St.Monica, also nicknamed Monica of Hippo was the mother of St. Augustine of Hippo. She is the actual reason of the life and service of St. Augustine altogether. She was born in 331 AD in Tagaste.
When she was very young, she was married off to a Roman Pagan Patricius who had a wile temper. His mother too shared the same character and St.Monica had a terrible time throughout her family life. Other than his temper Patricius was fine as he did not stop St.Monica from following her Christian deeds and beliefs.
They had three children – Augustine, Navigius and Perpetua. As Patricius was not a Christian, St. Monica was not able to baptize her children and when Augustine grew ill, she pleaded with him to allow Baptism. Patricius finally gave in and Augustine was baptized. But when he was normal again, Patricius told her to stop his children from following Christian faith.
She prayed and prayed for her husband and mother in law to change and almost a year before his death, Patricius changed to Christianity. After his death, St.Monica baptized both her other children and brought the three in Christian faith but Augustine was different. He started being uncouth. St. Monica then sent him to carthage for schooling.
When he was getting educated, Augustine became a Manichaean, a new religion which saw a world of Light and darkness and when one died, they were removed from wordly matter and put into a world of light. When Monica came to know of this, she was devastated but continued to pray for her son. She went to Rome to catch up with him where she learnt he had left for Milan. She went there too and after 17 years of struggle and prayer she brought him back to Christianity. She was not able to make just one more Christian but a saint out of him.
St. Augustine writes about all of these in his book “Confessions”.She understood the rue meaning of offering and brought forth something so pure and simple and that would rightly be used and celebrated instead of just offering wine to the saints. After his reformation, Augustine was baptized in six months and the mother-son pair wished to travel to Africa to spread the word of God. But due to her health and age, she passed away on the way.
She was buried at Ostia. When the Pope ordered to bring her relics in 1430, there were many miracles mid way which led to her canonization. Since her patience and prayers brought her difficult household to sainthood, she is considered a patron of Abusive marriages and for wives.
Feast – August 27
Patron – Wives and Abusive victims
St. Monica’s Prayers
1) Exemplary Mother of the Great Augustine,
you perseveringly pursued your wayward son,
not with wild threats but with prayerful cries to heaven.
Intercede for all mothers in our day
so that they may learn to draw their children to God.
Teach them how to remain close to their children,
even the prodigal sons and daughters
who have sadly gone astray. Amen.
2) Dear St. Monica,
we now ask you to pray with us
for all those sons and daughters
that have wandered away from God,
and to add your prayers to those of all mothers
who are worried over their children.
Pray also for us that,
following your example, we may,
in the company of our children,
one day enjoy the eternal vision of our Father in Heaven. Amen.