St. Monica

ST. MONICA

St. Monica (322-387) was raised in a Christian home in Tagaste, North Africa. Early in life she struggled with alcoholism, sneaking draughts of wine from the family cellar, before being caught and subsequently giving up the habit. She was later given in marriage to an ill-tempered and adulterous pagan Roman official, with whom she lived along with his similarly ill-tempered mother. Saint Monica suffered greatly, and she fervently prayed for long years for the conversion of her family members. Her patience and kindness became a source of encouragement to other unhappy housewives with whom she came in contact. Monica gave birth to three children and was grieved that her husband would not allow them to be baptized. Her eldest son, Augustine, was a wayward child and caused her the most pain, and she prayed fervently for decades for his conversion. Through her persistence in prayer and good example, her husband became a Christian shortly before his death. When Augustine was caught up with heretical sects and moved away to Milan, St. Monica followed him. A holy bishop comforted her by saying that, “The child of those tears shall never perish.” Monica became friends with the Bishop of Milan, St. Ambrose, who eventually led Augustine to convert to the Christian faith. Everything we know of St. Monica’s heroic virtue is contained in the writings of her son, who became the great St. Augustine of Hippo. St. Monica is patron of housewives, difficult marriages, alcoholism, mothers, widows, abuse victims, victims of adultery, and disappointing children. Her feast day is August 27th.

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