+ Monica was born to a Christian family in North Africa. As a young woman, she married Patricius, a pagan, with whom she had at least three children. Although her husband criticized her piety, Monica’s prayers eventually won her husbands’ conversion.
+ Monica’s son Augustine was studying in Carthage when she learned that he had embraced the Manichean heresy. In 383, she followed him to Rome and Milan, where she placed herself under the direction of Saint Ambrose.
+ Monica had the joy of seeing Augustine baptized by Saint Ambrose in 387.
+ Monica died in Ostia, Italy, a short time later, and has been honored as a saint since the time of her death. She is especially invoked as a patron of those who grieve the loss of faith within families. Saint Monica is also honored as a patron saint of mothers.
The city of Santa Monica in California was named for Saint Monica. Legend relates that in the 18th century Franciscan missionary Fray Juan Crespi named a local spring Las Lagrimas de Santa Monica (the Tears of Saint Monica, supposedly inspired by the tears that Saint Monica shed for her son Augustine.
“She had a woman’s weak body but a man’s strong faith, the composure appropriate for her years, a mother’s love for her son, and a Christian’s devotion.”—Saint Augustine of Hippo
O God, who console the sorrowful
and who mercifully accepted
the motherly tears of Saint Monica
for the conversion of her son Augustine,
grant us, through the intercession of them both,
that we may bitterly regret our sins
and find the grace of your pardon.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.