Ten Things You Should Know About St. Monica
August 27 is the feast of St. Monica, one of my favorite saints. Here are ten facts about her that you should know.
- Monica was born in 332 to Christian parents in Tagaste, northern Africa and her Christian parents arranged for her to be married at the age 13 or 14 to an older man named Patricius, a pagan, who lived nearby.
- Patricius had little to offer Monica. He was neither wealthy nor Christian. He had a bad temper and was both irritable and unfaithful.
- Monica did not imitate her husband, but she remained faithful to him and never uttered a bad word about him. In fact, she advised her friends: “Guard your tongue when your husband is angry.” She was remained at peace, despite her husband’s bad temper, due to her amazing self-control.
- Monica’s mother-in-law lived in the house with the couple. She disliked Monica intensely to the point where she would gossip with the servants about her behind her back. She also criticized Monica constantly. Nevertheless, Monica remained kind and charitable to her and eventually won her over.
- Monica sought refuge from all this by developing an intimate prayer life with Jesus. She also invested her time in raising her three children: Augustine, Navigius, and Perpetua.
- Through her prayers and good example, both Monica’s mother-in-law and her husband, Patricius converted to Christianity.
- Augustine, Monica’s brilliant young son, was a rhetoric student at Carthage and cared only about his academic career, wine, and women. He took a mistress, whom he lived with for 15 years, and fathered a son out of wedlock. In addition, he was not a Christian, but professed beliefs in the Manichean heresy (all flesh is evil).
- At age 29, Augustine was assigned to a teaching position in Italy and Monica followed him there. Here, she found St. Ambrose, who became her spiritual director, and later the Bishop who catechized and baptized St. Augustine, bringing him into the Church after 17 years of resistance. Monica had prayed and fasted for Augustine’s conversion for nearly 20 years (She also prayed and fasted during the time of his instruction.)
- Monica died at Ostia, near Rome, on her way back to Africa in 387. Although Monica was buried in Ostia, Archbishop of Rouen, Cardinal d’Estouteville, built a church at Rome in honor of St. Augustine, the Basilica of St. Augustine in 1483, and deposited the relics of St. Monica in a chapel to the left of the high altar.
- St. Monica is the patron saint of: abuse victims, alcoholics, alcoholism, Bevilacqua, Italy, difficult marriages, disappointing children, homemakers, housewives, Mabini, Bohol, Philippines, married women, mothers, victims of adultery, victims of unfaithfulness, victims of verbal abuse, widows, and wives.