Feastday: August 9th
Patron of: wives and abuse victims
Saint Monica, also known as Monica of Hippo, is St. Augustine of Hippo's mother. She was born in 331 A.D.
in Tagaste, which is present-day Algeria.
When she was very young, she was married off to the Roman pagan Patricius, who shared his mother's
violent temper. Patricius' mother lived with the couple and the duo's temper flares proved to be a constant
challenge to young Monica. While Monica's prayers and Christian deeds bothered Patricius, he is said to have
respected her beliefs.
Three children were born to Monica and Patricius: Augustine, Navigius, and Perpetua. Unfortunately, Monica
was unable to baptize her children and when Augustine fell ill, Monica pleaded with Patricius to allow their
son to be baptized. Patricius allowed it, but when Augustine was healthy again, he withrew his permission.
For years Monica prayed for her husband and mother-in-law, until finally, one year before Patricius' death,
she successfully converted them.
As time passed, Perpetua and Navigius entered the religious life, but unfortunately Augustine became lazy
and uncouth. This greatly worried Monica, so when Patricius died, she sent the 17-year-old Augustine to
Carthage for schooling. While in Carthage, Augustine became a Manichaean, which was a major religion that
saw the world as light and darkness, and when one died, they were removed from the world of matter and
returned to the world of light, which is where life comes from. After Augustine got his education and
returned home, he shared his views with Monica, who drove him from her table. Though it is not recorded
how much time passed, Monica had a vision that convinced her to reconcile with her wayward son. Monica
went to a bishop, who told her, "the child of those tears shall never perish."
Inspired, Monica followed Augustine to Rome, where she learned he had left for Milan. She continued her
persual and eventually came upon St. Ambrose, who helped her convert Augustine to Christianity following
his seventeen-year resistance. Augustine later wrote a book called Confessions, in which he wrote of Monica's
habit of bringing "to certain oratories, erected in the memory of the saints, offerings of porridge, bread, water
When Monica moved to Milan, a bishop named Ambrose told her wine "might be an occasion of gluttony for
those who were already given to drink," so she stopped preparing wine as offerings for the saints.
Augustine wrote: "In place of a basket filled with fruits of the earth, she had learned to bring to the oratories
of the martyrs a heart full of purer petitions, and to give all that she could to the poor - so that the
communion of the Lord's body might be rightly celebrated in those places where, after the example of his
passion, the martyrs had been sacrificed and crowned."
After a period of six months, Augustine was baptized in the church of St. John the Baptist at Milan. The pair
were led to believe they should spread the Word of God to Africa, but it the Roman city of Civitavecchia,
Monica passed away.
Prayer to St. Monica
Dear Saint Monica, you were once the mournful mother of a prodigal son. Your faithfulness to prayer brought you and your son so close to God that you are now with him in eternity. By your intercession and God’s grace, your son St. Augustine became a great and venerable Saint of the Church. Please take my request to God with the same fervor and persistence with which you prayed for your own son.
(Mention your intentions here)
With your needs, worries and anxieties, you threw yourself on the mercy and providence of God. Through sorrow and pain, you constantly devoted yourself to God. Pray for me that I might join you in such a deep faith in God’s goodness and mercy.
Above all, dear Saint Monica, pray for me that I may, like your son, turn from my sin and become a great saint for the glory of God.