St. Monica was, above all, a stubborn mother.
She was married at a young age to an adulterous government official with a violent temper. Years of Monica’s patience and prayer converted him to Christianity just before he died. She prayed unceasingly for her children as well, especially for her brilliant but wayward son, Augustine. Priests learned to avoid her because of her persistence in asking for prayers for him.
She followed Augustine as he pursued studies in Carthage and Rome, praying at shrines and chapels the whole way. They both finally arrived at Milan, where they met St. Ambrose. It was under Ambrose’s guidance that Augustine fulfilled his potential and became one of the most brilliant writers and thinkers the Church has ever known. After 17 years of constant prayer, Monica saw her son baptized when he was 32; St. Augustine’s feast day is tomorrow.
St. Monica is the patron saint of alcoholics, victims of abuse and adultery, widows, and mothers facing family difficulties. Her relics rest in the reliquary chapel in the Basilica.Her story and image are used by high school students who come to campus for a summer conference with the Notre Dame Vision program.
St. Monica, whose prayer brought her family to Christ, pray for us!
illustration by Julie Lonneman and used with permission.