MONICA was born about the year 332 in Tagaste, North Africa, of a Christian family of substance. As soon as she had reached marriageable age, her parents found a husband for her, the pagan Patrius — a man of violent temper. Monica and Patricius had three children — Navigius, who seems to have been an exemplary son, Augustine, and Perpetua, a daughter, who became a religious. Although her husband was critical to Christians and their practices, Patrius accepted wife’s faith a year before his death.

Augustine, the more brilliant of the sons, was sent to Carthage (an ancient city on the coast of North Africa near present-day Tunis), so that he might develop his talents and become a man of culture. When he returned to Tagaste, Monica disapproved so strongly both of his loose living and of his espousal of the popular heresy of Manichaeism (a dualistic religious system with Christian, Gnostic, and pagan elements)2. Although his conversion was not to take place for nine long years, Monica did not lose faith. She continually fasted, prayed, and wept on his behalf. 

This is a beautiful story of one who is faithful to the one who is lost. Monica even thought of giving up her faith, for that was the main obstacle keeping them apart. Instead, Monica kept her faith through fasting and praying for the conversion of his son. The story centers the great sacrifice brought by unconditional love which teaches us that, first, there’s no impossible for God. What seems to be impossible for the efforts of man is possible to the unfathomable mercy and love of God. Through great sacrifice comes victorious glory in God’s will and time.

Second, Monica teaches us to be patient. There is no instant for a something worth waiting. Monica waited for years. At last, the joyous day of Augustine’s conversion came at last. At Easter, when Bishop Ambrose baptized Augustine, Monica’s cup was full to overflowing.

In life, we have known some of our own “Monica’s”. She could be our parents, our friends, or even our spouses and loved ones.  They are always faithfully praying for us for our conversion. May the good Lord, Jesus Christ, bring consolation to them in times of despair and anguish — that He may bring hope one day to their sacrifices — that He may give them reward for their patience.

St. Monica, widow, special patroness of married women and as an example for Christian motherhood, pray for us.

1. One day as she (Monica) was weeping over his (Augustine) behavior, a figure appeared and asked her the cause of her grief. She answered, and a voice issued from the mysterious figure, telling her to dry her tears; then she heard the words, “Your son is with you.

2. Taken from “Lives of Saints”, Published by John J. Crawley & Co., Inc.

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