Feast Day of St. Monica – August 27th

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Painting of St. Monica and her son St. Augustine.

On August 27th we celebrate the Feast Day of Saint Monica, a North African saint.

Also known as Monica of Hippo, Saint Monica was an early Christian saint as well as the mother of St. Augustine of Hippo.

Although she was Christian, St. Monica was married by arrangement to a much older man, Patricius, a pagan official in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius was an unfaithful husband, had a violent temper, and although he often criticized his wife for her charity and piety he always respected her. Monica’s mother-in-law lived with them and was as difficult to deal with as her husband, making life a constant challenge. Through her prayers, St. Monica was able to convert both her husband and his mother to the Catholic faith in the year 370.

Monica had three children: Augustine, Navigius, and Perpetua.  Both Perpertua and Navigius entered religious life, while Augustine (the oldest) took a different path; a path that caused much pain to his devout mother. At the age of 17, and a rhethoric student in Carthage, Augustine lived an immoral life, which caused his mother to prohibit him from eating and sleeping in her house upon his return home from school. After having a vision giver her assurance that Augustine would one day return to the faith, St. Monica spent 17 years praying and fasting for her son.  From that moment on she stayed very close to him, following him to Rome and Milan, where he was eventually baptized by St. Ambrose at Easter of the year 387.

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Painting of aging St. Monica.

Shortly after Augustine’s baptism, St. Monica became severely ill and passed away within nine days. She was buried in Ostia, Italy and was later transferred to the Augustinian Basilica of Sant’Agostino in Rome. During the 13th century the cult of St. Monica began to spread and a feast in her honor was observed on May 4th. Requested by Pope Martin V in 1430, her relics were brought to Rome and many miracles occurred on the way; thus, establishing a veneration of St. Monica.

Saint Monica is remembered and honored by most Christian denominations, although on different feast days, for her outstanding Christian virtues and prayerful life dedicated to conversion of her son.  She is the patron saint alcoholics, married women and mothers.

St. Monica, pray for us!

Novena 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.

“St. Monica.” St. Monica – Saints & Angels – Catholic Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Aug. 2014.
“St. Monica.” AmericanCatholic.org. Franciscan Media, n.d. Web. 27 Aug. 2014.

 

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