Today's Saint (May 4): Monica

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Saint Monica (c. 331-387) is the mother of Saint Augustine of Hippo.

Born in Africa, she married a pagan who had a violent temper. Her mother-in-law, who lived with them, also gave her difficulties.

Monica immersed herself in her own personal struggle with excessive drinking. However, this malady was overcome and, through her persistent and devout faith, she was also able to convert both her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity.

She had great difficulty in raising one of her three sons, Augustine. Even though she had enrolled him in catechumen class at a young age, he created a lot of anxiety for her.

As a youth, Augustine was given to riotous and drunken living. (see "Confessions") Despite this, Monica was persistent in her prayers, fasts and vigils for him, and after many years, her prayers were answered with his conversion... and the rest is history!

Monica died while traveling and, right before she died, she said to her son Augustine, "Lay this body anywhere... this only I request, that you would remember me at the Lord's altar, wherever you be."

Monica, who has been designated the patron saint for the conversion of relatives, is an absoluteley wonderful role model for mothers in our day. May God enable us to set aside our personal demons and indulgences, and subsequently accept our prayers on behalf of our young in Christ, just as He accepted "the tears of blessed Monica for the conversion of her son." (The day's collect, page E 60, The People's Anglican Missal).

The Day's Propers
Catholic Encyclopedia article

Books Worth Considering
Saint Monica & Her Son Augustine (331-387)
St. Monica: The Power of a Mother's Love

Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church