St. Monica

Friends in Christ, today is the Feast of St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine.
She was born in 332 in North Africa and raised in a Catholic home. An incident happened once when she was a little girl: she was often sent down to the cellar to draw wine for the family; but she fell into the habit of taking sips of wine. One day a servant told everyone about this – well, little Monica was so embarrassed that she gave up this habit, and from that day she became determined to live only a virtuous life.
.
Her parents arranged for her to marry a man named Patricius, who was a pagan. But in their marriage, he had a terrible temper and often treated her badly. Many today would say, ‘leave him,’ but no. She prayed for him and sought to quiet his anger. She suffered a great deal in that home. Other women would comment on the poor character of her husband; but she not once ever made a negative comment about him. Her example led many other women to have patience toward their husbands, and because of her kind way, Patricius was converted to the faith.
.
Her son Augustine was the ‘problem child.’ She prayed very hard for him, going often to Church. By age 29 he had joined a religion called Manichaeism, he was living with a woman, and had a child out of wedlock. But she patiently continued her prayers. A holy bishop once told her, ‘God’s time will come; a son of such tears, will certainly not be lost.’
.
Augustine wanted to go to Rome to become a professor. Monica begged him not to go, and so he said he would not. But he lied, and slipped away by night, on a boat for Rome.
.
Augustine would later write: ‘While she was weeping and praying for me, I deceived her with a lie. And what did she ask of you, my God, only that you would not let me sail away. But you Lord in your mercy, granted that I would set out on a path that would lead me to You, to grant her what she always wanted.’
.
Arriving in Rome, and then to Milan, Augustine met St. Ambrose. Ambrose began the conversion of his mind – – and God would complete the conversion of his heart.
.
Monica died in Ostia near Rome in the arms of her son. As she lay dying she said: ‘Son, all my hopes are complete. I only desired to see you become a Catholic, and a child of heaven. But God has done much more than even that. Lay my body anywhere, the only thing I ask is that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you are.
.
Tomorrow we will celebrate the feast of St. Augustine, this wayward son, who became a priest and a bishop and a great saint  –
all because of the patient prayers – of a mother.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation