Walking Club - St. Monica
Feast Day: August 27
Patron: Mothers; Married women; Single mothers; homemakers; difficult marriages; disappointing children; victims of unfaithfulness; victims of verbal abuse; those suffering because of alcoholism.
Saint Monica, also known as Monica of Hippo, is St. Augustine of Hippo's mother. She was born in 331 A.D. in Tagaste, which is present-day Algeria. When she was very young, she was married off to the Roman pagan Patricius, who shared his mother's violent temper. Patricius' mother lived with the couple and the duo's temper flares proved to be a constant challenge to young Monica. While Monica's prayers and Christian deeds bothered Patricius, he is said to have respected her beliefs. Three children were born to Monica and Patricius: Augustine, Navigius, and Perpetua. Unfortunately, Monica was unable to baptize her children and when Augustine fell ill, Monica pleaded with Patricius to allow their son to be baptized. Patricius allowed it, but when Augustine was healthy again, he withdrew his permission. For years Monica prayed for her husband and mother-in-law, until finally, one year before Patricius' death, she successfully converted them. As time passed, Perpetua and Navigius entered the religious life, but unfortunately Augustine became lazy and uncouth. This greatly worried Monica, so when Patricius died, she sent the 17- year-old Augustine to Carthage for schooling. While in Carthage, Augustine became a Manichaean, which was a major religion that saw the world as light and darkness, and when one died, they were removed from the world of matter and returned to the world of light, which is where life comes from.
After Augustine got his education and returned home, he shared his views with Monica, who drove him from her table. Though it is not recorded how much time passed, Monica had a vision that convinced her to reconcile with her wayward son. Monica went to a bishop, who told her, "the child of those tears shall never perish." Inspired, Monica followed Augustine to Rome, where she learned he had left for Milan. She continued her perusal and eventually came upon St. Ambrose, who helped her convert Augustine to Christianity following his seventeen-year resistance. After a period of six months, Augustine was baptized in the church of St. John the Baptist at Milan. The mother and son were led to believe they should spread the Word of God to Africa, but it the Roman city of Civitavecchia, Monica passed away. Augustine recorded the words she imparted upon him when she realized death was near. "Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled." She was buried at Ostia, and her body was removed during the 6th century to a hidden crypt in the church of Santa Aurea in Osta, near the tomb of St. Aurea of Ostia.
In 1430, Pope Martin V ordered her relics to be brought to Rome and many miracles were reported to have occurred along the way. Later, Cardinal d'Estouteville built a church to honor St. Augustine called the Basilica di Sant'Agostino, where her relics were placed in a chapel to the left of the high altar. Her funeral epitaph survived in ancient manuscripts and the stone it was originally written on was discovered in the church of Santa Aurea in 1945. It read: "Here the most virtuous mother of a young man, a second light to your merits, Augustine. You taught the people entrusted to you with your character. A glory greater than the praise of your accomplishments crowns you - Mother of the Virtues, more fortunate because of her offspring."
A Prayer asking St. Monica’s Intercession:
St. Monica, I need your prayers.
You know exactly how I'm feeling because you once felt it yourself.
I'm hurting, hopeless, and in despair.
I desperately want my child to return to Christ and His Church but I can't do it alone.
I need God's help.
Please join me in begging the Lord's powerful grace to flow into my child's life.
Ask the Lord Jesus to soften his heart,
prepare a path for his conversion, and activate the Holy Spirit in his life.
Author and Publisher - Catholic Online