Our Patron: St. Monica

Monica did not leave any memoirs or a body of writing, but her son Augustine in The Confessions made the cause for her canonization.  Married to Patricius, a pagan Roman official, Monica, born in 322 A.D., was descended from the Berber – indigenous natives of the present Maghreb region of North Africa. Monica is said to be a Berber name derived from the Libyan deity Mon worshipped in the neighboring town of Thibilis.

This mother, undaunted by difficulties and failures, pursued her oldest, very gifted child who had a disorderly nature and who engaged in riotous behavior.  That the mother did not give up on Augustine has made Monica for all ages the super mother par excellence.  It took her years of tears, prayers of intercession, chasing Augustine from town to town, meddling in his affairs, arranging marriage for him, and invoking the aid of the saintly intellectual Bishop Ambrose of Milan to finish her job of saving her son.

One appreciates how spectacularly independent Monica must have been in that age to travel from Africa to Carthage, to Milan, To Rome and back again in pursuit of her son.  In Milan, she would rent a villa and set up house, entertain and get to know the people that mattered to her son. For her reward, Monica had the gift of seeing Augustine baptized; and rather than the conventional Christian marriage that she hoped for, she got the unexpected bonus of seeing him put his affairs in order, take firm charge of his destiny, set his heart and soul towards love and service for God as priest and monk.

In 387, Monica became mortally sick in Ostia, outside Rome, on her way back to Tagaste, Algeria.  Her son queried: "Why die here?  I thought you want to be buried beside your husband in Africa?”  Monica’s humorous answer demonstrates her heightened spiritual advancement: "Lay this body anywhere, and take no trouble over it. I know that on the last day, God will know where to pick up my body to reunite it with my soul.”  Having completed her mission, Monica’s time was up. And she had seen with her own eyes the proof that implicit Trust in God yields unprecedented and boundless benefits.

We observe August 27th as our patronal feast.

Taken from an article by Dr. Rose Ure Mezu.