; and it is through this one Spirit that the infant so presented is reborn."
                                                                             (St. Augustine of Hippo)

   It's been more than 11 years since my mother passed away and equally as long that I spoke with her best friend, my godmother, Joyce.  But, today, that all changed when I got a phone call from Joyce. She'd just received a Christmas package I sent to her earlier this week filled with a colorful Blessed Virgin Mary wall calendar for 2011, a nativity from South America, a Christmas novena booklet, and her favorite chocolates.
   Joyce is dear to me, of course, because she's my godmother. She met my mother when they were 12-years-old and she'll be 75 next month. And, for the first time, I noticed something a little different about her.
  Throughout our conversation, Joyce seemed forgetful. She couldn't remember her age or how many grandchildren she had. Then, she'd asked her husband, my godfather, whose voice I could hear in the background and repeat the answers back to me.
  It made me feel upset because it seems like she has a form of Alzheimer's disease like her mother did. Still, Joyce laughed it off  by saying that she's older now and, as we age, we tend to forget things. She's right. Just some people do so a little bit faster.
  In the Roman Catholic Church, baptism is very important, so I'm glad Joyce was chosen as my godmother. When I was born in the mid 1960s, women stayed in the hospital for several days after a birth. My mother told me I went home on March 19, six days after I was born.
  Back then, it was almost mandatory that a baby be baptized immediately. You weren't supposed to go driving around with a newborn. If, God forbid, they died, they could be stuck in limbo forever.
  I couldn't be baptized right away because two days after I went home was Palm Sunday and the following Sunday was Easter.
  In the decades that followed, I remained close to Joyce. Her parish was St. Augustine Church in Providence, so I will write about him today.
  St. Augustine of Hippo was a Doctor of the Church and one of the most influential saints of all time. He was born Nov. 13, 354 in what is now Algeria. His mother was St. Monica.
  St. Augustine of Hippo was said to be a wild man who enjoyed partying and drinking. His sins of impurity blocked his mind from the Divine Truth. However, his mother continued to pray for him. Then one day, St. Augustine of Hippo snapped out of it and decided to live a life similar to Jesus.
  He was a bishop and a prolific writer. St. Augustine of Hippo died on Aug. 28, 430 and his feast day is Aug. 28.

(Happy Birthday, Grandma Denise: Dec. 14, 1895 to Feb. 2, 1972)

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