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St Augustine, the “prodigal son” whose story offers hope


Why so many parents and grandparents cherish Augustine’s example

It’s no wonder that Augustine and his mother, Monica, are such popular saints. When Catholics see their children and grandchildren leave the faith—13 percent of Americans describe themselves as “former Catholics”—the story of Monica and Augustine bears special relevance. Watch this video to learn five little-known facts about Augustine’s perennially relatable story.

A real-life “prodigal son,” Augustine defied his mother’s devotion, choosing the pleasures of the flesh from a young age. He recounts in his autobiography, the Confessions, how he chose immorality for its own sake. By age 18, he had fathered a child out of wedlock.

Augustine later said of his mother during his rebellious years, “she had wept over me as one dead.”

Monica’s ceaseless intercession for her son at last bore fruit. He converted and became not just a good man but a great saint, theologian, and Doctor of the Church. Augustine’s story of redemption, and Monica’s example of steadfast prayer for her son’s soul, continue to offer hope to many families today.

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