Wednesday, February 6, 2013

St. Monica

St. Monica was born to Christian parents in North Africa in the 4th century. She married a pagan (through an arranged marriage) who is said to have a violent temper and disapproved of her faith. He refused to allow Monica to have their children baptized. He converted to Christianity shortly before his death. The oldest of their children was St. Augustine, who went to school in Carthage, where he fell into sin and heretical ideas. Monica and Augustine argued over his ideas, and she threw him out of the house. Later, Augustine secretly went off to Rome to teach rhetoric.

Monica had a vision not to give up on Augustine. She prayed fervently for his conversion for years, and would go around asking priests to pray for him. (Her other two children were already Christians.) Monica pursued Augustine to Rome and then Milan. After their reunion, Augustine was baptized in Milan, and they began their way back to Africa. Monica fell ill and died in Ostia. She is the patron of wives, mothers, and abuse victims. Her feast day is August 27.

A lot of saints’ stories don’t have happy earthly endings, but this one does. Years of motherly patience and prayers resulted in a reunion and conversion. I think St. Monica is a prime example of a mother’s love; she always kept hope for her children, like billions of mothers before and after.

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