Augustine gets an app

That’s right. Now there is a wonderful mobile app of the Confessions of St. Augustine of Hippo, based on the celebrated translation by Maria Boulding, OSB, and created by Villanova University’s Augustine & Culture Program (ACSP). The mobile app development was a joint effort of ACSP, the Augustinian Institute, and the Computer Science department, in conjunction with University’s IT people. It is, as the University describes it, an “interactive sourcebook based on the Boulding translation.”
This translation appeared 1997 and won instant acclaim for its elegance, clarity and capture of the very essence of Augustine himself. Dame Maria Boulding was a Benedictine nun living at Stanbrook Abbey, an enclosed community on the Yorkshire moors in England. When I first began to read this translation, I marveled at it. Augustine, who had always been for me a shadowy and stern stranger, seemed to come to life from the pages.
One of the most interesting features of the Villanova Confessions app is a audio voice-over for the text. Several scholars contributed their time and talent, including some Villanova faculty members. The Rev. Peter Donohue, OSA, the multi-talented president of Villanova University, provided a voice for Augustine’s adolescence. And that was some adolescence!
When Augustine wrote his texts, the expectation was that these would be read aloud. Books were a rare commodity. So it was with the Confessions. The app is an opportunity to experience this great work of literature and faith as its author intended it to be. I think that Augustine, who died more than 1,600 years ago, would have been thrilled to see his works still valued in our time and available in our social media.

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