MONNICA’S CONVERSION: A COMMENTARY ON CONFESSIONS IX.VIII.17 – IX.XIII.37
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Augustine’s biography of his mother, Monnica, in Confessions IX.viii.17 to IX.xiii.37 is the story of her conversion. Augustine presents her biography using the same pattern of conversion with which he structures his own conversion and the Confessions as a whole. First identified by Robert Crouse, this pattern is summarised in Augustine’s commentary on Psalm 145, in which he describes the soul’s conversion as a movement away from carnal experience to a vision of the intelligible principles by which the soul is able to comprehend the meaning of those experiences, and finally to a vision of the divine source of the whole created order which includes the soul’s own being, knowing, and willing: ab exterioribus ad interiora, ab inferioribus ad superiora. By means of his mother’s conversion, Augustine achieves the final step necessary for his own conversion.