The story of Saint Monica is known thanks to the immense work of her son Augustine, Confessions. Monica was born around 332 in North Africa to a Christian family. She was married at a young age to a notable pagan from the city of Thagaste (now in Algeria), Patrice. While her husband showed himself unfaithful and violent, Monica was an exemplary wife by her patience and her silence in the face of reproaches, and that is how she would end up converting her husband. From their union, at least three children were born, including Saint Augustine. Monica raised her children in the living and pious Christian faith, and in 371 she was widowed.
His son Augustine deviated from the path of Christian life, living with a woman and having a child without being married, and especially by adhering to Manichaeism. Monica followed him to Italy, where she met Bishop Ambrose. He announced to her, “It is impossible for the son of such tears to be lost.” Indeed, she had not ceased to pray for his conversion. After having had the joy of seeing him converted and baptized, she would always remain at his side to support him. Augustine often repeated that his mother had “begotten him twice.” In 387, in Ostia, near Rome, they both shared a mystical experience evoked by Saint Augustine in Confessions. A few days later, Monica suddenly fell ill and died, praying to her children not to go to any trouble for her burial but to pray for her at the altar, wherever they were.
Saint Monica is celebrated on August 27th, the eve of the feast of Saint Augustine. She is considered the model and patroness of Christian mothers. Saint Monica is also the protector of widows.
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Saint Monica, mother of Saint Augustine, did not cease praying for her son when he abandoned the faith and Christian virtues. Her prayer was largely answered when her son converted and baptized. He radically changed his life, deciding to live consecrated to the Lord in community, and he became one of the greatest Fathers of the Church. Today, Saint Monica, patron of Christian mothers, is active in Heaven to support all mothers who are confronted with the bad paths their children are taking. She unites her prayers and her intercession always brings miracles of returning to God. Here are several prayers to Saint Monica:
O God, who had pity on the tears of Saint Monica, and who granted her ardent prayers not only for the conversion of her son, but also her brilliant holiness, let us implore you for our children with so much faith and humility, that we may obtain, like her, their salvation and our own sanctification. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. Amen.
Holy Monica, you who prayed for many years, with admirable patience, for your son, your husband and other members of your family, that they may repent and convert to faith in the triune God;
you waited so long, not knowing if your prayers would ever be heard.
I beseech you this day: pray for me, that I may be patient in my daily trials.
When I am tempted to lose patience, to be rude, or to react angrily, pray for me to the Holy Spirit, that he may grant me the grace to keep my peace, to remain focused on the essentials, and to remain always in that peace which is eternally in the Lord.
Saint Monica, thank you for being a model of patience for me, and thank you for interceding for me.