+ 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 over Patricius and he was converted to the Christian faith.
+ 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.
For prayer and reflection
“As the day now approached on which she was to depart this life, a day known to you but not to us, it came about, as I believe by your secret arrangement, that she and I stood alone leaning in a window that looked onto a garden… We opened wide our hearts to drink in the streams of your fountain, the source of life that is in you… And as we spoke of that wisdom and strained after it, we touched it in some measure by the impetus of our hearts… eternal life might be like that one moment of knowledge which we now sighed after.”—Saint Augustine of Hippo, Confessions
On this day we also remember Saint Poemon. One of the “Desert Fathers” who made their home in the desert of Skete, Egypt, he was noted for his spirit of asceticism and wisdom, including many wise sayings that have come down to us. Saint Poemon died around the year 450.
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,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.