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St. Augustine

St. Gregory the Great, before he became Pope, wished to go to England and convert the people there. After he was placed in the Chair of St. Peter, he selected Augustine, then prior of St. Andrew’s Monastery in Rome, to go in his place. With a few fellow monks armed only with the cross, Augustine set out with joy to win either a new prize for Christ or the crown of martyrdom for themselves. Many perils stood in their path; the long journey to England by sea, the difference in manners, the difficulty of the language. With Christ as their captain and guide, they arrived in Kent in the year 596.

From this place, St. Augustine sent a messenger to Ethelbert, the powerful King of Kent, telling him of his mission. He provided for their needs, but asked him to stay until he deliberated what to do. At a later meeting, King Ethelbert listened as the religious men proclaimed the Gospel of Christ and promised to study their religion. He also provided a dwelling place in Canterbury, the capitol of his kingdom. St. Augustine said Mass, preached and baptized in an old church of St. Martin.

In the year 597, St. Augustine was made Bishop by the Archbishop of Arles, apostolic legate in Gaul. The king had been baptized within a year and many subjects followed their King. St. Augustine and his followers preached the faith all over the country, and many miracles and heavenly gifts were showered on the nation He had chosen. He died on the 26th of May, 604 , the same year as St. Gregory, and was buried in the Church of S.S Peter and Paul near the walls of Canterbury.